I was on the tram the other day watching the passing parade when I was reminded of a long running debate with my girlfriends' as to general standard of health in men versus women. There seems to be an observation that whilst women are sweating, toning and preening to improve their health and wellbeing, their male counterparts are rarely happen found doing the same thing. So, is the natural conclusion that women are more committed to looking after themselves than men? Who takes better care of their health – men or women?
In Australia, 27% of men and 32% of women participate in sports and physical recreation twice a week.
Based on the headline statistics, women are more active than men and will exercise on a more regular basis. Surprisingly enough, the key point of difference appears to be as simple as walking. Walking is the most popular activity in Australia and twice as many women are walking than men. That is a huge difference! So, we have resolved the first part of our question; sorry guys but women are more active than men.
Men and women participate in different forms of exercise
Whilst men may not be as interested in walking as women, it seems that the differences do not stop there. Men are far more likely to be found cycling or playing golf whilst women will be more commonly found at an aerobics class or playing netball. My personal view is that this reflects the social nature of sport and recreation. It is much more fun to exercise with friends and have a few laughs along the way.
This also tells us that if you are a woman, you are far more likely to be doing stuff that other women enjoy and vice versa for men. It is not that the guys are not looking after their health; they just choose to do it through different activities to women.
If you want to participate in a gender neutral activity then go swimming, play tennis or go for a bush walk.
Thankfully, there is some middle ground. If you want to hit the pool for a few laps you are likely to see a good balance of men and women. Or if you want to take up a sport with your partner, tennis could be a great option! There are some activities that are equally enjoyable to men and women, so there is hope yet.
So it seems that my girlfriends and I were partly right. Whilst there are more women out there walking their way to a healthier lifestyle, there are still plenty of men who are taking care of their health through other means. Perhaps the real insight is that when it comes to working out, men and women have really different preferences and goals which are ultimately reflected in what activities they choose participate in.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts or comments. All you need to do is post one below.
Please note: All statistics were sourced from "Participation in sports and physical activity", Australian Bureau of Statistics, August 2007.
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