In December of 2013 Fitness Town commissioned an Ipsos Reid survey to learn more about the fitness habits of those living in the Lower Mainland. Almost 1,000 participants were asked a number of questions. Some findings were as anticipated and others, not so much. Here are some of the stats we found with a little commentary from our marketing team Naomi or Night Hawk (N) and Malcolm or Maverick (M) and yes we have code names, because…why wouldn’t you!
1. 42% of Vancouverites say they have no plans to set a fitness-related resolution and 15% admit to making fitness resolutions they know they’ll then break. However, 33% say that their fitness goals are a priority all year round.
M: I am surprised by this– seems low on the resolutions. Almost everyone I know has set a health or fitness related goal – either lose weight, gain muscle, be more active, eat more fruits + vegetables, or stay away from the fast food etc… Conversely, I figured the 15% would be higher – most people set their sights a little too high for their health and fitness goals. You aren’t going to lose 20lbs in a month!
N: Wow resolutions are out I guess. I think it is good that people make fitness a priority all year round. It is so much easier to recover from a few weeks of inactivity and poor eating than months. I also am amazed that only 15% set and break their resolutions but I guess people are just learning not to make finite, time dependent fitness goals.
Side note: Vancouver, The North Shore, Burnaby and Richmond/South Van top answer regarding fitness resolutions was that fitness is important to them year round while the majority answer for Port Coquitlam, Surrey and Langley was that they never set fitness resolutions.
2. 30% of working respondents answered that they would like to have access to fitness facilities at or near their workplace while 33% answered that they already had access to such facilities at or near their workplace.
M: The Lower Mainland is known for heavy commute times– I can understand the ease of working out at home, at a local health club either before or after work, or on your own time. Good to see the majority has access or wants access to fitness facilities! Is your employer doing their part?
N: Well I am no trend spotter but combine those that want access and those that have access and that is over 60%. I think employers need to take a look at this and try to offer their employees some sort of fitness facility access. In the long run it benefits them too as those who are active are shown to need less sick days.
N: After some of the bleak studies showing how kids are becoming less and less active, I am happy to see that they are still at least the most active household member in the lower mainland. There are so many resources out there including tax credits for after school programs, school programs and of course just being a kid. Back in my day (yup I’m doing it), we would play outside, go for bike rides, play hockey, ice skate, roller blade, take a trip around the neighborhood, go swimming, play tag tag and more tag, make snow forts, climb trees etc. It was amazing, those were the days!
4. 45% of parents say technology/games/internet negatively impact their children’s physical activity levels
M: Safe to say I spent a few hours as a youngster playing video games …the time goes by fast. And unfortunately, most video games involve starring a screen for sometimes hours on end, typically making unwise food choices and not moving. Not many kids are playing video games, doing burpees and eating carrot sticks? ….Or are they?
N: I guess this is no real surprise. All those activities are pretty sedentary but play on the multi-tasking, little attention span population of today’s world. The couch and netflix can be very appealing but can also make you feel more lethargic and moody. The trick is to make a routine or to integrate physical activities into every day life so there is balance.
5. 57% of parents would say that they are less active now than when they were younger
M: I’m not a parent (…yet, or anytime soon) but I can relate to this – I was involved in lots of sports in my younger years. Harder to create as much time for athletics going through post-secondary and then maintaining a full-time job. But I’m still involved in a few rec teams!
N: I am with Malcolm on this one. Although not a parent yet, I am certainly less active. I think the active play had a lot to do with it. I often think there should be an adult P.E. class that you can go to and learn/play a number of different sports. But even that idea is still hard to integrate into a busy schedule. I would like to work school hours (8:30am-3:30pm) with P.E. in there somewhere. Oh those were the days. Then there would be plenty of time for play…freeze tag, lazer tag, capture the flag or any other kind of tag anyone?In the meantime, having friends to hike, swim, bike ride or walk with is key.
6. 33% of respondents with children said that growing up their parents set an example of a healthy and active lifestyle and that it has positively affected their lifestyle choices today. Of the 8 possible responses, this was the answer with the most recipients.
M: I’ll throw up the “I’m not a parent” disclaimer again but I took a few psychology classes in college. Monkey-see-Monkey-do right? Set a good example for your kids.
N: I know that my mom certainly did a good job of ensuring we ate healthy and were active and I do still eat healthy and attempt to be active, although I could always make this more of a priority. I think it makes sense that this would ring true for many people. So what is the lesson? Set a good example now!
7. 61% of respondents with children said that it was very important to set a positive example of a healthy and fit lifestyle for their children while only 15% said they regularly engaged in family fitness activities. Shockingly 23% do not currently engage in fitness activities as a family and have no plans to start.
M: It’s unfortunate but I think there is a lack of education when it comes to fitness. Fitness can be perceived as intimidating and overwhelming. But it isn’t! You don’t need 2 hours a day, 7 seven days a week to go the gym and workout. A few pieces of home equipment can really change your lifestyle. Not to mention effective workouts can be done in about 20 minutes.
N: Well this falls under the “actions speak louder than words” category. I think it is sad that people realize it is important but aren’t doing anything about it. I am shocked that as high as 23% don’t even plan to engage in physical activities as a family. Again I am no parent and recognize that life can be chaotic but what about the balance that is needed? I would think that of all the times to be active, doing fun things with your family would be great. Go for a bike ride, go to the pool, go camping, hiking, even run around at the park. I know that when I nannied, I was always looking for fun outdoor activities and venues (parks, playgrounds, water slides, pools etc.).
M: Ask this question again in a few years – I’m betting on over 50%. Fitness tech. has arrived and is here to stay.
N: Ditto. Although I have to say just because someone downloads the app, doesn’t mean they use them. I have a number of fitness apps that sadly don’t get much use. Want some ideas? Check out this past post.
9. Residents of Port Coquitlam and Langley most likely to spend 1-3 hours a day inactive due to technology (work, TV, gaming, computer, mobile, touch device) while Vancouver, the North shore, Surrey, Richmond (including South Van) most likely to say they spend 4-6 hours and Burnaby answered 7-10 hours.
M: This is tough and surprisingly. Typically Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby are perceived as the most active because of our close proximity to local mountains, trails, and hikes. But good on Port Coquitlam and Langley for kicking butt this year!
N: I am surprised that Poco and Langley had Vancouver and the North Shore beat. In the Ipsos Reid Poll we conducted last year, Langley was among the more inactive cities and the North Shore was the most active. I guess spending a lot of hours being inactive doesn’t necessarily you don’t make up for it later. Maybe it just means that a lot more people in Vancouver and Burnaby have desk jobs. Bottom line, always keep moving. Make it fun. At fitness town the staff were all given Polar Loop activity bands and now we are seeing who gets the most steps during the day, it makes us walk more! As we say “Always Keep Moving!”
Night Hawk and Maverick out!