The impact of the cost of living crisis on sport and physical activity

by Laura Rudland health and wellbeing

The UK is currently facing a cost of living crisis, the rising cost of food, electricity and household bills is causing many people to reprioritise their finances.

Physical activity isn’t considered an essential spend for many struggling with the rising cost of living and people are either cutting back completely or making choices between activities.

This is particularly concerning because there is still a lot of work to do to recover activity levels post pandemic.

Sport England's recent research found that:

  • 39% of people agree that the cost of living increase has had a negative impact on their ability to be active
  • 13% say they are currently spending less on physical activity
  • 53% think that it will eventually have a negative impact on their ability to be active going forwards

The worry is at this time the economic pressures will make long-standing health inequalities even worse as they take their toll on people's health and wellbeing.

The pandemic in particular put a spotlight on just how important physical activity is for both our physical and mental wellbeing. It is more important that ever to continue to break down the barriers many people face when it comes to being physically active.

This Winter will feel like an overwhelming time for many, being physically active shouldn’t feel like an additional stress. It is important to encourage people to make small steps and find ways to build more activity into their everyday lives that works for them.

Sport England have put together a document for partners and organisations who work in the sport and physical activity sector. It explores their current and collective understanding of the cost of living and shares some ideas of how to help people get, or remain active at low or no cost.

The advice covers the following headings:

  • Focus on the experience to support motivation
  • Make accessing activities as simple as possible
  • Link people up with local activities
  • Actively communicate flexible payment options

There are also links to free resources and campaigns. You can access the document here.


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about the author

Laura Rudland

Marketing and Administration Officer

T: 0117 32 81881