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Australia’s most active states and territories revealed

04 November 2019

The Australian Capital Territory has Australia’s most active adults according to Sport Australia’s latest AusPlay survey results that identify sport and physical activity habits across the country.

In 2018/19, some 87.8 per cent of Canberrans aged 15 or over participated in sport or physical activity at least once a week, above the national rate of 82.3 per cent. More than two-thirds (69.1 per cent) of ACT adults participated at least three times a week.

Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said AusPlay, which surveys 20,000 Australians annually, was an important way to track how Australians engage with sport and physical activity.

“The latest AusPlay results show that almost 13 million Australians (62.9 per cent) aged 15 or over participate in sport or physical activity at least three times a week. Almost 60 per cent of Australian children are active at least once a week in organised activities outside school,” Ms Palmer said.

“We want to see that increase because we know the physical, mental and social benefits that being active provides.

“Sport Australia’s national Find Your 30 campaign encourages all Australians to get active for at least 30 minutes every day. Of course, the recommended activity levels for children are one hour a day, so that may be 30 minutes at school and 30 minutes at home.

“The Find Your 30 campaign is complemented by a suite of programs that encourages everyone to be active for life, from children to older Australians.

“The Australian Government’s national sport plan, Sport 2030, has set a long term goal for Australia to become the world’s most active and healthy nation. We have accomplished a lot so far, but there is far more to do if we are to continue to get Australia moving and achieve our vision.

“Sport Australia works hand in glove with sporting organisations and physical activity providers across the country to drive participation. No matter what state or territory you live in, there are endless options to be active. The key is finding something that you enjoy.”

In terms of participation per capita across all ages, Victoria has the highest proportion of tennis players, New South Wales in swimming, Northern Territory in yoga, South Australia leads in netball, Western Australia in hockey, Tasmania in recreational walking, Queensland in rugby league and the ACT in football.

AusPlay shows that recreational walking continues to be the most popular activity across the nation, with almost 9 million Australian adults making it part of a physically active lifestyle.

Swimming is the organised activity of choice for a large proportion of Australian children aged 0-14, ahead of football and gymnastics.

AusPlay provides the sport sector with vital insights into the physical activity behaviours of adults and children and criticial evidence to inform strategies to grow participation.

More than 75,000 telephone interviews have been conducted with Australian adults across all states and territories since AusPlay launched in October 2015.

Aggregated AusPlay data from October 2015 to June 2019 also shows:

  • Activities with the most gender equity among adults include bush walking, jogging and running, fitness/gym and swimming.
  • Physical health and fitness are the strongest motivation for keeping active. Young adults are more motivated to be active for fun and social reasons but as we age, mental health and the enjoyment of being outdoors become significant factors.
  • While sport remains an important form of activity throughout life, non sport-related physical activity becomes more important as we age.
  • Sport clubs are the primary avenue for children’s organised activity, with almost half of Australia’s children involved in a club sport outside of school hours.
  • Australians living in major cities are more active than those living in remote or very remote areas.
  • Time constraints are the biggest barrier to physical activity for adults up to middle age. Poor health or injury then becomes the main obstacle.
  • Use of technology in support of physical activity is popular, particularly amongst young to middle aged adults. Apps for tracking activity or training are the most common types of technology.
  • Participation through organisations/venues is important across all adult life stages although its popularity decreases with age as self-organised participation increases.

More information about AusPlay can be found at www.clearinghouseforsport.gov.au/ausplay

Click on the map below for an interactive web page of national, state and territory AusPlay figures

AusPlay 2018/19 participation rates by frequency (adults 15+)

ACT

NSW

NT

QLD

SA

TAS

VIC

WA

AUSTRALIA

1+  per year

95.1%

89.9%

83.3%

89.3%

90.8%

89.4%

91.0%

89.5%

90.1%

1+  per week

87.8%

81.9%

71.2%

81.0%

82.8%

80.4%

84.1%

82.1%

82.3%

3+ per week

69.1%

62.0%

54.6%

62.6%

60.9%

62.1%

64.6%

62.9%

62.9%

AusPlay 2018/19 participation rates by frequency (children 0-14)

ACT

NSW

NT

QLD

SA

TAS

VIC

WA

AUSTRALIA

1+  per year

81.7%

79.8%

64.0%

72.1%

80.7%

83.7%

82.2%

67.6%

77.2%

1+  per week

64.9%

63.4%

44.4%

53.0%

51.4%

69.3%

62.7%

54.6%

59.1%

NB. Please note that for children 0-14 years, data was collected via the child's parent/guardian for organised participation outside of school hours.

AusPlay 2018/19 top 5 adult physical activities

ACT

NSW

NT

QLD

SA

TAS

VIC

WA

AUSTRALIA

1

Walking

Walking

Fitness/

Gym

Walking

Walking

Walking

Walking

Walking

Walking

2

Fitness/

Gym

Fitness/Gym

Walking

Fitness/Gym

Fitness/Gym

Fitness/Gym

Fitness/Gym

Fitness/Gym

Fitness/Gym

3

Athletics, jogging and running

Swimming

Athletics, jogging and running

Athletics, jogging and running

Athletics, jogging and running

Swimming

Athletics, jogging and running

Athletics, jogging and running

Athletics, jogging and running

4

Cycling

Athletics, jogging and running

Swimming*

Swimming

Cycling

Athletics, jogging and running

Swimming

Swimming

Swimming

5

Swimming

Cycling

Yoga*

Cycling

Swimming

Cycling

Cycling

Cycling

Cycling

* Estimate has relative margin of error between 50% and 100% and should be used with caution.

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