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Pic: Neil "Moonwalker" Armstrong

Australia's surfing population hits half a million! (No wonder your local’s been crowded)

4 May 19


Still, it only ranks 17th on the “Top 20 Sports & Physical Activities Revealed” list. Like, pilates and cricket have us nailed.

This news release came to us from Sport Australia, interesting reading:

Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer says it’s encouraging to see a gradual increase in physical activity levels of Australians, but warns it will require much more improvement and long-term behavioural change to combat Australia’s inactivity crisis.

Sport Australia has released the latest annual data from its AusPlay survey, Australia’s largest and most comprehensive sport and physical activity survey.

For the first time, AusPlay has revealed Australia’s top 20 sports and physical activities along with detailed ‘State of the Play’ reports on each. Recreational activities like walking, fitness/gym, swimming, running and cycling top the list, with football at number six the most popular organised sport for Australian participants.

The first three years of AusPlay has recorded an increase in the overall number of Australians participating in sport and physical activity: 63.0 per cent of Australians interviewed in 2018 have participated in sport or physical activity at least three times per week compared to 59.9 per cent in 2016.

Palmer says it’s a step in the right direction, but solving Australia’s inactivity crisis is far more complex and requires generational change.

“The positive news in this data is that it shows Australians are making the effort to get moving because they are becoming more aware of the importance of sport and physical activity to their health and wellbeing,” Palmer says.

“It’s a small step in the right direction, but we’re still falling a long way behind when it comes to meeting recommended physical activity guidelines. For example, research tells us only 19 per cent of children meet the recommended one hour of physical activity a day.

“Our general lifestyles are becoming more sedentary than ever before because of things such as technological advances, so that makes it critically important to find dedicated time for sport and physical activity in our lives.

“We need to move more and our lives depend on it. It is estimated physical inactivity now contributes to the deaths of 16,000 Australians every year. That’s shocking, it’s almost 14 times the national road toll.

“Sport Australia realises the importance of shifting the dial on this now because we are committed to making generational change.”

Palmer says AusPlay provides invaluable data to help inform governments at all levels, sporting organisations and physical activity providers. She says it can also serve as inspiration for all Australians.

“Australians are lucky to have so many opportunities to get active,” Palmer says. “Our AusPlay survey records 385 types of sports and physical activities undertaken by Australians, and you may just need to find a connection with one of those to change your life for the better.

“It’s interesting to see how activities we participate in evolve as we age. Swimming is a key skill in our formative years, while team sports are popular around the early teens for social as well as physical development. Fitness and gym becomes a key motivation from late-teens onwards, while walking is the number one activity from 35 onwards. The message here is there’s a sport or physical activity to keep you moving throughout your entire life.

“Sport Australia launched #FindYour30 to motivate every Australian adult to find 30 minutes of physical activity a day and I encourage everyone to go to Sport Australia’s website if you’re looking for tips to get more active.”

Top 20 participation sports and physical activities:

*Based on annual participation (organised out-of-school activities only for children 0-14; all activities for adults 15+)

Walking (Recreational): 8,783,064
Fitness/Gym: 6,874,541
Swimming: 4,505,531
Running/Athletics: 3,334,693
Cycling:  2,359,660
Football (Soccer): 1,767,288
Tennis: 1,202,011
Bush walking: 1,189,493
Basketball: 1,017,968
Golf: 1,015,150
Yoga: 984,362
Australian Football: 913,668
Netball: 901,903
Cricket: 798,618
Dancing: (recreational): 688,293
Pilates: 585,706
Surfing: 508,015
Gymnastics: 489,058
Touch football: 464,721
Martial arts: 316,826

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