One in four admit doing no physical exercise
More than one-quarter of Irish adults are not physically active and do not participate in any kind of exercise as they "don't have the time".
While 72pc of adults claim to be "physically active" by participating in team sports, visiting gyms and walking, 27.5pc have admitted they don't do any physical activity, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.
The survey took in the physical regimens of several thousand Irish adults over the age of 15 in the second quarter of 2013.
Almost one-third of Irish women said they are not physically active, with 15pc revealing they don't do any exercise or walking.
Some 35pc blamed a "lack of time" as the main reason for their inactivity, almost one-fifth admitted that a "lack of motivation" prevented them from being physically active, while almost three in 10 said that "illness, injury or disability" was inhibiting them.
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Almost 60pc of adults said they are now walking for recreational purposes, with a high participation rate from all age categories, particularly amongst 25 to 64-year-olds. Just over 50pc of men said they are recreational walkers, while 64pc of women said they also try to walk regularly for recreational purposes.
And, more than one-third of adults said that recreational walking is their main source of exercise as they do not partake in any other activities.
Just under 14pc of men and women walk at least five times per week for between 30 minutes and one hour at a "fairly brisk, fast pace", while 12pc try to walk recreationally at least three or four times each week.
And, it seems that women are more conscious of the need to exercise, as 70pc said they do it on their own initiative, with more than one-quarter using the gym or participating in other aerobic activities. Swimming, cycling, athletics and golf were the other most popular physical activities.
Leading Irish obesity expert Dr Donal O'Shea said the level of reported physical activity is "really low".
He branded the "lack of time" excuse as "poor" and said people "simply must look at their week and find one hour out of the 24 hours in the day that they can be physically active".
"The sedentary lifestyle is now kind of established as the fourth leading preventable cause of death, and what we are seeing in this survey is just a staggering level of physical inactivity in our adult population at a time when we should know better," Dr O'Shea said last night.
He said people tend to "over report" the amount of physical exercise they participate in, so he fears the levels of inactivity may actually be higher than reported.