Birmingham bucks the national trend for physical activity

Birmingham is bucking the national trend when it comes to physical activity, thanks to award-winning initiatives like Be Active and Active Parks.

According to Sport England’s latest Active People Survey, the number of active people in Birmingham continues to rise, despite a national drop.

Since the first Active People Survey was published in 2006, the proportion of Brummies participating in sport and active recreation, at moderate intensity, for at least 30 minutes on at least 12 days a month has increased from 17.2 per cent to 20.4 per cent.

Nationally, total participation in sport is now down to 15.6m people who play sport across England for 30 minutes or more at least once a week, compared to 15.7m people last year.

Welcoming the news, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr John Cotton, said: “We’ve identified inactivity as one of the major public health issues in Birmingham, so it’s fantastic that we’re continuing to move in the right direction. An increase of 3.2 per cent represents a significant number in a city of over a million people.

“I have no doubt that initiatives like Be Active and our Active Parks scheme have played a major role in this very pleasing improvement, but there’s still a long way to go and we have to be clear about that.

“There are still far too many people across this city who are not physically active and that puts them at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.”

Physical activity has been identified as a public health priority in Birmingham and a number of initiatives have been launched in recent years.

  • Through Be Active and Active Parks, Birmingham City Council offers a wide range of FREE physical activities for people across the city. And there’s something for everyone with walking, running (for all abilities), Tai Chi, Zumba and a growing number of conservation sessions for people who want to be active but are not keen on sporting activities.
  • Running is also enjoying a rise in popularity and the city’s half marathon, launched in 2008 now attracts 20,000 runners. A new 10k event will be run for the first time in May.
  • The £24.3 million Birmingham Cycle Revolution aims to transform Birmingham into one of the UK’s leading cities for cycling.
  • Planning a celebration of active women on International Women’s Day (8 March) as part of Sport England’s This Girl Can initiative.
  • The city is also keen to promote walking and community groups and schools in Aston, Ladywood, Nechells, Soho and Sparkbrook were recently offered grants of up to £1,500 for projects designed to get local people walking.