Exercise levels among adults in Newcastle have recovered to the rate they were before the pandemic, new figures show.
Sport England said its Active Lives survey shows a strong recovery across England after Covid-19 impacted people's exercise habits, but added a significant proportion of the population are still not meeting the recommended amount of activity.
The survey shows 64.7% of 2,019 respondents aged over 16 in Newcastle said they were active in the year to November 2022, exercising for more than two and a half hours a week.
It is near the same proportion recorded in 2018-19 – 65.1%.
Additionally, it is an increase from 62.5% in 2020-21, when Covid-19 heavily impacted activity levels.
A Local Government Association spokesperson said councils have been working hard to prioritise public sport and leisure facilities despite current challenging financial position in the sector caused by Covid-19 and increasing energy prices.
They added: “It is positive to see adult activity levels bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels and we echo recognition of those working and volunteering across the sport and physical activity sector to support people to be active."
“However, we would like to see more done to ensure all parts of the community are being engaged with and stand ready work with the Government and partners to tackle inequalities in access to activities.”
Nationally, 63.1% of the population met the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines of doing 150 minutes or more of physical activity a week. This is up from 61.4% the year before and near 63.3% recorded in 2018-19.
Nick Pontefract, chief strategy officer at Sport England, said: "We can all still recall the impact the pandemic, and the restrictions that came with it, on our lives and for lots of us, on our activity levels. While we could get out for a walk or a bike ride, pretty much every other activity was impacted massively.
Mr Pontefract said the recovery of adult activity levels is a testament to work done by the sport and physical activity sector.
Yet he added despite the positive headline figure, there are worrying long-term trends that started before the pandemic.
"Yes, 29.1 million people are meeting the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines of 150+ minutes a week of activity, but at the same time there are 11.9m inactive people – 1.2% more than before the pandemic," he said.
The figures show 24.9% of adults in Newcastle said they were inactive – below the national average of 25.8%.
A further 10.4% said they were fairly active, exercising between 30 to 149 minutes a week.