RECREATIONAL walking, going to the gym and swimming are the top three sporting activities elected by Australians when choosing to exercise, according to new data from AusPlay.
The AusPlay survey – which is funded and led by Sports Australia – found 63 per cent of survey participants recorded some form of physical activity three times a week this year compared to 59.9 per cent in 2016.
Sports Australia chief executive officer Kate Palmer said while it’s encouraging to see an increase in physical activity levels of Australians, changes need to be made to improve behavioural attitudes towards exercise long-term.
“The positive news in this data is that it shows Australians are making the effort to get moving because they are becoming more aware of the importance of sport and physical activity to their health and wellbeing,” she said.
“It’s a small step in the right direction, but we’re still falling a long way behind when it comes to meeting recommended physical activity guidelines. For example, research tells us only 19 per cent of children meet the recommended one hour of physical activity a day.”
Ms Palmer said lifestyles are becoming “sedentary” as a result of technology, with more Aussies turning to screens than to the gym.
She said it’s important for busy working Australians to allocate dedicated time to engaging in physical activity.
“It is estimated physical inactivity now contributes to the deaths of 16,000 Australians every year. That’s shocking. It’s almost 14 times the national road toll.
“Sport Australia realises the importance of shifting the dial on this now because we are committed to making generational change.”
Annual participation rates revealed running/ athletics, cycling, football and tennis were also popular activities. Gymnastics, touch football and martial arts demonstrated the lowest participation rates out of the top 20.