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World Economic Forum study identifies fitness as the most popular physical activity globally

World Economic Forum study identifies fitness as the most popular physical activity globally
September 3, 2021

A new global exploring attitudes to sport and exercise in 29 countries, has revealed that fitness is the world's most popular physical activity and that more than half of those surveyed would like to spend more time being active.

The international study, conducted by global market research company with the World Economic Forum, found (58%) would like to be more active and but that many (37%) say they lack of time to do so.

Among the report's findings were that the five most frequently practiced team sports and activities in a normal week are fitness (20% of those questioned), running (19%), cycling (13%), football/futsal (10%) and swimming (9%).

People from the Netherlands were identified as the most physically active of the 29 nations - spending 12.8 hours a week (almost two hours per day) doing physical exercise or team sports, double the average of 6.1 across 29 markets - while, Brazilians are the least physically active, spending just three hours per week doing physical exercise (26 minutes per day).

People from Germany and Romania are the next most active, carrying out 11.1 and 11 hours of exercise per week respectively.

As well as Brazil, four other countries report doing less than four hours of physical exercise on average per week - France, Chile, Italy and Japan, with one third of Japanese citizens report doing no exercise at all in an average week, more than double the average across 29 countries

People from the USA and United Kingdon are the most likely to say they do no team sports, with six in 10 of their populations saying this is the case (61% and 59% respectively). Other Anglophone countries - Canada (56%) and Australia (55%) - are next most likely to agree, along with Japan (55%).

Swedes are the least likely to report playing now team sports in a normal week, with just 15% saying this is the case.

The study also revealed geographical and cultural differences when it comes to barriers to physical activity.

People in Turkey and Argentina cited a lack of money (33% and 30% respectively) as the main barrier to taking part, while citizens of Saudi Arabia and South Africa were most likely (38%) to say the weather was too hot.

Meanwhile, 40% of Japanese say there are no barriers and that they simply do not want to exercise.

In terms of gender, across the 29 countries, men spend, on average, 6.9 hours per week doing physical activity - almost an hour a day while women spend 5.4 hours per week doing exercise - 1.5 hours less than men.

For the survey, Ipsos interviewed a total of 21,503 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16-74 in 24 other markets between 25th June and 9th July 2021.

Approximately 1,000 individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel, with the exception of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample of around 500.

Click here to view the full report, Global views on exercise and team sports.

Main image courtesy of Exercise NZ.

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