REGULAR exercise is on the decline in England, with falling participation in swimming and going to the gym the main factors in an alarming drop in those being active at least once a week.
The number of people taking part in weekly exercise decreased by 220,000 to 15.5m between October and March, according to Sport England’s biannual Active People Survey.
Swimming was the worst hit, shedding 144,200 to leave just 2.5m weekly participants. The activity has 390,700 fewer people taking part than a year ago, and has lost 729,000 in a decade.
Gym-goers and those taking part in fitness classes saw a decline for the first time in the report’s 10-year history, losing 153,000 participants.
“These are really disappointing results,” said Sport England chief executive Jennie Price, who added that the number of people playing sport had risen by 1.4m since London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games in 2005.
Sports to see increases in the six months to March included running, up 63,000 to 2.1m, and tennis, up 38,200 to 422,200.