Physical Activity Opportunities


There is a strong link between participation in regular physical activity and good health and wellbeing. Not doing enough physically activity has been shown to be harmful to a person’s health and wellbeing.

Research indicates that many people demonstrate sedentary behaviours for large parts of the day, this is a consequence of a range of factors such as increased desk based employment, longer commutes and sedentary leisure activities.

There is irrefutable evidence that increasing activity levels will help prevent and manage many chronic conditions and diseases including cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

Key Terms

Physical Activity is any movement of the body that uses energy; it can include walking, cycling, gardening or playing sports. To be of health benefit physical activity should ideally be of at least moderate intensity.

Moderate intensity physical activity is where a person is working hard enough to raise their heart rate and break into a sweat, while still being able to talk.

Vigorous intensity physical activity is where a person is breathing hard and fast and their heart rate has increased significantly. When working at this level they won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Sedentary behaviour involves activities that do not increase energy expenditure much above resting levels, for example, sitting, lying down, sleeping, watching TV and reading.

The current recommendations for physical activity can be found here.


  • 1 in 3 adults in the Wakefield district are classed as physically inactive; a the majority of these not doing any moderate or vigorous physical activity in an average week.
  • 5 out of 10 adults in the Wakefield district do not participate in any kind of sport.
  • 3 out of 10 children in the Wakefield district report they do less than the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended for good health.

The Population

  • People generally become less physically active as they get older. Participation in physical activity and sport generally decreases significantly as children enter their late teens, and in adults participation continues to drop as they age.
  • Adult males are more likely (6 in 10) to be physically active than adult females (5 in 10).
  • People with a limiting illness or disability are half as likely to be physically active than those without.
  • As people get older they become less likely to participate in sport.
  • Men are more likely to participate in sport than women.

The Challenges

  • Being physically inactive is harmful to health and wellbeing. Physical inactivity is the forth leading risk factor for global mortality accounting for 6% of deaths.
  • People who are physically inactive have a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease and stroke compared to those who have an active lifestyle.
  • The estimated direct cost of physical inactivity to the NHS in Wakefield is more than £10 million and across the UK the cost to the NHS is over £0.9 billion per year.
  • The annual cost of physical inactivity to the Wakefield district as a whole has been calculated at more than £36 million.

Service Provision

Raising awareness of how much exercise people should be doing on a regular basis, what counts as physical activity and the benefits of being active at the recommended levels or above, has been embedded into a range of activities and services including:

  • Strategic work to map sport and physical activity provision across the district including Area Plans, Active Wakefield Strategy and Barriers to Activity Research.
  • Support for walking and cycling including organised groups, self-led maps, way marked routes and workplaces and schools based initiatives ( e.g. Walk Once a Week)
  • Activities such as This Girl Can, Sportymates and disability sports initiatives, which target groups identified a less active.
  • Community based projects including weight management groups, exercise sessions within community centres, community allotment/garden and various local sports clubs.
  • Workplace interventions to encourage physical activity include the Workplace Health Promotion Project, 5yrs Younger, daily mile/midday mile and workplace based activity sessions.
  • Health by stealth initiatives to promote physically active leisure such as Room on the Broom Story Trails, free play equipment in parks, orienteering and the Newmillerdam Gnome Roam.
  • There is a network of Council run leisure facilities including gyms, swimming pools and the Pugneys Country park watersports centre, in addition to a varied private sector offer including pools, gyms and classes.
  • The three professional rugby clubs located in the district participate in a range of activates intended to promote physical activity.
  • There are many areas of public green space located throughout the district which provide places where people can be more physically active.

Further Information

Active Peoples Survey

UK Physical Activity Guidelines