These shoes are made for walking...

The most popular physical recreation activity for men and women is again walking for exercise, reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics in its Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation survey.

However, the participation rate was much higher for women (30 percent) than for men (17 percent), the late December report showed.

Almost 65 percent of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in physical activities for recreation, exercise or sport at some time during the 12 months before interview in 2011-12 and 27 percent participated in organised sport and physical recreation.

ABS Director of Culture Recreation and Migrant Statistics, Andrew Middleton said “People of 15 to 17 years had the highest levels of participation at 78 percent, while those aged 65 and over had the lowest participation rate at 50 percent.

The two most popular activities were walking (24 per cent) and fitness or gym-based (17 per cent).

“About 52 per cent of Australians who participated in sport and physical recreational activities participated 105 times or more during the 12 months prior to interview."

"Half took part in informal physical activities while 27 per cent of participants were involved in organised activities."

Of children aged 5-14 years, 60 percent participated in organised sport outside of school hours during the 12 months ending April 2012.

Most popular organised sport for boys was outdoor soccer with 22 percent participating. Most popular for girls was swimming/diving with 19 percent participating.

However, much of the data is years old and its relevance is therefore limited!

And looking at those who regularly participate, the survey found that in 2010 the rate was highest for those whose work commitments allowed them to also meet other family and community responsibilities (84 percent).

Participation in sport is shown to be highest among those who have daily contact with their family and friends at 77 percent and it was highest for those with about half of their friends who are of the same ethnic background (80 percent).

• Running, bike riding or a swim:

Fitness, cycling, swimming, tennis and running were among the top ten activities participated in by men and women. More women participated in fitness (19 percent compared with 15 percent for men) while more men than women went cycling (ten percent compared with five percent for women) and participated in running (nine percent compared with six percent).

During the 12 months prior to interview, 60 percent of children aged 5-14 years participated in at least one sport outside of school hours that had been organised by a school, club or association.

Participation rate for boys was greater than for for girls, overall and within each age group.

Children aged 9-11 years were those most likely to participate in sport with a participation rate of 66 percent, exceeding the rates for both 5-8 year olds (56 percent) and 12-14 year olds (60 percent).

The three most popular organised sports for boys in the year ending April 2012 were outdoor soccer, swimming/diving and Australian Rules football with participation rates of 22 percent, 16 percent and 15 percent.

For girls, two sports were predominant - swimming/diving with 19 percent and netball with 16 percent of girls participating. The level of participation by girls in both of these sports was double the level of gymnastics, which was the next placed sport with an eight percent participation rate.

Although boys had higher participation rates in organised sport, girls had a much higher participation rate than boys in organised dancing outside of school hours.

The survey also included participation in bike riding and skateboarding, inline skating or riding a scooter.

More boys participated in these activities (70 percent in bike riding and 60 percent in skateboarding, inline skating or riding a scooter) than girls (57 percent and 47 percent respectively).

Between April 2009 and April 2012, the participation rate of boys in bike riding grew from 66 percent to 70 percent. More girls reported riding bikes too.
Read more from: Industry/Business News
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