Worrying signs as young people are getting less active

Ronan O'Gara

Chai Brady

People are taking less exercise and becoming more lazy, a new new study has shown.

Young people in particular are becoming less active.

On average, people aged 25 to 34 did only 96 minutes of exercise a week last year compared with 125 minutes in 2014 - a drop of 29 minutes.

People aged 35 to 44 are close behind, taking 23 minutes less exercise a week.

Adults aged 45 to 55 were the only group to increase the amount they exercise in the same period.

This comes despite high participation rates for sports such as GAA, rugby and football.

Rugby star Ronan O'Gara commended Irish rugby teams and said community participation in sports is very important.

"I really believe in the importance of local and provincial participation," he said.


"Since I've been coaching Racing 92, I've been able to compare and have gained invaluable insights into European club rugby.

"Where rugby clubs in Ireland are the centre of a community, that's not the case in Paris.

"Something else you can't put a finger on is the trust factor. There's massive trust in Irish squads because many of them share the same dressing room and go into the battle with the same comrades. In France, the turnover every year is much higher."

Of the people who are part of a sports club in Ireland, 13pc were actively involved in a rugby club. The largest portion, 39pc, are tied to GAA clubs.

The report showed that 2.6 million Irish people take part in sport or exercise and adults spends just over two hours a week on average being active.

The most popular type of exercise is walking, and is the activity of choice for women over 55. Altogether, 1.4 million Irish people said they go walking on a regular basis.

Swimming and running are the second most popular sports, particularly among women, with 600,000 regular participants.

More men that women go cycling, with a total of 400,000 adults actively engaged in the sport.

The survey found that the sports people are most interested in are soccer, rugby, gaelic football, swimming and hurling.

However, Matt Shields, the country manager of Parkrun Ireland, said it has seen "a massive influx" of people joining its runs.

"The increased focus on both the physical and mental benefits, as well as the low cost, are positive changes that encourage participation," he said.

Many parents expressed concern about the inactivity of their children, with most blaming video games, TV and digital devices.

The report also found that Irish people were watching less live sport on TV.

The research was conducted by market researcher Amarach and is called The Philip Lee Sport Report.