Most Irish adults exercise at least once a week
Most Irish adults exercise at least once a week, but acknowledge they should do much more to keep fit, according to the Ipsos MRBI 50th anniversary poll.
At a time of rising concern over obesity and heart disease, the number who stretch their legs on a weekly basis – 73 per cent – appears to be good news for the health of the nation.
Most, however, feel guilty that they don’t do enough. A large majority – 68 per cent – say they know they should exercise more than they do at present to stay healthy.
Time, for many, appears to be the main factor (or excuse) for the lack of exercise.
Some 72 per cent of people say they would like more more leisure time, if given the opportunity.
Having more free time is a bigger priority for younger adults. Some 77 per cent of those aged 18-34 say they would like extra space for leisure, while this falls to 69 per cent among those aged 35-64.
Despite the interest in exercise, when it comes to how adults spend their free time, many say it is taken up with more sedentary pursuits.
The most popular way to spend leisure time on a Sunday is to watch television (89 per cent). Going for a walk or a jog is the next most popular (59 per cent), followed by reading the Sunday newspaper (54 per cent). Visiting family or friends (53 per cent) is also popular, as is going online (50 per cent).
Attending church is ranked by significant numbers as a leisure activity (38 per cent), as well as going to the pub (23 per cent).
Playing sport – both indoors and outdoors – also ranked highly (20 per cent), particularly among younger people.
The sport that most people have tried during the last year is swimming. More than a third (36 per cent) have been in a pool, with numbers highest among younger people and trailing off among older adults.
The next most popular sport is jogging (24 per cent), followed by soccer (12 per cent) and snooker (7 per cent).
Participation in sport is highest among young people, with the exception of golf.
A total of 10 per cent said they played golf in the last year, a figure that stayed the same across all age groups.
In general, those outside of Dublin were more likely to be involved in sport. Among those who went swimming in the past year, for example, the national average is 36 per cent. The rate in Dublin is 28 per cent, while it rises to 42 per cent in Munster.
It is a similar story with sports such as Gaelic football. Nationally, just 6 per cent had played it in the past 12 months. On a regional basis, the rate in Dublin was 3 per cent, rising to 11 per cent in Connacht/Ulster.
Sport remains more popular with men. Across most sports, with the exception of swimming and tennis, men were more likely to have participated than women.