Women’s health and fitness most at risk if leisure facilities stay closed

Ongoing closures of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres are “disproportionately” affecting women, according to Sport England, which warns gender inequalities have been exacerbated by lockdown.

The Government-formed body expressed concern to MPs that the clock is being turned back after women’s sporting participation was boosted by last year’s football, netball and cricket world cups.

Activity levels were at record highs pre lockdown, but “less women than men” have been able to be active as families were placed under pressure by Covid-19.

“We’ve seen an exacerbation of inequalities that existed before lockdown,” said Alison Donnelly, executive director of communications and marketing at Sport England.

The Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee praised Donnelly over the Sport England-backed This Girl Can campaign, which was first developed in 2015 to promote sport and activity among women, and since then has inspired four million women to act.

“In terms of

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