Our Fitness Intentions

Following on from our health groups reports we explore the key exercises Irish people intend on pursuing in 2016. 


78% of Irish adults claim to have been walking regularly during 2015, with 15% intending to take up walking during 2016.

Those who walk regularly are typically health-conscious women with a third of them going for a brisk walk on a daily basis and over half of them considering themselves to be of a healthy weight. Those intending on taking up walking this year are more likely to be men, they are also more likely to be living in rural Connacht or Ulster than the rest of the population.

One in five of those taking up walking consider themselves ‘not very healthy’ while 4 in 10 don’t pay much attention to what they eat. Unsurprisingly, one in five of this group are smokers. Interestingly, over two thirds of this group are currently trying to lose weight - perhaps looking to take inspiration from the healthy women in their lives.

Research has shown that the benefits of walking for at least 30 minutes a day can help improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and enhance mental health, as well as maintaining body weight and lowering the risk of obesity so it is the perfect exercise to start with for this group! 

Full Report


Personal Trainers

167,400 of people claimed to have trained with a personal trainer regularly in 2015, with this doubling to over 300,000 when we include those planning to start this year.  Men are more likely to have been training with a personal trainer than women however, women are more likely to take it up in 2016. Those aged 25-34 are much more likely to train or consider training than those aged over 45.

Dublin is a personal training hotspot with almost half of those who have been training regularly and a third of those who are planning to take up training coming from there. It’s most definitely a city thing, with 9 in 10 coming from urban locations which is most likely an access issue. There is also an uplift in younger men being interested in this sort of training, perhaps reflecting increased interest in MMA and being inspired by Conor McGregor’s success.  

Interestingly, a third of those intending on taking up personal training sessions in 2016 are single.

Those who have trained with a personal trainer regularly in 2015 are more likely to be in full-time employment, over 90% consider themselves healthy or very healthy, and this group is also less likely to be smokers with only 1 in 10 smoking regularly.


1 in 4 people claim to have been running regularly in 2015, while a further 1 in 7 plan to get going this year.

Runners are more likely to be men aged 18-34. They are also more likely to be single or in a relationship but not living with their partners than the greater population. Runners tend to be well educated professionals working full time, this sport clearly fits in with their lifestyle.

One in four consider themselves very healthy, 8% more than the total population. Unsurprisingly, two thirds of those intending on taking up running this year are more likely to be trying to lose weight than the total population perhaps due to the well-known benefits of running and inspiring adverts like ‘Runners are Amazing’ from GloHealth. 



A third of Irish people claim to have always cycled, while a further 14% plan to take it up this year. Those planning on taking up a spot of cycling this year are 7% more likely to be aged between 18 and 44 than the population.

As before, cycling seems to be more of a man’s sport with 57% of those who have always been cycling being male. Surprisingly, our Middle-Aged-Men-In-Lycra don’t make an appearance here with 45+ year olds' being less likely to have been cycling regularly or to have plans to take it up this year.

Interestingly, those who are planning on taking up cycling this year are much more likely to be living with their partner and less likely to be single… a bicycle made for two perhaps?

Team Sports

Almost 1 in 5 (17%) have been involved in organised sport for some time while 6% intend on taking up some form of sport this year. This group are 22% more likely to be male, they are also 18% more likely to be aged between 18-44 than the population. Munster has the highest population of people having always played sport while Dublin is where the majority of those hoping to take up team sports lives.

Those who have always played team sports are more likely to be from rural areas than the general population perhaps due to the strength of organisations like the GAA. This group is also more likely to be single while those who are hoping to take up some sport this year are more likely to be married with children.

Unsurprisingly, this group considers themselves healthier than your average man with over a quarter classifying themselves as very healthy in comparison to 18% of the total population. 


1 in 7 Irish people have been practicing yoga for some time while 1 in 6 hope to try it out this year. Of all the physical activities we profiled, yogis are the only group who are much more likely to be female. These ladies are also more likely to be home keepers with young children.

Those taking up yoga this year are 13% more likely to be 18-24 and are predominantly from Dublin. This group are educated professionals and tend to be more urban than country dwellers who perhaps need an escape from their busy-day-to-day lives.

A third of those who have always practiced yoga also consider themselves to be ‘very healthy’, exercise daily and are much more conscious of their mental well-being than the rest of us with nearly two thirds also practicing relaxation techniques and meditation compared to 1 in 4 of the population.