Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,004 Welsh adults (16+) online from the 13th August to 16th August 2021. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of Welsh adults by gender, age, region, social grade, and the estimated households with children under 16. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
- Those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were twice as likely as those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds to have done no exercise in the past week (ABC1 – 11% : C2DE – 22%).
- In contrast, children from lower income families were more likely to do the recommended level of exercise for children per day (an hour or more) per weekday (ABC1 – 17% : C2DE – 23%), though the reverse is true for weekend days.
- In every surveyed sport, there was a reduction in regular participation of those from a lower socioeconomic when compared to pre-pandemic.
- The same is not true for those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, although there was still a general trend of reduced participation.
Types of exercise
Adults from higher socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to have taken part in most of the surveyed sports, including
- Running or jogging (ABC1 – 21% : C2DE – 11%)
- Going to a gym (ABC1 – 16% : C2DE – 8%)
- Cycling for leisure (ABC1 – 15% : C2DE – 10%)
- The only sport where those from a lower socioeconomic background were more likely to have taken part in the last week was walking for travel(ABC1 – 26% : C2DE – 28%), though the difference is negligible.
- The most popular activity across both socioeconomic groupings was walking for leisure (ABC1 – 62% : C2DE – 56%). Whilst those from a higher socioeconomic background were more likely to have walked for leisure in the last week, of those who had exercised at all in the last week, those from a lower socioeconomic background were more likely to have walked for leisure on most (5+) days(ABC1 – 29% : C2DE – 35%).
- Those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to have volunteered in the last 12 months (ABC1 – 33% : C2DE – 29%).
- They are also less likely to take on a volunteering role in the next 12 months to:
- Support the pandemic response (ABC1 –44% : C2DE – 29%)
- Support another cause (ABC1 – 43% : C2DE – 28%).
- There was less difference in the likelihood of taking up a new volunteering role to support sport (ABC1 – 31% : C2DE – 27%).
Confidence and Skills
Those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds were more confident than adults from a lower socioeconomic background in using every surveyed sports facility, across both indoor and outdoor facilities, including:
- Athletics tracks (ABC1 – 28% : C2DE – 14%).
- Studios (ABC1 – 29% : C2DE –17%).
- Sports halls (ABC1 – 30% : C2DE – 18%).
- Indoor courts (ABC1 – 28% : C2DE – 17%).
- Correspondingly, those in higher socioeconomic groups were more likely to have participated in an indoor sport in the last week (ABC1 – 38% : C2DE – 26%).
- Of those who did use indoor venues, there was generally high comfortability: 88% of those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds felt comfortable at indoor gyms, as did 81% of those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
- The ongoing vaccination effort helped more than half of adults from higher socioeconomic groups to feel more confident exercising away from home (ABC1 – 51%), whilst only 40% of those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds felt reassured.
Motivation and Values
- Those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were:
- Less likely to consider it important to exercise regularly (ABC1 – 71% : C2DE – 61%).
- Less likely to miss the physical activity they did before the pandemic (ABC1 – 47% CDE 37%
- Less likely to feel guilty when they don’t exercise (ABC1 – 60% : C2DE – 48%).
- Less likely to feel guilty about not exercising more (ABC1 – 58%; C2DE – 46%)
- The reasons for exercising also differed between socioeconomic backgrounds. Those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were:
- Less likely to exercise to help manage their physical health (ABC1 – 74%; C2DE – 65%)
- Less likely to exercise to help manage their mental health (ABC1 – 70%; C2DE – 61%)
- Both socioeconomic groups were most likely to say that their main reason for exercising was to be physically healthy (ABC1 – 31%; C2DE – 27%)
Access (Opportunity and Resources)
- Across socioeconomic groups, over half of respondents felt that they now have more time to be physically active, when compared to pre-pandemic (ABC1 – 54% : C2DE – 55%).
- Despite this, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to feel like they have the ability to be physically active (ABC1 –76% : C2DE – 63%), and less likely to feel they have the opportunity to be physically active (ABC1 – 73% : C2DE – 64%).
- One factor may be that adults from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were twice as likely to report not being well enough to exercise that day (ABC1 – 8% : C2DE – 16%), and almost twice as likely to report a longstanding physical health condition or illness (ABC1 – 15% : C2DE – 27%).
- Those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to have found guidance on taking part in sport easy to understand (ABC1 – 52% : C2DE – 41%).
- Awareness of Sport Wales’ Back in the Game campaign was relatively similar across both groups, with 79% of those in higher socioeconomic groups and 80% of those in lower socioeconomic groups not having heard of the campaign.
- Adults from a higher socioeconomic background were more likely to find exercise enjoyable and satisfying (ABC1 – 67% : C2DE – 53%).