How much do Europeans exercise?


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While almost half (49.8%) of the population aged 18 or over in the European Union (EU) did not do any sport, almost a third (29.9%) spent at least two and a half hours per week of leisure time doing physical activities in 2014. This includes cycling as a form of transportation.  

The proportion of those exercising for at least two and a half hours per week is higher for men (34.5%) than for women (25.6%). While the proportion of time spent on exercise tends to decrease with age, it tends to increase with the education level of the individual. Overall in the EU, 40.5% of the highly-educated people spent at least two and a half hours per week on physical activities, compared to less than a quarter (19.2%) of those with a low education level.

Two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week is the minimum level of physical activity recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for adults aged 18 or over.


Nordic Member States have the highest share of people doing physical activities

In the EU, the highest proportions of people who spent at least two and a half hours per week exercising were found in Finland (54.1%), Denmark (53.4%) and Sweden (53.1%) followed by Austria (49.8%) and Germany (47.3%). At the opposite end of the scale, Romania (7.5%) and Bulgaria (9.0%) recorded the lowest shares.

Share of people spending time on physical activities, 2014 (%)                                        

For more information

Source dataset on health-enhancing (non-work-related) aerobic physical activity

Eurostat website section on health status and determinants