Adult physical activity bounces after drop during pandemic

Adults exercising

Outdoor activities such as walking and cycling have led to an increase in the number of adults in Kent and Medway reaching the recommended levels of physical exercise.

Covering the period November 2021 to November 2022, Sport England’s latest Active Lives Adult Survey shows that 63.5% of adults in Kent and Medway were enjoying at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. This means that 27,400 adults are now more active and are experiencing the benefits of leading an active lifestyle than the previous year.

Levels are increasing among older adults and those with a disability or long-term health condition. Alongside this welcome return in activity levels, the number of volunteers is also starting to recover, with those aged 75+ seeing the greatest increase.

The report provides further evidence of the benefits of getting active for mental health - adults who are active are happier, more resilient and feel less lonely.

However, there are still 36.6% of adults who are not active enough and inequalities remain. Activity levels generally decrease with age, men continue to be more active than women, we have seen little or no change in activity levels among less affluent adults and people with a disability are still less active and those from black, Asian and other ethnicities are being left behind.

To address these inequalities Active Kent and Medway has been and continues to work with organisations working with under-represented groups. Through Sport England’s Together Fund, we have supported over 60 projects and engaged over 1,200 participants to be active. Projects include:

- Walking Netball with Age UK Faversham and Sittingbourne

- Wilder Wellbeing with Kent Wildlife Trust

- Activity CafĂ© and Cycling with Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services

Our Everyday Active campaign continues to support people to become more active, more often by providing and promoting information on local opportunities, hints and tips and personal stories, through the website, via social media and with support from local Everyday Active Champions. For anyone wanting to improve their knowledge and feel more confident about having conversations with others to help get them more active, training and resources are also available.

Move Together, Kent and Medway’s Strategy for sport and physical activity sets out how we can all work together to support those who are already active, as well as tackling the inequalities that currently prevent some from enjoying the benefits that moving more in our everyday lives can bring to our physical and mental wellbeing.

Mike Hill, Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, Kent County Council said: “Improving people’s lives through sport and physical activity can only be achieved through collaboration and partnership working. The Move Together strategy sets out how we can all work together so everyone, whatever their age, gender, background, ability, or circumstance can enjoy the benefits of being active and playing sport”.

Liz Davidson, Active Partnership Director said: “Whilst we are delighted to see a return to pre-pandemic levels, there is still much to be done to extend opportunities to those that are least active.

“Move Together – the recently launched countywide strategy for sport and physical activity sets out how we can all play our part in getting more people, more active, more often. There are some inspirational examples of projects, programmes and partners already doing this across Kent and Medway and we look forward to continuing to support and work with them, and others to make a difference and encourage people to enjoy the benefits of moving more in their everyday lives.”


Active Kent & Medway

Active Kent & Medway (formerly known as Kent Sport) is the local active partnership for Kent & Medway. We are one of 43 Active Partnerships in England who work collaboratively with local partners to ensure the power of physical activity and sport can transform lives. Our Vision: More people, more active, more often. Our Mission: Improving lives through sport and physical activity.

Our principal funders are Sport England and Kent County Council, whose strategies set the direction of our work and activity. Kent County Council also hosts the partnership in its offices, providing support services, and is the employer of our staff team. We also work with and are supported financially by Medway Council and the 12 district and borough councils across the county.



Sport England Active Lives Survey

Sport England, established by Royal Charter in 1996, are determined to give everyone in England the chance to benefit from sport and physical activity. They run two surveys: Active Lives Adult and the world-leading Active Lives Children and Young People, which is published annually. Both give a unique and comprehensive view of how people are getting active at national and local level. A summary of the findings of their latest Adult report can be read here. You can also explore and filter the data yourself using the Active Lives Online tool. A summary of the latest Children and Young People report can be found here.