Trends & Features

Olympic inspiration

Half of young adults in the UK intend to become more active as a result of the Olympic Games, according to new research from Deloitte, the official professional services provider to London 2012.

The survey of 2,000 16-35-year-olds found that 18 per cent intend to take up a new sport or exercise, while 27 per cent plan to participate more often in the exercise or sport they already play. A particularly inspired five per cent intend to do both.

The successful performance of Team GB’s cyclists has had an impact, with 46 per cent of people intending to take up a new sport opting for cycling.

40 per cent say they plan to start swimming and 30 per cent intend to join a gym.

Men are more likely to say they will become more active, with 55 per cent intending to do so, compared with 45 per cent of women.

“London 2012 aimed to inspire a generation and it seems like it has gone a long way towards doing that,” says Heather Hancock, lead London 2012 partner at Deloitte.

“Clearly it is one thing to say you will take up a new sport and another to actually do it.

“The excitement will die down and these good intentions will not all translate into results.

“However, the Olympic Games has created a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to improve levels of physical activity across the country.

“There is a responsibility on all of us to achieve this, from parents encouraging children to be more active and local authorities providing people with the information they need to find suitable sport and fitness activities, through to businesses creating opportunities for staff to get away from their desks.”

Hancock believes a particular challenge will be in helping young adults and older people get back into sport after a generation of decreasing participation: “Signposting activities that don’t cost the earth will help counter perceptions that getting and staying fit requires lots of money.”

Cost is perceived to be the biggest barrier to increased participation, with 65 per cent of respondents citing this as a factor – this figure increases to 73 per cent amongst 16-18-year-olds.

A lack of time (35 per cent) is the next most likely barrier, followed by availability of facilities (23 per cent).

28 per cent of people say they don’t have enough information about their local facilities, with a further 13 per cent saying they have no information at all.

Despite this, 59 per cent of respondents said they were happy with the quantity and quality of sports and fitness facilities available to them.

Over a quarter of Londoners said that availability of facilities was a barrier to increased participation.

However, separate research from Drivers Jonas Deloitte, a private partnership of commercial property consultants, shows that since the capital was awarded the right to host the Games in 2005 over 350 new sport and fitness facilities have opened in the city.

This figure includes 100 new sites and incorporates facilities in every London borough.

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