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Active Lives report: people turning to activities which 'suit their lives'

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Group fitness classes and adrenaline sports are among those benefiting from increases in interest, as people are seeking out physical activities that fit their lifestyles and busy schedules.

Figures from the Sport England's latest Active Lives study show that, in the 12 months to May 2018, there was an increase of 213,400 people taking part in adventure sports, while 320,700 more people took part in gym sessions.

Group fitness classes saw a big increase of 197,000 with yoga, pilates and HIIT classes making some of the biggest gains.

"People are turning to sports and activities that fit in with their lives – such as yoga, martial arts, visiting the gym and even roller skating," said minister for sport, Tracey Crouch.

She added that the shift away of interest from traditional sports and activities – such as football and cycling, both of which saw steep declines in numbers during 2017-18 – is partly down to the government's (and Sport England's) focus on physical activity, rather than sport.

In total, 300,000 more people met guidelines for physical activity in 2018, compared to 2017.

Commenting on the figures, Nick Pontefract, Sport England's COO, said: “It’s very clear that the activity habits of the nation are changing, with people finding the activities that best suit them and their lives.

"The new patterns highlight the importance of Sport England’s partnerships with bodies like the National Trust, the RSPB, and the Forestry Commission to support more activity outdoors, and our work with Public Health England on training medical professionals to encourage people to get active in ways that will benefit their health.

"Our role is to help everyone regardless of age, background or ability to be active so that they can benefit from those outcomes."

Active Lives was first published in 2015 and the survey measures activity in its broadest sense – including activities such as walking, cycling for travel and dance, rather than just sport alone.

It replaced the Active People Survey as a way to reflect the government’s strategy Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, which places emphasis on all physical activity, rather than just sport.

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Group fitness classes and adrenaline sports are among those benefiting from increases in attendance as people are seeking out physical activities that fit their lifestyles and busy schedules.
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