Physical activity

The Chief Medical Officer’s report (2011) recommends that adults aged 19-64 years undertake 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week. Physical activity can help reduce the risks of non-communicable or chronic diseases that negatively affect healthy life expectancy. Evidence from studies suggests that inactive people (defined as those participating in less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per week), spend 38% more days in hospital than active people and visit the doctor almost 6% more often than active people.

The NHS Why be Active web page states that the health benefits of being physically active include:

Key findings for Lancashire-14


Estimates of physical activity levels come from national and local surveys, with the latest nationally published figures from the Sport England Active Lives Survey (2016/17).

  • The survey estimates that two-thirds (65%) of the adult population (19+ years) in Lancashire-12 are physically active (meeting the national guidelines of a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week), in line with the England rate (66%).
  • Almost a quarter (23%) of the adult population in Lancashire-12 is physically inactive (adults doing less than 30 minutes of moderate activity per week), similar to England (22.2%); when applied to the latest 2016 mid-year population estimates (Office for National Statistics) this equates to 214,030 adults. 
  • Rossendale (57.7%), Hyndburn (59.4%), Pendle (60.0%), Blackpool (60.4%) and Blackburn with Darwen (60.1%) are estimated to have a significantly smaller proportion of physically active adults compared to England (66.0%), while Lancaster (74.3%) and Ribble Valley (70.6%) have significantly higher proportions.
  • Rossendale (30.3%), Blackpool (29.3%), Hyndburn (27.3%), Pendle (26.3%) and Blackburn with Darwen (26.2%) have a significantly larger proportion of inactive adults compared to the England average (22.2%).
  • Lancaster is the only authority to have a significantly lower proportion of inactive adults (18.1%) compared to England.


It is recommended that children aged 5-18 should be engaging in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.

  • Figures from the 2014/15 What about YOUth survey indicate that just 15.0% of young people aged 15 in Lancashire-12 met the guidelines, similar to the England proportion (13.9%).
  • Only 14.1% of children in Blackpool and 12.4% in Blackburn with Darwen are meeting the recommended levels of physical activity.
  • Both nationally and locally more work is needed to get children and young people active.

For further information about physical activity and healthy weight, please see the 'Healthy weight in Lancashire' report on our healthy weight page.

For county and unitary data and further information please see below

For district data and full functionality of the Public Health England fingertips tool please visit the web page

Page updated June 2018