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

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

Paul Jenkins MSc Paul Jenkins MSc

Exclusive research by DNA Lean has revealed that Stockport is the most active area of the
UK - with Wandsworth, Bolton, Nottingham and Bristolrounding 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. 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 UKadults 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

It’s hoped that, as the country eases out of the coronavirus pandemic, 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 50 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 55
2 Wandsworth 329677 90 88 12 5 55
3 Bolton 287550 70 39 44 38 49
4 Nottingham 332900 80 58 26 25 50
5 Bristol 463,377 93 72 12 10 52
6 Cheshire East 384152 89 52 23 22 50
7 Manchester 552858 78 62 23 21 50
8 Lambeth 326034 94 77 10 3 52
9 Brighton and Hove 290885 90 77 8 8 51
10 Hackney 281120 93 72 10 4 51
11 Dorset 378508 96 63 9 11 50
12 Southwark 318830 90 80 8 1 51
13 Bromley 332336 92 70 10 6 50
14 Lewisham 305842 87 78 4 3 49
15 Newcastle upon Tyne 302820 86 62 12 10 47
16 Sheffield 584853 83 58 14 12 46
17 Wiltshire 500024 90 63 7 8 47
18 Cheshire West and Chester 343071 86 46 18 17 45
19 Tower Hamlets 324745 79 71 10 4 46
20 Greenwich 287942 84 67 7 4 46
21 Wirral 324011 82 48 15 15 44
22 East Riding of Yorkshire 341173 79 64 6 10 44
23 Cornwall 569578 87 62 5 6 45
24 Liverpool 498042 79 57 12 11 44
25 Shropshire 323136 87 54 7 10 44
26 Leeds 793139 85 57 9 7 44
27 Doncaster 311890 77 49 16 15 43
28 Wigan 328662 76 46 19 15 43
29 Leicester 354224 76 54 14 11 43
30 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 395331 79 62 6 7 43
31 Buckinghamshire UA 543,973 89 58 0 7 43
32 Barnet 395869 80 57 7 8 42
33 South Gloucestershire 285093 85 55 6 4 43
34 Northumberland 322434 82 59 4 5 42
35 Coventry 371521 77 46 14 12 41
36 Ealing 341806 75 59 9 5 42
37 Walsall 285478 71 45 17 13 40
38 County Durham 530094 82 53 5 6 41
39 Brent 329771 75 55 9 5 40
40 Central Bedfordshire 288648 84 57 0 0 40
41 Hillingdon 306870 76 55 5 3 40
42 Newham 353134 67 67 2 2 39
43 Wakefield 348312 81 44 7 6 38
44 Birmingham 1141816 73 50 8 6 38
45 Croydon 386710 78 47 7 5 38
46 Enfield 333794 76 47 6 4 38
47 Bradford 539776 77 44 7 5 37
48 Redbridge 305222 67 58 5 3 37
49 Kirklees 439787 79 46 3 4 37
50 Dudley 321596 72 40 8 4 35
51 Sandwell 328450 68 41 5 4 33

Sources

Public Health England for the percentage of active adults.
Department for Transport for the percentage of adults who walk or cycle five times a week.
Office for National Statistics for population estimates.
Independent Directory for the number of gyms and leisure centres.

« Back to Blog