Physical activity during leisure time, 2009

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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 2009, 52.5% 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: almost 70% reported walking during leisure time in the past three months. Gardening, home exercise, swimming, jogging and bicycling were also popular.

From 2003 to 2009, males were more likely than females to be at least moderately active. In 2009, 56.4% of males reported being at least moderately active during leisure time, up from 54.5% in 2008. The proportion of females who were active also rose, from 46.8% in 2008 to 48.7% in 2009 (Chart 1).

Chart 1
Percentage physically active or moderately active in leisure time, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2003 to 2009

Description

Chart 1: Percentage physically active or moderately active in leisure time, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2003 to 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Canadians aged 12 to 19 had the highest rate of at least moderate activity—77.2% of males and 64.6% of females.

After age 19, the percentage of females who were at least moderately active stabilized at about 49%; at age 65 and older, the figure dropped to 37.2%. Among males, the share that was at least moderately active levelled off around 51% after age 34, and remained there through the senior years (Chart 2).

Chart 2
Percentage at least moderately active in leisure time, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 2: Percentage at least moderately active in leisure time, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

Only in Alberta (56.5%) and British Columbia (60.3%) were the proportions of residents who were at least moderately active higher than the national average. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and the Northwest Territories reported lower levels of moderate physical activity than the national average.


End notes

1. Gilmour, Heather. 2007. "Physically active Canadians." Health Reports. Vol. 18, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p.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. p. 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.

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