A survey carried out in the summer of 2021 gathered over 1400 responses and revealed that locals face a variety of barriers to keeping active.
Shetland residents were asked to share details about their physical activity levels, preferences and ideas through adult and pupil surveys.
Barriers mentioned in responses to the survey included: a lack of time and motivation, cost, distance to activities and a lack of suitable routes for walking and cycling.
The surveys were created by an Active Shetland Strategy working group – the strategy aims to “make Shetland the most active community in Scotland”, and includes representatives of Shetland Islands Council, Shetland Recreational Trust, NHS Shetland, Ability Shetland and ZetTrans.
More than half of the adult survey respondents indicated that a lack of time limited their participation in physical activity, and 47% stated that a lack of motivation was a barrier to being active.
Having other priorities and a lack of childcare were also commonly selected reasons that limited activity levels.
For pupils, poor weather was the most selected barrier to participation, closely followed by a lack of time (35%) and a lack of motivation (21%).
Survey respondents were also asked to select potential improvements that could increase their activity levels.
For adults, the most commonly selected choice was improved paths and suitable routes for cycling and walking.
Most frequently selected improvements also included activities that were beginner-focused, cheaper, family-friendly and closer to home.
For children, the most selected improvement was activities closer to home, followed closely by family activities, reduced costs and more focus on fun.
As well as giving information on barriers to activity and ways to reduce them, the surveys also gave insight into the respondents’ current physical activity levels and how the pandemic had impacted them, the main motivations for being active, and information about the ways in which people preferred to be active.
Armed with the information from the survey results, the working group has initially decided on five main actions for 2022.
– Deliver workplace and schools campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles, including supporting schools to complete the School Sport Award
– Create family-orientated and fun-focused activities for all in two rural areas.
– Develop and expand walking group opportunities for all in Shetland.
– Engage with a variety of groups, including youth groups, to better understand barriers to being active
– Promote new and existing opportunities for younger and older people to be active, including SRT’s new subscription and Access to Leisure schemes.
Louise Johnson, of the Council’s Sport & Leisure Service, said:
“We are happy with the number of responses to our lifestyle survey and we’d like to thank everyone who took part.
“We have used their input to create an Action Plan for moving forward, and we look forward to working together as a partnership to deliver some new projects and activities that we hope will help to reduce some of the local barriers that have been identified.”