The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Millennials are not actually the most physically active age group in the UK

Young fitness fanatics have been outperformed by the over 65s

Sarah Young
Tuesday 26 February 2019 16:45 GMT

From spinning to HIIT class and yogalates, fitness is an important part of millennials’ lives.

But, while they might be willing to spend money on expensive memberships and share their #fitnessgoals on social media, it turns out that they’re not actually the most active age group in the UK.

According to new research, it's the over 65s that hold that title.

A survey of more than 7,600 UK adults has found that 44 per cent of over 65s take part in sports eight times or more in an average month.

The next most active age group was 55 to 64-year-olds, while just 29 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds said they exercise for the same amount of time.

The study also revealed the types of sports over 65s prefer to engage in, with swimming taking the top spot at 38 per cent.

This was followed by regular trips to the gym which came in at second place with 29 per cent of the votes.

Three out of the top five types of exercise over 65s take part in were also outdoor based, including cycling (21 per cent), hiking or trekking (19 per cent) and camping (11 per cent).

Other activities that made it into the top 10 were yoga or pilates (10 per cent), tennis (nine per cent), fishing (nine per cent), running (six per cent) and horse riding (three per cent).

The results were published by Decathlon in the Decathlon Activity Index 2019, which tracks rates of participation in sport and other physical activities across the year.

“The research shows just how engaged this age group is with exercise and the sheer number of times they participate in exercise over a month speaks volumes about their desire to have a healthy, balanced lifestyle during retirement,” says Nicola Barnabo, fitness sports manager at Decathlon.

Barnabo speculates that this could be down to over 65s today being more aware of the health benefits of exercise and called the number of people participating in outdoor exercise “encouraging”.

The news comes despite a separate study finding that almost half of Brits over the age of 55 don’t believe exercise is an important part of lifestyle.

The research, conducted by Nuffield Health, found that 48 per cent of participants didn’t feel as though exercise was important, while just 52 per cent believed working out to be essential for ensuring good bone density as you get older.

In addition, the study revealed that one in 10 Brits over the age of 55 said the reason they didn’t attend the gym more regularly, if at all, was out of fear of injury.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in