How do young people on the Isle of Wight feel about physical activity?

Date: 14 April 2023   Author: Energise Me

If you’ve ever been curious about how young people feel about physical activity, our latest survey of young people on the Isle of Wight provides an interesting snapshot.

A couple of years ago we published our first Me and Activity Report, exploring how young people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight felt about physical activity. Although we shared the survey on the island, none of the responses came from the Isle of Wight. Keen to address this, we re-launched the survey just for the island.

Our partner organisations on the Isle of Wight shared a digital survey. We then printed copies for youth organisations who requested them. Initially we saw low response rates, so we ran two sponsored Facebook adverts which led to a greater number of responses.

When it comes to going to the gym, I never felt confident enough to go, and I still don't now.

Female, 17

What is important to young people on the Isle of Wight?

The types of activity that children and young people on the Isle of Wight like to do reflect the environment they live in, with outdoor activities such as hiking, skateboarding, snorkelling, surfing and horse riding. The most popular activities were walking, cycling and running.

Young people’s main motivations for doing an activity were, “It made me feel good,” and “I loved the activity”.

Young people’s main barriers to being active were “I didn’t feel confident to be active”, “My mental health made it difficult for me to be active”, and “I wasn’t motivated to be active”.

Young people specifically mentioned feeling insecure about their appearance, and that physical and mental health conditions can hold them back from being active in the way they want.

I felt too fat and not fit enough and too young to exercise outside.

Female, 18

What would young people change?

When offered a magic wand to change anything about their community, young people’s main wishes were:

  1. Affordable activities
  2. To feel confident, and unjudged
  3. Good local facilities
  4. More time

One young person said “I wish there were more places in the community that did affordable exercise”.

Mental health needs to be supported more on this island to give us a better life and not feel so isolated.

Zoe, 14

Top tips for supporting young people

  1. Make the most of the environment you’re in. The benefits of being outdoors are brilliant.
  2. Promote active travel and non-traditional, or non-sport physical activities.
  3. Capitalise on enjoyment!
  4. Promote and protect a safe and inclusive space, where young people can grow their confidence, skills and friendships.

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