Belfast Telegraph

Jump in numbers playing sports

Irish people are getting more physically active, an annual study has revealed.

The Irish Sports Monitor report found a jump in the numbers taking part in sports from just over 30% of the adult population to nearly 34%.

Swimming remains the most popular activity overall after personal exercise and soccer, although men are more likely to play soccer and golf while women favour swimming and personal exercise.

The report, written by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) for the Irish Sports Council, also found the proportion of Irish adults who walked regularly went up from 58% to 61%.

Some 7% of the population swim regularly, 6% work out and 6% play soccer.

Walking and cycling as a mode of transport contribute substantially to physical activity, with 46% and 11% of adults respectively doing each regularly.

Students, city dwellers, single people and younger people are particularly likely to walk and cycle for transport.

The study, based on regular interviews with adults aged 16 and over, revealed the proportion of adults who engage in no physical activity dropped from 18% to 16%.

The fall was greater among those with higher incomes, with older women, the middle-aged and those living in rural locations more likely to be sedentary.

John Treacy, chief executive of the Irish Sports Council, said: "The drop in sedentarism is particularly noteworthy and very important from a health viewpoint."

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