Physical activity during leisure time, 2011

The health benefits of physical activity include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, stress and anxiety.1

In 2011, 53.8% of Canadians were at least 'moderately active' during their leisure time - energy expended at work, in transportation or doing housework is excluded. 'Moderately active' would be equivalent to walking at least 30 minutes a day or taking an hour-long exercise class at least three times a week.

The most popular leisure-time activity was walking: 70% reported walking during leisure time in the past three months. Gardening, home exercise, jogging or running, swimming, and bicycling were also popular.

From 2001 to 2011, males were more likely than females to be at least moderately active.  In 2011, 56.4% of males reported that they were at least moderately active during leisure time, about the same as in 2009 but up from 54.9% in 2010.  The proportion of females who were at least moderately active was 51.3%, up from 48.7% in 2009 and 49.4% in 2010 (Chart 1).

Chart 1
Percentage physically active or moderately active in leisure time, by sex, household population aged 12 or older, Canada, 2001 to 2011

Description

Chart 1 Percentage physically active  or moderately active in leisure time, by sex, household  population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2001 to 2011

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

Canadians aged 12 to 19 had the highest rate of being at least moderately active (76.0% for males and 67.6% for females in this age group).

After age 34, the percentage of females who were at least moderately active stabilized at about 49%; at age 65 or older, the figure dropped to 40.1%. Among males, the percentage that was at least moderately active leveled off around 52% after age 34, and dropped  to 49% at age 65 or older (Chart 2).

Chart 2
Percentage at least moderately active in leisure time, by age group and sex,household population aged 12 or older, Canada, 2011

Description

Chart 2 Percentage at least  moderately active in leisure time, by age group and sex,household  population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2011

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2011.

Only in British Columbia (59.6%) and Yukon (61.7%) were the proportions of residents who were at least moderately active higher than the national average. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador (49.9%), Prince Edward Island (48.7%), Quebec (50.9%) and Nunavut (37.3%) reported levels of moderate physical activity that were lower than the national average.


End note

  1. Gilmour, Heather. 2007. "Physically active Canadians." Health Reports. Vol. 18, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. page 45. /pub/82-003-x/2006008/article/phys/10307-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

References

Gilmour, Heather. 2007. "Physically active Canadians." Health Reports. Vol. 18, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. pages 45–65. /pub/82-003-x/2006008/article/phys/10307-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot and Mark S. Tremblay. 2008. "Screen time among Canadian adults: A profile." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 2. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200800210600 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Shields, Margot and Mark S. Tremblay. 2008. "Sedentary behaviour and obesity among Canadian adults." Health Reports. Vol. 19, no. 2. June. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. /bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200800210599 (accessed May 10, 2010).

Data

Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0501.