Revealed: the UK’s Fittest Areas (and most inactive)

Revealed: the UK’s Fittest Areas (and most inactive)

Paul Jenkins MSc Paul Jenkins MSc
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Exclusive research by DNA Lean has revealed that Stockport is the most active area of the UK - with Wandsworth, Bolton, Nottingham and Bristol rounding off the top five.

This investigation, which looks at data from Public Health England, the Department for Transport, and the Independent Directory, has ranked Sandwell in the West Midlands as the least active area of the UK.

Interestingly, Scottish cities all came close to the bottom of the overall table, with the bottom three UK cities overall being Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. Out of all the Scottish cities, Perth scored the highest with an overall ranking of 16.

Scotland's fittest cities

The study looks at factors such as the percentage of active adults, how many people walk or cycle five times per week, plus the number of gyms and leisure centres per 100,000 people.

How fit are we?

Public Heath England suggests that around 83% of UK adults would class themselves as active - this means   doing 150 minutes or more of physical activity per week. In Stockport, this figure rises to 88%, while only 68% of adults in Sandwell are active. This 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, split across the week, is the recommended guideline for adults, according to the NHS.

The findings of this research couldn’t be more timely - the latest data from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey has recorded a 1.9% decline inthe number of active adults in the UK over the twelve months to May 2021. This is thought to be exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has restricted many peoples’ access to sports facilities. Staying cooped up indoors has forced people to ditch the gym for nights in on the sofa.

How important are sports facilities in keeping people active?

Taking the top spot in DNA Lean’s research, Stockport is home to an impressive 37 gyms per 100,000 people, compared to Sandwell’s lowly five. So it looks like availability of sports facilities is a key factor when it comes to getting people active.

Stockport is also home to the famous Stockport Sports Village, which houses the largest football facility in the north-west alongside a 5,000 square foot gym. Such facilities are a great incentive to get the people of Stockport moving! No wonder they take the top spot.

The future of fitness

Now the UK is out of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hoped that people return to their pre-lockdown activity levels. Some may even take this time to rediscover a love of fitness, joining sports teams or local gyms, which have been sorely missed over the last 18 months.

Methodology

Our rankings for most active areas of the UK have been calculated by combining multiple data sets from a number of reputable sources. Each metric was turned into a score out of 100, and then the average was used to calculate the rankings. From our overall results, we focused on the top 58 areas by population, collating these into an overall league table.

Ranking Area Population Physically Active Adults (100) Adults that Walk or Cycle Five Times Per Week (100) Number of Gyms Per 100K (100) Number of Leisure Centres Per 100K (100) Overall Score
1 Stockport 293423 88 52 37 33 52
2 Wandsworth 329677 90 88 12 5 49
3 Bolton 287550 70 39 44 38 48
4 Nottingham 332900 80 58 26 25 47
5 Bristol 463,377 93 72 12 10 47
6 Cheshire East 384152 89 52 23 22 46
7 Manchester 552858 78 62 23 21 46
8 Lambeth 326034 94 77 10 3 46
9 Brighton and Hove 290885 90 77 8 8 46
10 Hackney 281120 93 72 10 4 45
11 Dorset 378508 96 63 9 11 45
12 Southwark 318830 90 80 8 1 45
13 Bromley 332336 92 70 10 6 45
14 Lewisham 305842 87 78 4 3 43
15 Newcastle upon Tyne 302820 86 62 12 10 43
16 Perth 47350 13 57 34 65 42
17 Sheffield 584853 83 58 14 12 42
18 Wiltshire 500024 90 63 7 8 42
19 Cheshire West and Chester 343071 86 46 18 17 42
20 Tower Hamlets 324745 79 71 10 4 41
21 Stirling 37910 18 60 40 45 41
21 Greenwich 287942 84 67 7 4 41
22 Wirral 324011 82 48 15 15 40
23 East Riding of Yorkshire 341173 79 64 6 10 40
24 Cornwall 569578 87 62 5 6 40
25 Liverpool 498042 79 57 12 11 40
26 Shropshire 323136 87 54 7 10 40
27 Leeds 793139 85 57 9 7 39
28 Doncaster 311890 77 49 16 15 39
29 Wigan 328662 76 46 19 15 39
30 Leicester 354224 76 54 14 11 39
31 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 395331 79 62 6 7 39
32 Buckinghamshire UA 543,973 89 58 0 7 38
33 Barnet 395869 80 57 7 8 38
34 South Gloucestershire 285093 85 55 6 4 38
35 Northumberland 322434 82 59 4 5 37
36 Coventry 371521 77 46 14 12 37
37 Ealing 341806 75 59 9 5 37
38 Walsall 285478 71 45 17 13 37
39 County Durham 530094 82 53 5 6 37
40 Brent 329771 75 55 9 5 36
41 Central Bedfordshire 288648 84 57 0 0 35
42 Hillingdon 306870 76 55 5 3 35
43 Newham 353134 67 67 2 2 34
44 Wakefield 348312 81 44 7 6 34
45 Birmingham 1141816 73 50 8 6 34
46 Croydon 386710 78 47 7 5 34
47 Enfield 333794 76 47 6 4 33
48 Bradford 539776 77 44 7 5 33
49 Redbridge 305222 67 58 5 3 33
50 Kirklees 439787 79 46 3 4 33
51 Dudley 321596 72 40 8 4 31
52 Glasgow 632350 23 50 28 22 31
53 Inverness 47790 19 49 25 25 30
55 Sandwell 328450 68 41 5 4 30
56 Aberdeen 198590 21 57 18 18 28
57 Dundee 148210 22 54 16 18 28
58 Edinburgh 506520 14 66 13 11 26

Sources

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