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Latest Ausplay survey shows gradual increase in physical activity

Latest Ausplay survey shows gradual increase in physical activity
April 30, 2019

Sport Australia Chief Executive Kate Palmer has today stated that it is encouraging to see a gradual increase in physical activity levels of Australians, but warns it will require much more improvement and long-term behavioural change to combat Australia’s inactivity crisis.

Palmer was commenting on the just released annual data from its AusPlay survey, Australia’s largest and most comprehensive sport and physical activity survey launched in late-2015.

For the first time, AusPlay has revealed Australia’s top 20 sports and physical activities along with detailed ‘State of the Play’ reports on each. Recreational activities like walking, fitness/gym, swimming, running and cycling top the list, with football at number six the most popular organised sport for Australian participants.

The first three years of AusPlay has recorded an increase in the overall number of Australians participating in sport and physical activity: 63% of Australians interviewed in 2018 have participated in sport or physical activity at least three times per week compared to 59.9% in 2016.

Advising that she sees the findings as a step in the right direction, but that solving Australia’s inactivity crisis is far more complex and requires generational change, Palmer advised “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.

“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% of children meet the recommended one hour of physical activity a day.

“Our general lifestyles are becoming more sedentary than ever before because of things such as technological advances, so that makes it critically important to find dedicated time for sport and physical activity in our lives.

“We need to move more and our lives depend on it. 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.”

Palmer says AusPlay provides invaluable data to help inform governments at all levels, sporting organisations and physical activity providers. She says it can also serve as inspiration for all Australians, adding “Australians are lucky to have so many opportunities to get active.

“Our AusPlay survey records 385 types of sports and physical activities undertaken by Australians, and you may just need to find a connection with one of those to change your life for the better.

“It’s interesting to see how activities we participate in evolve as we age. Swimming is a key skill in our formative years, while team sports are popular around the early teens for social as well as physical development. Fitness and gym becomes a key motivation from late-teens onwards, while walking is the number one activity from 35 onwards. The message here is there’s a sport or physical activity to keep you moving throughout your entire life.

“Sport Australia launched #FindYour30 to motivate every Australian adult to find 30 minutes of physical activity a day and I encourage everyone to go to Sport Australia’s website if you’re looking for tips to get more active.”

Top 20 participation sports and physical activities
*Based on annual participation (organised out-of-school activities only for children aged 14 years and under; all activities for adults aged 15 and over): 

Walking (recreational) - 8,783,064
Fitness/gym - 6,874,541
Swimming - 4,505,531
Running/athletics - 3,334,693
Cycling - 2,359,660
Football  - 1,767,288
Tennis - 1,202,011
Bush walking - 1,189,493
Basketball - 1,017,968
Golf - 1,015,150
Yoga - 984,362
Australian football - 913,668
Netball - 901,903
Cricket - 798,618
Dancing (recreational) - 688,293
Pilates - 585,706
Surfing - 508,015
Gymnastics - 489,058
Touch football - 464,721
Martial arts - 316,826

Click here to view the latest AusPlay survey.

Images: Walking in Melbourne (top, courtesy of VicHealth) and Fitness Australia Chief Executive Barrie Elvish meets with Sport Australia's Kate Palmer at the recent FILEX Convention in Sydney (below).

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25th March 2019 - Research suggests AFLW inspires more women to participate in football codes

22nd March 2019 - Fitness Australia executive reports on World Health Organization Dialogue

18th March 2019 - 2019 National Sports Convention to offer a fresh approach to activity and participation

8th February 2019 - Sport Australia’s Kate Palmer says now is the time to stop talking about ‘women’s sport’

25th February 2019 - Sport Australia launches second phase of ‘Move It AUS’ campaign

22nd February 2019 - Football participation reaches record levels

14th January 2019 - Sport Australia’s Kate Palmer says schools are critical to solving nation’s inactivity crisis

6th August 2018 - Sport Australia launches ‘Move It’ campaign to encourage physical activity

1st August 2018 - Federal Government releases new national sport plan

20th July 2018 - Report shows few Australians of all ages meeting physical activity guidelines

11th May 2018 - Sports Commission welcomes funding to get Australians active

22nd November 2017 - AusPlay data shows increasingly active women chose fitness activities ahead of organised sport

17th November 2017 - New AusPlay figures show football leads sport participation rates in Australia

8th December 2016 - Landmark study finds sport struggling to keep youth engaged

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