CUMBRIA is on a par with the rest of England when it comes to adult participation rates in sport and physical activity.

But new data released by Sport England reveals vast differences in the activity levels in the different local areas of the county.

The data shows that 105,300 people in Cumbria are identified as being ‘inactive,’ meaning they are achieving less than 30 minutes per week of moderate physical activity - raising their heart rate and getting a little out of breath.

Evidence shows that people who are inactive are more likely to be on a low income, have a disability or a long-term health condition, or be over the age of 55.

Women are also more likely to be less active compared to men, and people from the Asian, black and other ethnic groups were more likely to be physically inactive than those from the white British, white other and mixed ethnic groups.

Figures show that adults aged 16 and over in South Lakeland, Eden and Allerdale are more active compared to those in Barrow, Carlisle and Copeland, where the levels of inactivity are high compared to the national average.

South Lakeland again has the lowest inactive levels at 20.9 per cent, which is similar to the level recorded 12 months ago, and better than the national figure.

And in Eden inactive levels have been reduced by 2.2 per cent to 21.2 per cent over the past year, and is now better than the national figure.

But in Barrow inactive levels have increased by 3.6 per cent to 31.6 per cent, which is 6.5 per cent above the national figure

The data also shows that 67,500 people across Cumbria are volunteering to support sport and physical activity in the county. Volunteering is particularly high in Allerdale and Barrow compared to the national figure of 14 per cent.

The results of the survey based on 180,000 members of the public across England show specific increases in the number of active women, meaning the gender gap between numbers of men and women who are physically active is continuing to narrow.

Figures also show an increase in the number of disabled people and those with long-term health conditions classed as active. This is the first increase in this category since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – with gym sessions showing the biggest growth in the type of activity that people with disabilities are enjoying.

Sport England also reports that retired people are getting active, leading to a decrease in the number of adults aged 55 plus classed as inactive.

Activity habits continue to change with walking for leisure and travel increasing while there has also been a "significant" growth in adventure sports such as hill walking, climbing and orienteering.

Fitness activities, driven by gym sessions, are the most popular activity after walking while swimming levels have stabilised after a period of decline.

“These results show that sport and physical activity still isn’t appealing to everyone," said Tim Hollingsworth, CEO at Sport England. “People are gravitating towards activities that can fit into their busy lives, that are enjoyable and where ability doesn’t have to matter.

Active Cumbria, part of Cumbria County Council’s Public Health team are one of 43 Active partnerships in England working on behalf of Sport England to tackle inactivity.

Richard Johnston, Senior Operations Manager at Active Cumbria said: “The levels of inactivity in Cumbria continue to be a worry, but we as a county are not alone.

"At Active Cumbria we are working hard to engage organisations working with those people that are more likely to be inactive.

"We’re advocating the value of physical activity, and are working with many organisations to help their client groups become active. It's early days, but we are starting to see the benefits of this work in new programmes and activities we are setting up across the county.

"We are also rolling out a countywide Walking for Health Scheme, funded by Cumbria County Council, which will see an army of walk leaders create new Walking for Health Groups in all corners of the county, providing new opportunities for previously inactive individuals.

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