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Active Voice: A lifetime of being active

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

For the first time ever, Sport New Zealand has tracked how people are being active from ages 5 to 75. The new Active NZ survey provides a fascinating insight into activity throughout a lifetime.

Across the country 5,000 young people aged 5 to 17, and 27,000 adults aged 18+, were surveyed over the 12 months of 2017 – the biggest and most comprehensive survey of physical activity yet.

Results show that 95 per cent of young people are active each week, spending an average of 11 hours on 5.4 different activities. Kids aged 12 to 14 are most active, and at levels not seen again throughout adulthood. The more physical activity young people do, the better their life satisfaction, healthy eating and sleep, and the less screen time they have.

Active Voice lifetime of being activev2

After the later teen years of 15 to 17, physical activity levels drop and only 73 per cent of adults are active each week at half the number of hours (5.3) and half the number of activities (2.3) than young people.

Yet the survey shows that the more physical activity adults do, the better their emotional wellbeing, healthy eating, body mass index and weight – factors many adults have an interest in maintaining at an optimum level.

Interestingly the leading motivation for young people to be active is quite simply because it’s fun, and to hang out with family or friends. For adults, the leading motivation is physical wellbeing followed by fun.

So what causes the change from having fun to concern for wellbeing as people age?

Overwhelmingly, both young people and adults state their barriers to being active are all about time.
Competing priorities, or being too busy, is higher for teens aged 15 to 17, and continues to be higher for adults aged 18 to 49, peaking at 25 to 49. People also say they are too tired or have no energy. Yet a massive 64 per cent of young people and 74 per cent of adults say they would like to be more active.

Our job here at Sport Bay of Plenty is to encourage more people to be more active, more often.

Our future challenge is to halt the decline in the late teens and to sustain adult participation throughout aging, even when people are too busy or too tired.

The next stage of the Active NZ survey is the release of Bay of Plenty specific data later this month. That data is sure to provide a treasure trove of information about how people are participating in our region. So watch this space for more insights about what people like to do to be active in the Bay of Plenty, and what stops them from being as active as they would like.

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