In an age where Australia is facing the problem of becoming one of the most over-weight country in the world, (already ranked 5th), ( “Aussies’ fat times”) it’s imperative that Australian’s are getting involved in physical activity of some sort. Originally Australia has been considered a sport mad nation with children playing weekly sports and the media displaying different sports on the television. However it seems that Australians are becoming fonder of a lifestyle that doesn’t involve much physical activity at all. This report aims to discover the trends in physical activity and leisure time as well as the reasoning behind that. It is also designed to take a look at the attitudes towards sailing.
Over the time of a week, local residents of the Sunshine Coast were surveyed to investigate the trends in their physical activity and leisure time (Appendix 1). From this local research, it was seen that those (male and female) in the age group of 13-17 year olds were more likely (18%) to be involved in the recommended amount of physical activity than any other age group (Figure 1.1). However it was seen that the age group that was less likely to not participate in any physical activity was 18-25year olds (2%) (Figure1.2). These results came to show that from those surveyed, 90% participated in some form of physical activity, which is larger than the state average of 26% ( Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity [Online]).
This local research also came to show that males were more likely to be involved in physical activity than females (as shown in Appendix B). Again from local research, it was observed that commonly it was males and females in the age group 70+ who didn’t participate in any physical sport. Of those that participated in physical activity of some sort, walking seemed to be the most popular form followed by gym or weights (Figure 1.3). This is also similar to that of the national standard which showed that in the year of 2002, “Walking for exercise was the most popular physical activity reported by over one-quarter (3.6 million people) of the population.”(  Participation in Sport and Physical Activities) Walking is a popular physical activity as it is less demanding of any other activity. This type of activity is also recommended for an easy going exercise for those seeking to get fit, but not wanting to exert themselves.
Leisure Time: As Australia faces the threat of becoming a sedentary country, it’s important to see how society is spending their leisure time. Leisure time is generally the time of day where a person will stop their work for the day and just relax, but what does society do during that time? Local research (as shown in figure 1.4) has shown that the in the younger age groups the main form of leisure time is socializing, which was followed by Watching TV/Movies. Although the main form of leisure time was spent socializing, this only applied to the three younger age groups. This was because (as seen in appendix c) in the older age groups, Watching TV/Movies was the main form of leisure time.
1.3 Influencing Factors on Lifestyle, Leisure Time and Physical Activity The way that society reacts to physical activity and leisure time couldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the influencing factors. Influencing factors can take form in any way. This could be through cultural beliefs, family beliefs or even the availability of resources. The local population were asked for the main reason they participated in physical activity. As seen in Figure 1.5, the most common reason is Health and Fitness followed closely by Enjoyment. This is an influencing factor as it shows that the local community is focused on achieving a better lifestyle by being healthy and fit.
It was seen in the above research that those in the age group of 70+ seem to be less involved in physical activity than any other age group. This could be due to the fact that at an older age, it is more likely that a person is likely to have a hypokinetic disease. These diseases could include osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. From these diseases it was seen that the major influencing one was arthritis or diabetes. Diseases such as these are able to prevent those of an older age becoming more involved in physical activity. At a younger age it is also recognised that the body is able to tolerate more physical exertion to that of an older body which isn’t as flexible as it once was. At a younger age it is more appealing (male more than female) to be involved in a physical activity. This could be reasons of social life, peers or to simply look good.
As shown in the above, it was recognised that walking was the most popular form of physical activity. This is because walking is a physical activity which is flexible with any person’s lifestyle. It is an activity which can be done at any time of the day compared to that of scheduled team sports and can be done with any amount of people. This activity also forms a time where a person can relax and even socialise.
It is important that society starts developing a healthy lifestyle at a young age and that the attitude students have, is one that will achieve that goal. A good attitude towards physical activity will ensure that when students get older they are able to prevent themselves from disease such as diabetes as it is seen that “More than 300 children in Australia aged under 16…have been diagnosed with…type 2 diabetes.” ( “Aussies’ fat times”)
This section will focus on the attitude of the younger generation and how they feel about physical activity and sailing. It was seen (in Figure 1.1) that those in the age group 13-17 year olds were more than likely to be involved in physical activity than the other age groups. Of the participants in this age group it was seen that 52% were males and 48% were females (from the 18% in Figure 1.1). At this age it was established (Figure 1.6) that the most common reason for participating in physical activity was Enjoyment (for both male and female) which was again followed by Health and Fitness. These results reflect the results of the local society. Although this age group is participating in the recommended amount of physical activity it is noticed in Appendix C that the way their leisure time is spent is mainly Watching TV/Movies or Socialising. This is attitude is not beneficial as the body is engaging in sedentary type activities and are not being active enough.
Sailing: Sailing is a sport that isn’t as well known as football or swimming but still evident in a country such as Australia. However for students in the age group of 13-17 year olds, it isn’t a sport that is overly appealing. Local research showed that of those in this age group 58% (Figure 1.7) have not participated in sailing in the past 12 months. When asked why this was the reason the most common reason was Lack of Knowledge to Sail (59%) followed by Dislike (20%) as seen in Figure 1.8.
This could also be due to the fact that 51% of 13-17yo are unaware of any sailing facilities on the Sunshine Coast. These attitudes exist as Sailing is a sport which isn’t widely advertised or made known to students of this age. Sailing is also a sport which is typically aimed at those at an older age as they are more likely to have the funds to regularly participate in sailing. Due to Sailing being aimed at an older age group, those in the younger age groups are likely to view Sailing as boring and mundane activity and are therefore less likely to want to participate.