Sport England's Active People Survey findings show upsurge in people doing sport

 Sport England's Active People Survey findings show upsurge in people doing sport

New figures from Sport England's Active People Survey show that 15.83 million people over the age of 16 played sport in the last year.

That's a return to the level seen after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. And it equates to 1.75 million more than when London won the right to host the Games. 

While 81,900 more men are playing sport, the overall increase is largely because more women are getting active, accounting for over 75 per cent of the increase. The gender gap in sport has therefore reduced slightly, to 1.6 million.

Keep fit and going to the gym remain hugely popular, with the number of people doing them every week breaking the seven million mark for the first time. Exercise classes, like spinning and boxercise, continue to attract large numbers of people, especially women.

Some of the team sports are also becoming more popular:

Cricket has seen an increase of 43,500
Rugby union is up by 23,000
Netball is played by 13,100 more people

The running boom looks set to continue, with 138,100 more people running regularly in the last 12 months, and a remarkable one million more people running compared to 10 years ago.

Commenting on the findings, Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England said: "These figures are encouraging, especially the significant increase in the number of women playing sport and being active every week, Sport England has worked particularly hard to get more women active, and it’s good to see this is having an impact.

“Running has continued to be a powerful driving force, with low-cost, welcoming and easy-to-access options like Parkrun making a big impact in the last decade.

"However there has been a small reduction in the number of disabled people playing sport, down 2,400 in the last year to 1.56 million.

“I am concerned that, despite significant focus and investment, the number of disabled people being active has remained largely flat in the last 18 months. The sports sector needs to rethink how it supports disabled people, and in particular we all need to recognise that most disabled people are over 50 and that 75 per cent have more than one impairment.

"We will work hard with the sector to address this as we implement our new strategy," Jennie said.