Physical Activity

Insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide. Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for long-term conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

Physical activity has significant health benefits and contributes to prevent many long-term conditions. Globally, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough.

Physical Activity: An Introduction

The Government published Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation in 2015. It looks beyond simple participation to how sport changes lives and becomes a force for social good.  At its heart are five outcomes: physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development.  Putting this policy into practice to achieve these outcomes means significant change for partners.

In 2022, Sport England launched its Uniting the Movement strategy – a 10-year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity.
As we adapt and rebuild from the huge disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we need to collectively reimagine how we keep movement, sport and activity central to the lives of everyone. Because if we harness its power, we’ll be able to improve people’s lives in so many ways.

There are five big issues where we see the greatest potential for preventing and tackling inequalities in sport and physical activity. Each one is a building block that, on its own, would make a difference, but together, could change things profoundly:

  • Recover and Reinvent – recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Connecting communities
  • Positive experiences for children and young people
  • Connecting with health and wellbeing
  • Active Environments

Mapping Audit

In 2017, Living Sport and the County Council completed a mapping audit to begin to identify the offer of physical activity and sport across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It will inform local partners of the supply and possible areas of need. Its focus shall support new strategy, both nationally and locally, to better understand and highlight methods of creating and maintaining behaviour change to increase levels of physical activity.

Aim of Mapping Audit

An important part of what we do is to build our work around the customer, by which we mean the person who does or might play sport or get active (i.e. a customer centric approach).  And that means understanding them much better than we do now, and putting as much information about what people do and enjoy out there so that everyone can benefit from it.

This audit aims to map what activities and opportunities there are currently available across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  It will act as a platform for partners to build ongoing insight, identify gaps and evidence areas for investment with a focus on those who are inactive and/or beginners.  This mapping has initially been focussed on three, less active, target groups which are current priorities across our locality; older people (aged 50+), disabled people, and women and girls.


  • 96% of local activities have capacity to take on new people
  • 74% of venues or providers do NOT specifically use marketing materials that target those who are inactive
  • 64% of venues or providers are willing to develop their activities to include the target groups of older people, disabled people and/or women & girls
  • 47% of local sport or physical activity sessions are run solely by unpaid volunteers
  • Local clubs, venues and activities DO recommend their activities to beginners, although they are currently more welcoming to females than they are to either older people or disabled people
  • Activities for disabled people are focused more on sports than wider physical activity compared to those targeted at older people or females

Download the full report: Physical Activity & Sport Mapping Audit: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 2017

Mapping Tool

A  Physical Activity Mapping Tool (v2 May 2018) has been put together to allow partners to overlay other data with the results of the mapping audit.  Mapped data include:

  • Activity venue/facility locations from the survey
  • Deprivation quintile of ward (2015)
  • Percentage of residents inactive (MSOA) (2015/16) – Sport England definition
  • Percentage of residents inactive (LA) (2016/17), including statistical significance – Sport England and Public Health England definitions
  • Residents with long-term illness or disability (Ward) (2011)
  • Percentage of Year 6 children obese (Ward) (2013/14-15/16)
  • Percentage of adults obese (Ward) (2006-08)
  • Number and percentage of residents aged 50+/75+ (Ward) (2016)

Please download the PDF and open in Adobe Reader to view the full content rather than viewing in a browser.  To add data to the map, click Layers, expand the drop down list and check the box to display the data of interest.  Page 2 of the PDF includes a detailed legend to accompany the map.

Data sources and definitions (v2 May 2018)

Active Places Power

Active Places Power is the most authoritative sport facility database within the country. Sport England have provided it for public use as an interactive mapping and reporting tool. It is aimed at those involved in the provision of sport to their local communities.

As an interactive tool in its own right, Active Places Power is better accessed as a separate tool, and is therefore not included within the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough one which details the venues/providers of current activities across the County.

To be able to use Active Places Power, just register on the website. Applications are welcomed in particular from County Sport Partnerships, Government Departments and Lottery Distributors, private sector and commercial organisations including Planning and Leisure consultancies, individual clubs, trusts and academic institutions.

Ordnance Survey Green Space Mapping

Greenspace is Britain’s most comprehensive catalogue of accessible places – places for leisure and recreation across England, Scotland and Wales – and it is free to use. It includes public parks, playing fields, sports facilities, play areas and allotments to name just a few. It can be used online through the web browser or in the app.

As an interactive tool in its own right, Greenspaces is better accessed as a separate tool, and is therefore not included within the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough one which focuses on the venues/providers of current activities across the County.

To be able to use this Greenspace mapping, just sign up on the website.