October 2, 2014

Swimming & Running - most popular sports in Ireland

The Irish Sports Council have just published figures for activity in Ireland:

I have asked them if this is across all age groups or just a defined adult portion of the population.

Obviously working in a #running store like +Amphibian King West - Galway I'm delighted to see Swimming and especially running up top as they are, but these figures also represent a massive swing in the Irish population to looking after themselves.

There is a certain attraction to 'solo' sports such as swimming and running. Naturally there is a social aspect to all sporting activity, club events for sure, but there is also a huge beneift to the individual.

Have you ever felt the solitude and peace of tapping out lap after lap of a swimming pool? The rhythm allows you to go to auto-pilot and the submersion clears the head.

The feeling of you, just you and the road when running is fantastic. Watching a sunrise through a misty forest is a spectacular, life affirming event.

After so many years of depression, doom and gloom through the recession, I for one am delighted to see so many people taking care of themselves.


The stats may not show clearly in the image copied from the Irish Sports Monitor 2103 Annual Report but Running has grown rapidly as the most popular individual activity.

Interesting to see at the start of the recession in 2008 & 2009 the number of participants remained static at 2.5 and experienced rapid growth in 2011 and 2013:
The increase in running is particularly interesting. It was the fifth most popular form of sporting activity in 2009 when its participation levels were half those for swimming or soccer and significantly behind those for golf. Since then it has become the third most popular form of activity, ahead of soccer and golf and with a much narrower gap to the most popular activities of personal exercise and swimming.

Another stand out stst from the #ISM2013 report is the level of participation in sport in Connaught. Nationally 'Running' represents 8.5% of overall activity, in Connaught it is 10.2%. The highest percentage of the population that is running lives in the West.
In addition to having higher levels of sporting participation at overall and individual sport levels, those living in Connacht are also more active across multiple sports. Figure 4.7 below indicates the proportion playing in more than one type of sport, with 21.3% of those living in Connacht indicating that they were involved in two or more sports within the past week. This compares to 18.6% of the population at a national level.
Sure no wonder they say "West is Best!!" :)

Personally, am I disappointed to see the low figures in GAA? 

Not really. It's a choice of team sports that I played as a youth and young man but never excelled at. There was rarely thinking time, we went through training like machines played for each other in matches. In one way it is very selfless (you play for your team-mates) and of course team building, working with others etc in a life-resource kind of way.

I think it is an indicator of the times we live in where the idea of just popping on a pair of runners and heading out for an hour is so convenient and such an easy way to 'clear your head' after a stressful day at work, minding kids, college, stuck in the house etc. 

Whatever your situation, your outlook can always be improved by a run!

For me exercise in general is about health, about your health and the only way to look after yourself is to look after number 1.

Take care of yourself & go for a run!! 

No comments: