Gartcain Football Club

Life changing

New research reveals positive effects of a more active Scotland

New independent research shows the work of sportscotland is helping build a more active and healthier Scotland.

The analysis looked at the national agency’s contribution to the Scottish Government’s Active Scotland Outcomes Framework. It found that 87% of adult sports club members were meeting Chief Medical Officer guidelines of more than 150 minutes moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week.


91% of club members said sport helped them feel healthy
87% met physical activity guidelines


This is a significant increase from the 53% of club members who were meeting the guidelines before joining a club. At the same time the research concludes that while 9% of respondents were classed as inactive (less than 30 minutes MVPA per week) prior to joining a club, this falls to just 1% after becoming a member.

Enhanced wellbeing

The report, which considered survey responses from 3,000 sport club members from across the country during 2018/2019, also highlights the positive effect of participation programmes in terms of enhancing wellbeing with 91% of respondents saying that they feel healthy.

Welcoming the findings, sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris said: “We can see here the life-changing effect of sport participation. In recent years we have seen more people taking part in sport across the country, thanks in part to our support for local clubs, community sport hubs and Scottish Governing Bodies of sport (SGBs).

"Together, our work in these areas is changing lives and building a more active Scotland as can be seen from this research.

“We want to help create a Scotland where people see sport as being a central part of their lives. That is why we are determined to deliver more and better opportunities for thousands of people of all ages and abilities to participate in Scotland’s world-class sporting system.”

Key findings of the research includes:

  • 95% of club members felt they were achieving their goals in sport and physical activity
  • 91% said sport and physical activity helped them feel healthy
  • 87% met the Chief Medical Officer physical activity guidelines
  • 84% said sport and physical activity helped them feel included
  • 74% said sport and physical activity helped them feel close to people
  • 73% said sport and physical activity helped them feel optimistic
  • 69% said sport and physical activity helped them think clearly.

Minister for Public Health and Sport, Joe FitzPatrick, added: “This is important research which shows the importance of sportscotland’s work and I am delighted to see the contribution of clubs, coaches and volunteers recognised in this way. 

“We are aware of the positive links between physical activity and mental wellbeing and it is encouraging to see so many respondents stating that being part of a sports club is having a positive impact on their mental health.

“I am also pleased to see the reduction in the number of people classed as inactive – especially those living in communities which face significant challenges – demonstrating the life-changing impact of taking part in sport.”

Over the course of the research period there were about 282,000 playing members of sportscotland supported clubs. This formed part of an overall 770,000 playing members within SGBs.

Find out more

For full details of the research report visit the sportscotland website.  

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