According to the MultiSport Index 2019 survey conducted by Kantar, 64% of Poles are physically active. It is 2% more than in 2018. The involvement of the most active Poles is growing – as many as 19% of them exercise five times a week. Despite the awareness of the positive impact of exercise on health, one in three residents of our country does not undertake any physical activity – Poles remain one of the least active societies in the European Union.
64% of physically active Poles (nearly 21 million Polish residents over the age of 15) engage in some activity not related to work, including recreational activities such as walking or cycling for transport purposes at least once a month.
– The result of the MultiSport Index survey suggests that in the area of physical activity undertaken by Poles “something moved” and that this is the beginning of changes in the right direction. At the same time, it should be remembered that this indicator takes into account physical activity undertaken at least once a month, and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the postulated minimum doses of activity for adults are 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense physical activity per week. From this perspective, the results of the survey are no longer so optimistic for Poles – explains Dr Janusz Dobosz from the National Physical Activity Research Centre at the University of Physical Education in Warsaw. The active ones are primarily representatives of the young generation between 15 and 24 years of age (80%), learners (90%) and those with higher education (78%). As we learn from the MultiSport Index 2019 survey of physical activity among Poles, which was conducted by Kantar commissioned by Benefit Systems, the creator of the MultiSport programme, Poles whose monthly income exceeds PLN 5,000 (83%) are also eager to engage in physical activity.
For health, relaxation and body shape
– Today, there are two percent physically active Poles more than a year ago. Even the smallest increase in physical activity should be the reason to be happy because activity is a way to improve health and maintain a good quality of life. It is health that mobilises up to 43% of us to exercise and is currently the most common reason for undertaking physical activity – says Adam Radzki, Management Board Member at Benefit Systems. – 21% of Poles trains mainly on weekends - it's about 5% more than in 2017. It is worth noting that this change coincides with the introduction of trade restrictions on Sundays. We prefer to exercise in the evenings – this time for physical activity is chosen by 35% of Poles.
27% of Poles exercise for pleasure and relaxation, and 14% – to improve their appearance and body shape – these two groups are dominated by people under 30 years of age. Active Poles prefer cycling, which this year overtook running that has been most popular for years. After running, the next choice of Poles is walking and training in the gym or fitness club.
Polish people in sports facilities
The most often visited sports facilities are gyms and swimming pools, which are used by one in five active Poles. 41% of us devote PLN 50 to 99 per month for this purpose. As many as one in three people undertaking physical activity in sports facilities does not pay for it by using sports cards offered by employers in the form of non-wage benefits.
– MultiSport sports cards are more and more popular. In Poland, over a million people is already using this solution. Thanks to the card, access to various sports infrastructure is becoming easier, which directly translates into the growing level of physical activity of Poles. We have greater opportunities to learn about different forms of physical activity and choose the one in which we feel best. The MultiSport programme users' declarations show that thanks to the card as many as 78% of them engage in physical activity more often and 68% exercises differently, engaging in new types of training – emphasises Adam Radzki.
The involvement of physically active Poles is growing
The authors of the report emphasise that almost half of Poles are already active in sports. They are people who exercise at least once a week, undertaking such sports activities as fitness or swimming, excluding recreation.
– The MultiSport Index 2019 survey shows that active people exercise more intensively. 19% of Poles play sports five times a week, which is 3% more than a year ago. The increase in the frequency of training among active people is a signal that they see the beneficial impact of physical activity on well-being, since they want sport to become a permanent element of their everyday life – emphasises Dr Janusz Dobosz.
At the other extreme there are 36% of Poles who do not engage in any physical activity, even ordinary walks.
– As many as 53% of them are people over 55 years of age. The results clearly show us that enthusiasm for exercise decreases with age. Meanwhile, it is physical activity that allows you to maintain vitality for longer. The World Health Organisation has recognised immobility as the fourth cause of mortality in the world, right after cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diseases caused by ageing – adds Dr Janusz Dobosz.
Physical activity in Poland and in Europe
Those active ones are mainly people living in large cities (over 100,000 residents) – 64%. Among them, Warsaw had the best result – three quarters of Warsaw residents engage in physical activity at least once a month.
– Looking at Polish regions, the largest number of active people live in the Wielkopolskie and Małopolskie Province – 69% of residents. At the other extreme, meaning least active, there is Zachodniopomorskie (45%), Dolnośląskie (52%) and Opolskie (54%) Province – says Dr Janusz Dobosz.
In terms of physical activity, Poland is still clearly below the European average, which according to Eurobarometer 2017 is 71% of active citizens. Among EU Member States, we are sixth from the end, ahead of Portugal, Malta, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria, where the average percentage of physically active people is 51%. A similar level of physical activity to that recorded in Poland is registered in Greece and Spain, and slightly higher – in Cyprus, Croatia and Hungary (the average for these three countries is 68%). We are still far behind the leaders of these statistics. Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden have an average result of 94%.
The MultiSport Index survey was conducted by Kantar commissioned by Benefit Systems (creator of the MultiSport programme) in January 2019, considering a representative sample of 1,858 Polish citizens.