Summary of report content
Healthwatch Dudley worked with Black Country Consortium Ltd and the four Black Country local authorities to understand people’s views of physical activity and exercise. In total, there were 904 responses obtained to the survey.
More people are using different technologies and going online to get help with physical activity or exercise. This trend was happening before the Covid-19 pandemic happened but has intensified during with many people spend more time at home. Any strategy must consider the implications of this change. But there is still a number of people who are not or cannot get online. Their needs should also be considered in any strategy to get more people active.
In describing physical activity and what it means to them there is considerable variation dependent on an individual’s circumstances, their work and family responsibilities, how much spare money they have to spend, their health and wellbeing, and levels of confidence and motivation. Most, though, recognise the benefits for health of exercise and would like to start or do more to stay fit or get fitter. When thinking about promoting physical activity and exercise it is suggested the messaging and images used must fit with people’s, often complicated and busy lives, and be attractive to people of all shapes and sizes.
People get information on physical activity and exercise from a variety of sources. Any campaign designed to get people interested in being more physically active must offer convenient and affordable opportunities to get involved in activities suited to their situation and that are fun to do. It is also apparent that many people have complex and busy daily routines at work and at home.
During the Covid-19 pandemic period things have become more complicated with an increase in homeworking, those on furlough, and the home schooling of children. As a consequence, more people are exercising at home.
Careful consideration must be given to how people feel about physical activity and exercise and how they are motivated or not to get active or do more. They can be held back by a lack of confidence and being embarrassed about their body shape and unfitness, feeling tired and exhausted after a long day or week at work and tending to other home and family responsibilities, or a lack of money or places to go that easy to get to and safe to be in.
Sometimes, individuals will need targeted support and encouragement to get active, help with deciding what they can do, and incentives or low cost options that make it easier for them to get started. Then there is the place where someone lives and how close it is to leisure facilities, parks and other open spaces, the quality of public transport systems and how they can be used easily or not to get to different locations and venues. Where an individual lives can also determine how worried or not they are about gangs and groups of young people congregating, crime and personal safety, and being on the street or in other open spaces at different times.
The report includes eight recommendations aimed at getting more people physically active.