A Fitness First* survey has found one quarter (25%) of the Australian adult population is obese, a further 29% is overweight and 41% overall acknowledge they are inactive but only 13% exercise on a daily basis.
Among those who would like to exercise more, lack of time is the biggest hurdle to being active (56%), while 47% find it hard to get motivated to exercise. One in four (25%) find meeting family needs a barrier to exercise and work pressures are keeping 24% from working out. Perhaps surprisingly the 18-24 age group see lack of time as a hurdle to exercising more than any other age group.
Grant Twible, Fitness Director at Fitness First Australia, says, “It’s a symptom of modern day life, where people know they need to improve their health and fitness and want to do something about it but either can’t be bothered, don’t have time in their busy lives to make health a priority or are just so strung out and tired by other demands that they don’t have the energy to dedicate to looking after themselves.”
“However, with more than half the Australian adult population either overweight or obese, physical activity must become a priority in conjunction with healthy eating in order to prevent serious health problems.
“It’s encouraging that walking and running or jogging are the most popular exercises as these are activities anyone can do, anytime and anywhere as a simple, but important step in maintaining health and fitness.
“It’s interesting the research showed people with busy schedules are actually the people working out most, with 29% of full time workers exercising 3-6 times per week.
“This reinforces what we already know - once you start a regular exercise program it becomes an important part of your lifestyle that you enjoy and want to make time for as it improves your wellbeing.”
The survey also found:
• Queensland is the most overweight state, with 60% of the adult population in the overweight or obese BMI range.
• Victorians and Tasmanians have the lowest number of overweight or obese people with 44% in the relevant BMI range. 36% of Victorians and Tasmanians are in the normal weight range, more than any other state.
• Active West Australians lead the way in exercise session time, with 40% spending the recommended 30-59 minutes on each exercise session.
• Walking was the most popular form of exercise with both men and women across all age groups (71%), followed by running or jogging (15%). Swimming or surfing and cycling were equally popular at 12%, followed by using equipment or weights at a gym (11%), individual sports such as tennis or golf (9%), team sports (8%), yoga or pilates (6%) and groups exercise classes (5%).
• Yoga or Pilates is more popular with women than men as exercise, with 11% of women selecting these practises as exercise compared to 2% of men, yet it’s excellent for increased flexibility and core strength and for reducing stress levels.
Simple tips to increase your activity levels and improve your fitness:
• Add more movement into your everyday routine. It can be as simple as taking the stairs or walking to your local shops. Be mindful of sitting down for extended periods, or getting swallowed by the couch.
• Incorporate some functional training into your exercise programs. For example, if you are walking add a set of squats, step-ups and push-ups at the park bench.
• Stay mobile and help avoid injury with a purposeful flexibility program. Choose from simple range of motion exercises before activity or to start the day, to a dedicated mind/body program like yoga or Pilates.
• Manage your metabolism and energy levels by planning to eat regular healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Waiting until your hungry to make food choices, often leads to poor nutritional decisions.
• Get some good quality rest and recovery. Eight hours sleep a night, or the weekend siesta is not a guilty pleasure - they serve to rejuvenate us.
Research commissioned by Fitness First Australia and conducted by Galaxy Research in August 2010. A national study of n=1,263 Australians aged 18+ years.