Australians are running and jogging more than they were ten years ago, with participation rates growing more than 50% across both disciplines over the last nine years.
According to the Medibank Better Health Index, in the year 2015-16, 3.4% of Australians reported that they ran long distance events like marathons for exercise, up from 2.1% in 2007-2008. Jogging saw a much higher participation rate of 21.8% of Australians for the year 2015-16, with a similar rate of growth over to running.
Somewhat surprisingly, month-by-month participation rates peaked in the middle of the year, rather than enjoying an expected ‘New Year’s Resolution’ bump in January and February. June recorded the highest number of both runners and joggers, at 4.2% and 26.4% respectively.
Similarly, both running and jogging also shared their lowest participation rates in October, at 2.5% and 18.5% respectively. This may be explained by the beginning of winter and cooler weather, which is far more pleasant to exercise in than the heat of an Australian summer. June is also the month many people might start training for major national running events – it’s the perfect time to start a sixteen week training schedule for the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival in October.
Victoria led the states, with 4.2% of the population getting out there for a run. This was higher than the next two states, with NSW/ACT combined and QLD both reporting that about 3.3% of the population in each state runs for exercise.
South Australia and Western Australia had the lowest participation rates, with 2.6% and 2.7% respectively.
Despite having one of the lowest participation rates for running, Western Australia came out on top for jogging, with 23.2% of the population indicating they jogged, just edging out Victoria which came in second. South Australia was found to have the lowest participation rate for both running and jogging in Australia.
Don’t run in isolation
While these are encouraging nation-wide trends, Australia still remains one of the heaviest nations on earth. This is despite MHBI data also suggesting that Australians are exercising more in general compared to ten years ago.
“Exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s important to remember that health and wellness is much more than exercise in isolation. Maintaining a healthy diet is also essential. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking exercise ‘cancels out’ regular poor food choices.”
Medibank is proud to partner with parkrun, a non-profit organisation that hosts weekly 5 km running events, all across Australia and the world. Best of all, it’s held early in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday, and it’s 100% free. It’s not about competing with other people – it’s about pushing yourself to be better, one step at a time.
Medibank is also the title sponsor of the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival, held on the 16th October, 2016. If you’re ready to take the next step up from parkrun, there’s sure to be an event distance that suits you with 3km, 5.7km, 10km, half marathon and marathon events all being held on the day.