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Why Australians exercise and the price of keeping fit

26 March, 2019 | 

Posted at 8:30 am 

by Pureprofile 

Study reveals behaviours, habits and motivations behind exercise

SYDNEY, MARCH 26, 2019: Millennials are spending an average of $1020 per year to keep fit, with 5 per cent investing over $3600 per annum, on gyms, fitness classes, smartwatches and exercise apps, a new survey by global data and insights company Pureprofile (ASX:PPL) has found.*

Most people, including baby boomers, nominate overall wellness and health, and the positive impact on mental health as the most tangible and intangible reasons they exercise, respectively.
These findings and more are revealed in Pureprofile’s Australian Fitness Report 2019.

The study with 650 Pureprofile panel members was aimed at understanding the behaviours, habits and motivations around the way Australians exercise.

Just how fit do Australians think they are?

  • Extremely fit – 4 per cent
  • Moderately fit – 38 per cent
  • Not fit but not unfit – 37 per cent
  • Very unfit – 5 per cent

Overall, the most popular exercises were walking (68 per cent), swimming (24 per cent), running (24 per cent) and weight training (20 per cent).

Being time poor was a bigger problem for women than men when it came to exercising. Amongst millennials, more than 51 per cent of females said they were affected by time constraints compared with more than 35 per cent of males.

The top three barriers to exercise across all age groups were:

  • lack of time: 41 per cent
  • lack of motivation: 40 per cent
  • dislike working out with others present: 19 per cent

Overall, outdoor gym classes and martial arts were amongst the least popular activities. The study found that people who train at home compared with those in favour of gyms, fitness classes, sport, and personal training was relatively equal.

More than 70 per cent of people who work out at home claim that overall health and wellbeing was the leading motivating factor to exercise. Forty four per cent of people who exercise at home say that their inability to stay motivated is a problem compared with 36 per cent of those who use gyms.

Ten per cent of those who train at home say they don’t like exercising but do it anyway.

In terms of frequency of exercise:

  • 48 per cent of people work out between 30 and 60 minutes per session
  • 20 per cent of men exercise for more than 60 minutes
  • 11 per cent of women train for more than 60 minutes

According to the study, 29 per cent of people exercise less than five times a month, while 32 per cent said they worked out 20 times or more.

The monthly spend on fitness-related products reduces with age – unsurprisingly.

These products include active outerwear, compression garments, shoes, gym equipment, protein powder, supplements, accessories and fitness apps.

The monthly spend on fitness-related products are:

  • 28 per cent: $21-$50
  • 26 per cent: up to $20
  • 14 per cent: $51-$100
  • 12 per cent: $101+

The survey revealed that 56 per cent of people use some form of wearable technology device (eg smartwatch, activity tracker, heart monitor).

While wearable tech is common among Gen X and Y, baby boomers are also quite savvy.

In the 55-64 age group, 46 per cent of women and 39 per cent of men use wearable tech.

Dr Uwana Evers, Pureprofile data scientist, said the study showed how much Australians valued their health and wellbeing, and that technology was playing a pivotal role in helping them stay fit.

“Our study has shown that most Australians will find a way to keep healthy even if they can’t make it to the gym.

“The boom in free exercise videos on YouTube and free access to elite athlete trainers in training apps go a long way to help people start and maintain their fitness journey.

“Now everyone can have a virtual personal trainer thanks to free apps that can customise individual training programs,” Dr Evers said.

She said that Australians are paying attention to their health and diet, and are conscious of the broad benefits of being physically active.

“We can see from the results that exercise is important to most people, across all generations, including older Australians.  It’s clear that people are mindful about staying fit and healthy as it impacts their longevity and quality of life,” Dr Evers said.

Access the full report here.
* Generation group definition:

  • Millennials: 18-34 years


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