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 13 50 50
5 May 2014

The enduring image of retirees spending their time playing lawn bowls and pottering in the garden has been dealt a blow by new research from Apia, the leading national insurer for over 50s.

According to Apia’s research older Australians are almost five times more likely to regularly attend a gym or fitness group than they are to play bowls.

David Skapinker, Apia spokesperson, commented: “People tend to think that the lifestyles of older Australians have not changed much since our grandparent’s generation, when tending the garden and heading down to the local lawn bowls were the main recreational past times, however this is simply not the case any more.

“Three quarters of our Over 50s say they regularly walk to keep physically active and 14% attend a gym or fitness group once a week or more, while just 3% play bowls.”

Apia’s research reveals that the top physical activities that Australians aged over 50 regularly undertake are:

Physical activities Aussies aged 50+ regularly undertake, once a week or more often


  1. Walking


  1. Swimming


  1. Attending a gym or fitness group


  1. Cycling


  1. Running or jogging


  1. Yoga or Pilates


  1. Playing golf


  1. Playing bowls


  1. Tennis or squash


Mr Skapinker said: “It’s not surprising that walking is so popular with older Aussies, given it is low impact, easy on the body, requires minimal equipment and can be done on your own or with friends at anytime of the day and at your own pace.”

Interestingly, those between 65 and 69 are the most likely to attend a gym or fitness group (18%), perhaps indicating more free time when they reach retirement age.

“As we get older it’s important to keep connected with people around you and fitness groups, cycling and walking meet-ups are a great way for people to stay active and socialise at the same time”, explained Mr Skapinker. 

“It is a new generation, the Boomers, approaching retirement and what our research is showing is a shift in preferred activities that they relate to – swimming, surfing, yoga, pilates,” he concluded.



Notes to editors:

About the research

Apia’s research is based on an independent internet survey conducted by Newspoll of 2,082 Australians aged 50 years and over in 2014. Data was collected in line with ISO 20252 – Market, Social and Opinion Research and has been weighted with current ABS population demographics to ensure any extrapolation of results is representative of age and gender on a regional, state and national basis.

For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Angela Wilkinson
Senior Communications Advisor, Apia

T: 03 8681 9583
M: 0477 395 119
E: media@apia.com.au

Apia is a specialist insurance provider for people aged over 50. Providing a wide range of home and contents, car, caravan, motor home, boat and life insurance solutions tailored to the over 50s life stage, Apia has a network of 28 branches across Australia serving almost 700,000 policy holders. For more information on Apia visit www.apia.com.au