Shopping beats outdoor trips for top family activity

Shopping together is the most popular family activity, with outdoors excursion taking a back seat, it has emerged.

More than half (59%) of families consider shopping to be their number one family activity — more popular than going on a hike or walk (56%) and visits to the park (54%).

All in all, the survey by Aviva found that just 41% of families spend less than one hour a week being active together.

While more than half of adults (54%) exercise between three and five times a week on their own, almost a third (32%) of adults with children never take part in any physical activities with their family.

Despite the findings, most families rated themselves highly for fitness.

When asked to estimate what overall grade they though their family would achieve in a fitness test, most (79%) awarded themselves A, B, or C grades. Just 15% gave their families an E or F grade

The survey, undertaken to mark the health insurer’s sponsorship of Ireland’s Fittest Family on RTÉ One, also asked about familes’ participation in medium- to high-impact exercise that improves cardiovascular health.

Swimming emerged as the most popular sport, with 37% saying they engaged in swimming and other water sports. One in four families went cycling while 17% played Gaelic games and 15% played football. For 14%, it was running and jogging and 9% went to the gym.

Aviva Health medical director Ian Callanan said previous research showed that children whose parents were physically active were more likely to be active themselves. “So parents play a critical role in shaping a child’s interest and involvement in physical activity,” he said.

  • Ireland’s Fittest Family is on RTÉ One at 6.30pm on Sunday.


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