St Helens residents becoming more active, survey shows

As part of Sport England's annual Active Lives survey, 526 St Helens residents were asked about their exercise habits.
As part of Sport England's annual Active Lives survey, 526 St Helens residents were asked about their exercise habits.

People in St Helens are becoming more active, Sport England's annual survey shows.

The governing body has hailed record levels of physical activity and sports participation across the country, but said more needed to be done to improve access for poorer people.

As part of its annual Active Lives survey, 526 St Helens residents were asked about their exercise habits.

Of these, 63.5% said they did at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week – the threshold for an 'active' lifestyle.

This was a marked improvement on the 61.4% who said they were active when the survey started three years ago.

A further 13% said they were fairly active, doing between 30 and 149 minutes of activity, while 24% were inactive, with less than 30 minutes of exercise each week.

The NHS says adults aged between 19 and 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week to stay healthy.

This could include cycling over flat ground, brisk walking, or water aerobics.

They should also do strength exercises such as yoga, pilates, or lifting weights twice a week.

Almost 178,000 people across England were polled for the latest survey, which revealed a record 63% of people were active.

It also found the lowest ever number of inactive people since the survey began in 2015, at just 25%, with improvements driven by women and older people doing more exercise.

Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth said the improvements were excellent news, but that more needed to be done.

He said: "It shows us that efforts to help more people get active are starting to make a real difference, particularly for older adults, women and those with a disability or long-term health condition.

“But we can’t be complacent. Within the overall positive picture of these figures is a sobering reality – if you are well-off, you are far more likely to be active than if you’re on a low income or less affluent.

“While there are complex barriers that stop less well-off people from getting active, this is an unacceptable inequality and one we’re starting to address in the work we are doing across the country."

According to the survey, the poorest people are the most likely to be inactive – 33% did less than half an hour activity, compared to just 16% of the wealthiest people.

They were also the least likely to be active, with just 54% doing 150 minutes of exercise compared to 72% among the more affluent group.

The survey found that those who were active reported feeling less anxious, and had higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction.

Nigel Adams, minister for sport and civil society, said: "Every single person in this country should have the opportunity to take part in sport and activity.

"It is not only good for our physical health but it also boosts our mental well-being and makes people happier.

"Sport England is rightly focusing on further increasing participation so that people from all backgrounds can get, and enjoy being active."