Get yourself active blog

Latest Active Lives Survey: Small gains yet somewhat significant ones

Thursday 8 November 2018

The latest results for the Active Lives Survey were released. Leo Capella, Outgoing Communications Officer for Get Yourself Active provides some reaction and analysis to the results.

Something that’s slipped quietly below the radar are the latest results from the Active Lives Survey done by Sport England. Which is a shame as actually there’s some positive news from these statistics to talk about for disabled people.

The number of disabled people that are active (150 mins+ of physical active) crept up by 0.2% from the first survey which was done in November 2015-2016. With the population of disabled people who were classed as inactive decreasing by 0.9%.

The amount of people with disabilities who’ve been fairly  active (30-149 minutes) rose.

Mirrored trend in England of people as a whole becoming less physically inactive which fell by 0.3%.

These statistics have been fuelled by the rise of people with one impairment doing more physical activity. For example the percentage with people with 1 impairment who were inactive fell by 1.6%.

Although this small change may be seen as insignificant due to the small figure, we think it is significant as this increase means that thousands of disabled people have chosen to become more physically active. After all, this percentage rise represents 52,000 people becoming more active. The size of a medium sized town in England.

Also when you consider that the amount of people who stopped becoming in active fell from  4,013,100 in 15-16 to 3,978,800 in 2018 you’re talking about (yes you’ve guessed it) the population of a size of a small town becoming more active. So a town of people isn’t a small amount by any means. Maybe it’s not a large town or even dare I say it a city of people but it can still be called progress.

There is still a lot of work to do though.

As a certain piece of research published by the Activity Alliance shows, although four out of five disabled people want to be more physically active almost half of disabled people (47%) fear losing their benefits if they are seen to be physically active. This is a scary statistic and one that needs to be tackled.

Also something less reported but equally important is analysis done by Dr Rachel Aldred et al. at the University of Westminster which shows that the majority of London do not consider disabled people as fully fledged cyclists in their transport strategy documents. This might seem like an irrelevant statistic but it goes to show that there needs to be far more work done to create an environment both physically and socially that enables disabled people to be physically active, whether inside London or outside of it.

Last year Robert Groves hand cycled the coastline of England to fight preconceived ideas of what is possible for someone who is paralysed below the waist, and raise awareness about many societal issues including climate change and the environment.

It’s not all bad news for disabled people in terms of physical activity. There are wonderful things going on to increase the amount of activity disabled people can do: whether on National Fitness Day or through own work including our training sessions for social workers and the various personal experiences of disabled people getting themselves physically active. I’ve enjoyed being part of those efforts in the time I’ve been part of Get Yourself Active.

I guess that in the end though the situation is best summed up by an old African proverb: “Many rivers crossed, many rivers still to cross”. And hopefully by the time the next Active Lives Survey results are released more people including those with multiple disabilities will be physically active.

In other news: Information is still one of the biggest barriers to disabled people getting active. Look at our “Information in your local area page” to find some links to resource directories and activity lists.

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http://www.getyourselfactive.org/2018/12/24/latest-active-lives-survey-small-gains-yet-somewhat-significant-ones