Physical activity during leisure time, 2012

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.Note 1

In 2012, 53.9% (15.6 million) of Canadians aged 12 and older reported they were at least ‘moderately active’Note 2 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: 71.1% 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 2012, males were more likely than females to be at least moderately active.  In 2012, 56.2% of males reported that they were at least moderately active during leisure time, about the same as 2011 but up from 54.5% in 2008.  The proportion of females who were at least moderately active in 2012 was 51.6%, about the same as 2011 but up from 48.7% in 2009 and 49.3% 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 2012

Description for Chart 1

Canadians aged 12 to 19 had the highest rate of being at least moderately active (76.7% for males and 65.6% for females in this age group).

Between the ages of 35 and 64, about 51% of females were at least moderately active. At age 65 or older, the figure dropped to 41.7%. The percentage of males that were at least moderately active leveled off around 51% after age 34, and did not decrease for those at age 65 or older (Chart 2).

Chart 2 Percentage  physically active or moderately active in leisure time, by age group and sex, household  population aged 12 or older, Canada, 2012

Description for Chart 2

The proportion of residents who were at least moderately active was lower than the national average (53.9%) only in Quebec (49.3%).

The proportion of residents who were at least moderately active was higher than the national average in:

  • British Columbia (61.3%)
  • Yukon (66.4%)

Residents of the other provinces and territories reported rates that were about the same as 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. p.45. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2006008/article/phys/10307-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).
  2. Respondents are classified as active, moderately active or inactive based on an index of average daily physical activity over the past 3 months.  The index is calculated based on self-reported amount of time spent on various activities in the past 3 months.  For estimates based on measured physical activity, see the Canadian Health Measures Survey – Physical Activity fact sheet at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2013001/article/11807-eng.htm

References

Gilmour, Heather. 2007. “Physically active Canadians.” Health Reports. Vol. 18, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 45–65. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/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.

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