Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said it was encouraging to see a gradual increase in the physical activity levels of Australians, but warns it will require many more improvements and long-term behavior change to fight against the inactivity crisis in Australia.
Sport Australia has released the latest 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 20 best sports and fitness activities, along with detailed state-of-the-game reports for each one. Recreational activities like walking, fitness / gym, swimming, running and cycling top the list with football being the sixth most popular organized sport for Australian participants.
The first three years of AusPlay saw an increase in the total number of Australians participating in sport and physical activity: 63.0% of Australians surveyed in 2018 participated in sport or physical activity at least three times per week , compared to 59.9% in 2016.
Palmer says it’s a step in the right direction, but resolving Australia’s inactivity crisis is much more complex and requires generational change.
“The good news about this data is that it shows Australians are making the effort to get moving because they are increasingly aware of the importance of sport and physical activity to their health and well-being. be, ”said Palmer.
“It’s a small step in the right direction, but we’re still way behind when it comes to meeting recommended physical activity guidelines. For example, research tells us that only 19 percent of children reach the recommended time of daily physical activity.
“Our general lifestyles are becoming more sedentary than ever before due to things like advancements in technology, so finding time dedicated to sport and physical activity in our lives is extremely important.
“We need to move more and our lives depend on it. It is estimated that physical inactivity now contributes to the death of 16,000 Australians each year. Shockingly, it’s almost 14 times the national road toll.
“Sport Australia realizes the importance of changing the dial on this now because we are committed to making a generational change.”
Palmer says AusPlay provides invaluable data to help educate governments at all levels, sports organizations and physical activity providers. She says it can also serve as an inspiration for all Australians.
“Australians are lucky to have so many opportunities to get active,” says Palmer. “Our AusPlay survey records 385 types of sports and physical activity that Australians play, and you may just need to find a connection with one of them to change your life for the better.
“It’s interesting to see how the activities we participate in change with age. Swimming is a key skill in our formative years, while team sports are popular among young adolescents for social and physical development. Fitness and the gym become a key motivation from the end of adolescence, while walking is the number one activity from the age of 35. The message here is that there is sport or physical activity to keep you moving throughout your life.
“Sport Australia launched # FindYour30 to motivate every Australian adult to find 30 minutes of physical activity a day and I encourage everyone to check out the Sport Australia website if you are looking for tips on getting more active.”