When The Sun-Herald in 2019 reported that Cricket Australia inflated their sport participation numbers to appeal to sponsors, the public became more skeptical of such numbers across all sports.
Thankfully, for Year13’s latest Wellbeing Check 2021 report, we’ve asked young Australians themselves what sports and exercises they do and found which are actually the most popular.
The top three. At number one, the most underrated form of exercise: walking (83%). In second, good ol’ running, which almost half of them said ‘yes’ to (48%). And in third, 41% said they’re lifting weights.
Next up, bush walking at 24%. One whole quarter of Gen Zs. How’s that for Australian culture?
If rage-against-cyclists-people are still around, then they’re pissed off at almost a quarter of Gen Zs who cycle (23%). For those arguing that cycling is un-Australian – looking at these stats, pedalling is essentially as popular as hiking for young people.
Swimming Australia once said, “Swimming is an important part of our national identity and as a Nation surrounded by water, it is in our DNA.” How much has this narrative shaped us? Coming in sixth place, 19% of Gen Zs told us they swim.
The ancient mind-body connection practice from India made its way to The West, widely transforming into a more physical fitness offshoot: yoga, which 17% of Gen Zs told us they do.
The eighth most popular sport or exercise is dancing (14%), which we wonder how much of this is TikTok influenced.
At 13% is soccer, which is approximately twice more popular than Australian Rules Football, three times more than cricket, and six times more than Rugby Union as well as Rugby League.
Finally, at equal tenth place is basketball and – to which our international neighbours may be shocked to know – netball, at 11%.
Here are the rest.
11. Boxing 9%
12. Skateboarding 8%
13. Pilates 8%
14. Tennis 7%
15. Surfing 7%
16. Australian Rules Football 6%
17. Athletics 5%
18. Indoor rock climbing 5%
19. Martial arts 5%
20. Cricket 4%
21. Skiing 4%
22. Touch football 4%
23. CrossFit 3%
24. Canoeing/kayaking 3%
25. Golf 3%
26. Rowing 2%
27. Squash 2%
28. BMX 2%
29. Outdoor rock climbing 2%
30. Rugby Union 2%
31. Rugby League 2%
32. Snowboarding 2%