The value of sport: Can physical activity save the economy?

Taking part in sport and physical activity could save the economy over £85 billion.

Or to give a much more contextualised outlook, ‘every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy and society’.

These remarkable statistics don't just come from thin air, but the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, taken from a report commissioned by Sport England.

The report sought to understand the social and economic value of community sport and physical activity in England, and as an app focused on providing an easy access to sport and physical activity, we naturally wanted to find out more.

Commissioned in 2018, research was made to find out just exactly how beneficial an active lifestyle was to the economy. 

And in the wake of the coronavirus, lockdown and a crippling financial struggle, a boost to the economy is exactly what is needed. 

So what did the report find?

Physical & Mental Health 

It is hopefully common knowledge that regular exercise can help prevent serious illness and disease, but what is less obvious is the money this can save.

According to the report, a reduction of 150,000 cases of heart disease and strokes, 900,000 cases of diabetes and the prevention of 375,000 cases of depression can result in the saving of £9.5 billion.

Not to mention the 30 million fewer GP visits, all resulting in a huge amount of money saved for the economy.

All of this is simply down to more people getting their weekly fitness fix, preventing trips to the doctors, A&E or the local GP.

Mental Wellbeing

The ability for an individual to realise their own potential, cope with the stresses of life and work productively can also benefit the economy. 

With 24 million people having an improved life satisfaction through sports participation, the economy is able to save just over £31 billion. 

More so, volunteering for sports and fitness events saves the economy a further £10.5 billion, again due to improved life satisfaction and an enhanced mental wellbeing.

At a junior level, sports participation has been shown to improve educational attainment in schools, adding an extra £4.5 million to the savings.

Social & Community Development 

The research didn’t just cover the economic impact of being active however, but also the social impact.

10,000 fewer crime incidents were reported as a direct result of sports participation, creating friendly, close-knit communities.

This has also been shown through schemes such as the Young Lives Foundation and Football Beyond Borders, enabling people to stay away from crime and antisocial behaviour. 

As the report shows, sports and fitness not only have the power to boost the economy, but also bring individuals and communities together. 

People can still buy their favourite clothes through online retail stores and get their Friday night takeaways from mobile app delivery services, but getting active has not been as easy.

Why is this significant?

So then, a lot of numbers and statistics, but why does this matter?

Well, from April to June this year,  the UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have fallen by a record 20.4%, drastically impacting the economy.

To put this simply, the economy has never been in a situation like this before.

And as key political figures such as Rishi Sunak look to restart the economy through high street schemes and restaurant discounts, could sport participation be a further drive back to normality?

After being stuck inside for several months, at times being limited to one hour of exercise outside per day, the desire to get active has never been higher. 

People can still buy their favourite clothes through online retail stores and get their Friday night takeaways from mobile app delivery services, but getting active has not been as easy.

But as the facts stated above, the return of sports and fitness sessions could have a huge benefit to the economy.

Clearly then, more people need to get out and active.

This is where we come in

Here at Orfi Active, we’re much more than just an app. Our mission is to get more people active and spread the benefits of sports and fitness.

We want to eliminate the barriers involved with sport participation, providing an easy way to keep healthy.

Evidently, this mission has never been more important.

People are desperate to get back to their local pitches, pools and courts after an unprecedented absence from daily life, and we want to help make this happen.

But this isn’t just down to us, if you’re a sports organiser looking to return their sessions, the responsibilities lie with you too. 

Get in touch to find out how we can help make your sessions much easier to discover, join and enjoy and together we can help restart sports in 2020 and kickstart the economy. 

The report from Sport England makes clear the importance of sports participation for the economy, now it’s time to act.

Posted on

September 30, 2020


Jack Gerrard