Even before Covid, four in 10 British adults were so immobile they risked their long-term health. But even small bursts of activity can bring huge benefits

There were times during the sunny lockdown last spring when you might have mistaken my local park for some sort of idealised Victorian sanatorium, filled with joggers, skippers, stretchers and barbell-raisers. On the deserted roads nearby, families cycled in liberated gaggles. Inside living rooms, children started the day by doing star-jumps with their parents. It felt like a new start.

There was only one problem: it was a mirage. Subsequent research by Sport England found that overall activity levels fell dramatically for both adults and children. During the pandemic, an ongoing crisis became even worse.

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