According to recent research performed by Sport England, more than half of all adults in the UK do not regularly participate in sport. Given that the NHS recommends that adults aim for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise as well as practicing muscle-strengthening activities twice per week, this is a worrying statistic.
Sport England's research did not just examine the number of adults that are taking part in sport, but also looked at their demographics, in a bid to determine why some adults take part and others do not. Their findings highlighted several interesting barriers to participation for adults, including:
- Gender: Men are, by a large margin, more likely to continue participating in sports as an adult than women are. This could be down to the wider availability of, and promotion of, sports aimed at men.
- Education: Adults who have completed some higher education are more likely to practice sports than those who left education at a younger age. This could be because adults who are better educated are more aware of the benefits of sport, or it could be something that relates to the next barrier, income.
- Income: Those in the upper income brackets have more disposable income, and are more likely to practice sports.
- Weather: Adult participation in sports is higher when the weather is favourable, and tails off during periods when the weather is less favourable.
Sport England discovered that while adult participation in sports is poor, a large percentage of adults who were not currently actively involved in sport were interested in taking up a physical activity. This means that if the above barriers to participation are addressed, the number of adults taking part in sport should increase.
At Origin Sports we aim to address the poor participation of adults in sport in several ways. Firstly, it is known that children who play sports are more likely to grow up to be active adults. Our initiatives to get children involved in sports should offer long-term benefits to the community in Newcastle Upon Tyne. In addition, removing the barriers mentioned above should also help to encourage adults to participate in sport.
By offering affordable, inclusive sports in a pleasant environment that is "on the doorstep" for adults in Elswick and the surrounding area, we make it easier for them to try sport for the first time, and hopefully continue, building lifelong healthy habits.
It is difficult for many adults to join sports teams because they are scared that they are unfit, or that they will not be good enough to keep up with their team mates. In addition, many adults don't want to take up sports because they don't want to pay an annual membership, or they don't want to invest in expensive equipment. The coaches that work with Origin Sports are committed to making their sports as inclusive and accessible as possible, and this means that there is no pressure to sign contracts, and no pressure to invest in expensive training equipment. New members can borrow equipment until they have decided that they are ready to commit to the sport. This may sound like a small and simple thing, but it is something that is very important to those who are on a low income.