Three-in-10 Canadians don’t exercise enough: poll

A new survey suggests that almost three-in-10 Canadians are “completely shunning” exercise.

According to the survey conducted by Research Co., the results of which were released last month, half of Canadians say they met the recommended exercise guidelines every week or most weeks over the past three months. 

The recommended amount of exercise as outlined by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines is at least 150 minutes per week, or 2.5 hours. Federal health officials say its best to focus on “moderate to vigorous aerobic activity” in sessions of 10 minutes or longer. 

The survey results suggested the pandemic had a negative impact on the amount of physical activity Canadians are getting each week.

For example, during the pandemic 48 per cent of Canadians were exercising for at least 150 minutes every week or most weeks. Before the pandemic, 55 per cent of Canadians were getting enough exercise.

“Prior to the pandemic, only 23 per cent of Canadians—and 34 per cent of those aged 55 and over—never met the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines,” Research Co. president Mario Canseco said in the news release. “In the past three months, the proportion has risen to 28 per cent across the country and to 39 per cent among the oldest adults.”

Despite the negative impacts of the pandemic on many in Canada, 20 per cent of respondents said their personal situation in terms of exercise and fitness is actually better now than before the pandemic, but more, one-in-five, said it had gotten worse.

However, the survey shows that the majority (54 per cent) of Canadians stated that their personal situation when it comes to exercise and fitness has not changed at all.

Research Co.’s survey suggested 28 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 reported an improvement in their fitness after the pandemic, while 18 per cent of those aged 35 to 54, and 15 per cent aged 55 and over, said the same.

As for how Canadians are getting their workouts in, especially when gyms were closed, the Research Co. survey shows that about three-in-10 (29 per cent) said they followed workouts online during the COVID-19 pandemic and 18 per cent bought weightlifting equipment for their home.

Some Canadians (17 per cent) said they choose to run or jog to fulfill their exercise needs, while 16 per cent acquired a cardio machine for their home.

More than half of respondents (53 per cent) said they undertook some kind of action during the pandemic to maintain their fitness.


Results are based on an online study conducted from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18 among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.


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