Nearly 80% of Australians 70+ participate in sports & activities

Topic: Press Release
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Almost four out of five Australians aged 70+ participate in sports and activities (78.1%). Walking for exercise is far and away the most popular activity, with 1,872,000 older Australians (66.4%) participating. Next is swimming, the choice of 418,000, or just over one-in-seven older Australians.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has underscored the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle in combating potentially fatal viruses and diseases. Roy Morgan has previously identified that 1.8 million Australians aged 70+ (65% of the age group) suffer from one of the illnesses shown to increase the risk of dying if COVID-19 is contracted.
Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the threat of COVID-19 has put the spotlight on the health and wellbeing of older Australians, so these findings are good news:

“Australia has dealt exceptionally well with COVID-19 over the last few months, but those aged 70+ remain at greater risk of dying than their younger counterparts if they contract the disease. Over 80% of Australians to die from COVID-19 have been aged 70 years or older.
“Actively maintaining good health can reduce the risk factors of succumbing to a disease such as COVID-19, so it’s great to see that such a high proportion of older Australians make sports and activities a priority. After walking and swimming, the next most popular choices among this age group are going to the gym/weight training, then hiking/bushwalking and golf. 

“Throughout the lockdown period Australians have been allowed to exercise as one of the few essential permitted activities, although gyms and pools have been closed. In Victoria and the Northern Territory golf courses were also off-limits, however people in those states who enjoy teeing off can now resume their sport as courses have been allowed to re-open as part of the easing of restrictions.”

Roy Morgan’s extensive demographic, attitudinal and behavioural data provides key insights into many aspects of Australian life, including interests and activities across the population. The findings in this release are drawn from the latest Roy Morgan sports and activities participation survey conducted in the 12 months to March 2020.

Top 10 Sports and Activities by regular participation rate for Australians aged 70+

Sources: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2019 – March 2020, sample n = 3,840. Base: Australians aged 70+.

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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
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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