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More than half of Londoners changing exercise habits due to climate change, survey finds

Londoners are changing their exercise habits due to climate change (File picture)  (AFP via Getty Images)
Londoners are changing their exercise habits due to climate change (File picture) (AFP via Getty Images)

More than half of Londoners have changed the way that they exercise due to climate change, a survey has revealed.

Research by London Sport found that 52 per cent of residents in the capital had adjusted their exercise habits as a result of extreme weather caused by global warming.

Almost one in five Londoners (19 per cent) have stopped exercising altogether due to heat, while over a quarter (26 per cent) are exercising earlier in the morning or later in the evening due to hot weather.

Climate change has been linked to several extreme weather events in the capital, including an unprecedented 40C heatwave in July 2022 and a seven-day heatwave in September 2023.

The survey data reveals that more needs to be done to enable parks and outdoor spaces to be used during periods of hot weather, with a fifth of respondents saying that a covered space would encourage them to remain active.

A report published in January by City Hall found that London is "unprepared" for the effects of climate change and that a "step change" in adaptation planning is needed to ensure the capital can withstand frequent heatwaves and flash flooding.

Previous research by London Sport has found that Londoners do the least exercise of any region in the UK.

People living in the capital do just 56 minutes of exercise every week – nearly two-thirds below the NHS’ recommended amount of 150 minutes.

Last year, the charity launched a manifesto including proposals to promote walking in schools, further embed physical activity and wellbeing into the blueprint for planning housing developments and provide incentives to make better use of London’s vacant spaces.

Emily Robinson, CEO of London Sport, said: “The effects of climate change on Londoners ability to exercise is 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.”

London Sport surveyed 2,500 adults as part of their research, which was conducted alongside Sport X Opinium.