The number of physically active Australians is at a 10-year-high, with nearly 9.7 million people working up a sweat, new data shows.
The average person spends $504 annually on exercise, $31 more than in 2017, according to online surveys commissioned by health insurer Medibank.
“These findings reveal that as a nation, we’re showing signs of prioritising our physical health,” Medibank chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan said on Monday.
“However, despite these efforts, it is important to bear in mind that almost one in two Australians remain inactive, showing we still have a way to go if we’re going to combat inactivity en masse.”
Medibank’s Better Health Index data collected between April last year and March 2018 showed nearly 9.7 million Australians exercised in a three-month period, compared with just over 9.2 million between 2016 and 2017.
The insurer said the number of active Australians had increased by 2.6 million over 10 years.
However, according to the latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, few Australians, across all ages, meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.
The Physical Activity Across the Life Stages report, released in July, shows that only 30 per cent of children aged between two and 17 and 44 per cent of adults meet the guidelines that call for at least 60 minutes of activity a day and 150 minutes a week respectively.
The results show the numbers who met the guidelines decreased with age for both adults and children, with 48 per cent of adults aged 18 to 64 meeting the physical activity guideline.
The agency found children aged between two and five were most likely to meet the guidelines (61 per cent), while those aged 13 to 17 were least likely (7.9 per cent).
Four in 10 adults reported “not enough time or too many other commitments” as the main barriers to participating in sport or recreational physical activities.