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According to The Futures Company preconceptions around sport must be challenged

5 July, 2011

In order to broaden physical activity

LONDON — Communications should seek to challenge the preconception that physical activity must relate to traditional sporting pursuits. This is the conclusion of new thinking by The Futures Company on common triggers and barriers to broadening participation in physical activity in the UK.

In spite of a wide range of national initiatives and significant investment over the past decade, almost half of the UK population does not participate in any form of regular exercise. Indeed, The Futures Company’s Health & Wellness Study 2011 revealed that 30% of people had not exercised at all in the seven days leading up to the time of asking. However, we did watch 16 hours of television and spent another 16 hours surfing the net in the same time period.

Seeking to address the question of how to motivate and inspire this ‘missing half’ of the population to take part in regular exercise, and drawing on research for clients including Sport England and The Women’s Sport & Fitness Foundation, The Futures Company explored the barriers to being more physically active and identified an array of personal, lifestyle and sport reasons impacting an individual’s propensity to adopt and maintain a physically active lifestyle. Barriers to participation are complex and exist on a number of levels. One striking finding though was the misconception that physical activity can only be achieved through traditional sporting pursuits and therefore has both social and cost implications.

Alex Oliver, Director at The Futures Company, presenting this material today at ‘Talking
Physical’, a roundtable discussion co-hosted with the Mappin Group, said: “There’s a
tendency to assume that physical activity costs money. Activity needs to be accessible and
part of the daily routine. The challenge for policy makers and practitioners remains to break
new ground in encouraging wider physical activity and healthy lifestyle participation.”

For further information, please contact:
(UK) Jennifer Childs on +44 (0)20 7955 1824 or email 
(US) Emily Parenti on +1 919 932 8626 or email  

About The Futures Company
The Futures Company is the leading global foresight and futures consultancy, formed in
2008 from the coming together of The Henley Centre, HeadlightVision and Yankelovich.
Through a combination of subscription foresight services and bespoke research and
consultancy, we create commercial advantage for our clients by helping them to take control
of their futures. By exploring the future needs, motivations and behaviors of consumers, and
the broader dynamics shaping the marketplace, we unlock the future of consumers, brands,
categories and companies.

The Futures Company is a Kantar company within WPP with teams in the UK, US, Mexico,
Brazil, Argentina and India.

Follow The Futures Company on Twitter @FuturesCo

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