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New London Sport Data Reveals Effects Of Climate Change On Londoners’ Activity Levels

London Sport has discovered that almost half of Londoners are concerned about the impact of climate change on exercise habits (49%).  

Furthermore, more than half of Londoners have already changed the way they exercise because of climate change (52%).

The new data comes from London Sport’s survey of 2,500 adults, in partnership with Sport X Opinium. Looking at how hot weather has impacted activity levels, the data shows that shows that:

  • Almost 1 in 5 Londoners have stopped exercising altogether due to heat (19%),
  • 11% of Londoners have changed the type of exercise they are doing,
  • 19% have moved indoors to exercise,
  • 17% have switched to less intensive exercise,
  • Over a quarter of Londoners (26%) have begun exercising much earlier in the morning or later in the evening due to hot weather.

In almost all cases, Londoners were far more likely to be impacted by hot weather compared to the rest of the UK.

The survey data also reveals that more needs to be done to enable parks and outdoor spaces to be used during hot weather, with more than one-fifth of respondents stating that a covered space would encourage them to remain active, by protecting them from the sun.

UK temperatures have been shifting over the decades due to human-induced climate change. 2023 was the second warmest year on record for the UK, with temperatures reaching 33.2 degrees Celsius.

In the previous year, temperatures reached the UK’s all-time highest of 40.3 degrees Celsius.

The data shows that, when it comes to thinking about the future, climate change is the most widespread concern for Londoners, more so than crime and employment.

Emily Robinson, CEO of London Sport, said: “The effects of climate change on Londoners ability to exercise are laid bare in this new data.

“At London Sport, we think innovatively about solutions that can help keep Londoners exercising, such as supporting local authorities to ensure safe access to green spaces and funding initiatives that protect and future-proof sport and physical activity provision with climate change in mind.”

Richard Joyce, CEO of the Black Prince Trust, which offers sport and physical activity programmes in London, to deliver positive social outcomes, said: “We are acutely conscious of the issues that global warming can have on the way that Londoners choose to exercise and feel the need to have this addressed, such as better access indoor spaces and funding for better ventilation for older indoor spaces such as ours, to prevent an increase in the levels of inactivity within London.

“We know how important accessible sport and physical activity can be in addressing health challenges and how it can be an effective tool in addressing other societal issues, and are pleased to see London Sport recognising the challenges posed by climate change to our sector and looking at ways to address them.”