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Runaway success: Australia’s jogging boom

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2005-March 2016, n=214,617 Base: Australians 14+

Tony Abbott was famous for it, Julie Bishop’s a fan, and Bill Shorten did it throughout the recent election campaign: but jogging is not just a political past-time. The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that almost a quarter of Australians aged 14+ go jogging either occasionally or regularly –  a 66% increase on participation a decade ago.

In the 12 months to March 2006, 14.0% of Aussies reported that they went jogging on a regular or occasional basis. As of March 2016, the participation rate had skyrocketed to 23.2%, making jogging the fastest-growing sport/exercise in the country over the last 10 years, ahead of hiking/bushwalking, cycling and yoga.

This boom in jogging participation is evident among men and women of all age groups. Men’s overall participation has increased by almost 50% from 16.4% to 24.2%, while the proportion of total women joggers has almost doubled from 11.6% to 22.2%.

The growth of jogging participation in Australia: men and women


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2005-March 2016, n=214,617 Base: Australians 14+

Jogging participation peaks among the 14-24 year-old age bracket, having risen from 33.6% to 45.1% of young men and from 32.5% to a staggering 48.5% of young women over the last decade. In terms of proportional growth, however, it’s the older brackets that have shown the biggest change – particularly among women.

For example, ten years ago, just 16.7% of women aged 25-34 were jogging occasionally or regularly – this has since doubled (and then some!) to a participation rate of 35.6%. Participation has jumped more than 150% from 8.7% to 22.2% among 35-49 year-old women, and tripled among women aged 50 and older.

Jogging participation growth by gender and age: 2006 vs 2016


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2005-March 2006, n=22,270 and April 2015-March 2016, n=15,074. Base: Australians 14+

Obviously, the percentage of occasional and regular joggers declines with each progressive age bracket – for both genders – but this does not detract from the overall gains made.   

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Australia has been in the midst of a jogging boom over the past decade, driven in no small part by a surge in women’s participation. Meanwhile, the rise of fitness apps, trackers and the like has made it much easier for joggers to gauge their progress and quantify the benefits of their hard work, which must certainly be good for motivation.

“Our data also shows that the proportion of Aussies taking part in marathons has risen from 2.3% to 4.0% over the last 10 years, suggesting that not only are more people jogging in general, but more are taking it to the next, competitive level.

“As far as sports go, jogging can be a fairly low-cost activity. But for more committed participants, it can involve considerable outlay: after all, the right sportswear, running shoes and fitness bands don’t come cheap. (And that’s before we even get to event entry fees and physio treatment!). But with so many Australians jogging these days, companies specialising in sports apparel, footwear and technology need to be clear about who their target market is.

“Roy Morgan’s ground-breaking consumer profiling system Helix Personas can assist in drilling down to the kind of specifics that will enable brands to reach the most receptive audience for their products. For example, people from the trendy, tech-savvy Metrotech Community are more likely than any others to jog regularly – with certain Personas within the Community more than twice as likely as the average Aussie to do so. This high-earning group works and plays hard; for them, staying fit is essential for maintaining this frenetic lifestyle.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%