Frequency of adult sport participation England 2019

The Chief Medical Officer defines an active person as someone who, over the course of a week, achieves a total of at least 150 moderate intensity equivalent minutes of physical activity. Any vigorous activity counts for double, so each vigorous minute of physical activity counts as two moderate minutes of physical activity, where moderate activity is defined as activity where you raise your heart rate and feel a little out of breath and vigorous activity is defined as activity that causes you to breathe hard and fast, resulting in a significantly increased heart rate. Following these definitions people can be categorised as ‘Active’ if they achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity equivalent minutes of physical activity per week; ‘Fairly active’ if they achieve between 30-149 minutes; and ‘Inactive’ if they achieve fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity per week. The duration of physical activity is considered if achieved in one session or from sessions of at least 10 minutes across different days through a combination of physical activities.

Health benefits

The health benefits of a physically active lifestyle are well documented and there is a large amount of evidence to suggest that regular physical activity can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for global mortality and is on the rise in many countries.

Contributing factors

The amount of physical activity conducted by a population is closely related to a variety of sociocultural factors that include, but are not limited to demographic factors, such as age, gender, ethnicity; cultural aspects, meteorological conditions, and the availability of facilitating infrastructure.


This statistic shows the results of a survey on the number of people who are physically active in England, by frequency. In May 2019, approximately 28.6 million adults achieved over 150 minutes of activity per week, an increase of over 500 thousand from 2018. More information about sports in England can be found in the Dossier: Sport in England - Public funding and participation.

Number of adults physically active in England in 2018/2019, by frequency

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Release date

October 2018


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

May 2018 to May 2019

Number of respondents

177,876 respondents

Age group

16 years and older

Method of interview

Telephone interview

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Statistics on "Leisure activities in the United Kingdom (UK)"

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