Sportiest Londoners live in the wealthier south west boroughs

running woman-2People living in south west London are the sportiest in the city with a far higher proportion taking part in regular physical activity.

More than a quarter of the residents of Wandsworth do some form of sporting activity three times per week or more, according to survey data from Sport England.  But across London, in Newham and Barking and Dagenham, it is half that. And in Brent just 12% of people are doing that level of activity.

The south west corner of London has 4 boroughs, apart from Wandsworth, with large proportions of sporty people.  The data for Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond and Merton shows about a quarter of people doing 3 sessions per week.

But in Bexley and Greenwich it is just 15%. It’s 14% in Newham and Barking and Dagenham. Across the other side of the city, in the north west, it is 15% in Ealing, 13% in Hillingdon, but with 12% Brent has the lowest rate of people doing regular exercise.

sport particpation map

South west London is generally a more affluent area than other parts of the capital but the reason why people there are more active in sports is not clear. These boroughs also have low levels of obesity, while the proportion of people with severe weight problems is much higher in boroughs such as Hillingdon, Barking and Dagenham and Bexley, as previoulsy reported by Urbs.

The data gathered by Sport England through the Active People Survey also reveals that as a region London has the highest average rate for people doing 3 sessions or more of exercise.

Sport participation regional

The current rate of 18.3% is up from 17.2% 10 years ago.  While this growth has been modest the proportion of people doing no exercise has also seen little change, and remains stubbornly high. Across the capital 52% of the population does no sporting activity.  But in Newham it is 62% and in Barking and Dagenham it is 64%.

For these people, getting off the coach to take part in sport 3 times a week may be a very tall order.  A more modest achievement may be to find a way to get them to join the 38% of Londoners who take part in sport once a week.

Source data

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Staying healthy and getting there easily prompts Londoners to go on foot

feetA higher proportion of Londoners are walking regularly than people in any other region of the country. And the rate of going on foot in the capital is rising.

Medical professionals suggest that 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can improve health and help reduce the risk chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Walking for 30 minutes  5 times per week is considered a good way of performing that exercise. 54% of Londoners are now doing that, up from 49% in the previous year. The national average is 47%.

Walking London

The data from the Active People Survey by Sport England shows that central areas of London, with easier access to amenities and less dependence on cars (as reported by Urbs London) have the highest levels of walking, particularly Westminster, Camden, Wandsworth and Lambeth. These boroughs have the some of the highest levels of regular walkers in England. Only the Isles if Scilly has higher levels, and they are largely car free.

Walking map

Only 4 outer London boroughs are below the national average. In comparison cycling is more polarised between inner and outer areas. 10% of the population of London cycles once a week. It’s double that rate in Hackney and 3 times higher in the City of London. The rate of cycling in the City is 7 times higher than Hillingdon.

cylcing map

This pattern of a stark difference in inner and outer London is reflected in the usage of Boris Bikes across the capital (also reported by Urbs London). The outer borough that bucks this trend is Richmond, likely due to easy access to open spaces for recreational cycling, rather than commuting.

The numbers of regular cycle commuters, using bikes 5 times a week, has remained constant, but there has been a reduction over the past 4 years in occasional cyclists who use a bike once a week.

Source data

See also

Sporty Londoners prefer solo exercise

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Sporty Londoners prefer solo exercise

h38% of Londoners are taking part in some form of sporting activity at least once a week.  While solo sports are the favourite way of keeping fit, football is by far the most popular team game with 5% of people over 16 playing each week.

The data on sport in the capital is captured in the Active People survey carried out by Sport England.  They spoke to 160,000 people across England in October last year.  Urbs took a detailed look at the data for people over 16 participating in sport at least once a week.

Sports such as running, swimming, cycling or going to the gym are by far the most popular with 30% of Londoners exercising on their own.  12% are down the gym, making it the favourite solo sporting activity. 6% are swimming,  which is becoming less popular.

Team sports are played by 7% of adults. Football dominates participation in team games and has grown in popularity since 2010. Football also proves more popular in London than the rest of England.

1 on 1 games like tennis and badminton also feature in the survey responses.  These games are enjoyed by 4% of over 16s in the capital.

Sport participation

Londoners emerge from the survey as slightly more active than people across England and with more taking part in sport than in 2010.  But that still leave 62% sitting on the sofa or watching from the sideline rather than taking part.

Source data