About eighty percent of Greeks do not routinely exercise or play any kind of sport, and fifty-three percent admit to not even participating in physical activity such as cycling, dance classes, or gardening, according to a recent Eurobarometer poll.
In comparison to other Europeans, sixty-eight percent of Greeks claimed they never exercised, compared to forty-five percent for the typical European while nine percent claimed they exercised infrequently compared to seventeen percent of EU nationals.
Only the Portuguese, who reported never exercising at a rate of seventy-three percent are worse off than the Greeks.
Greeks also rank second to last in terms of light to moderate physical activity, with fifty-three percent saying they never cycle, dance, or garden among other activities, and sixteen percent saying they only do so occasionally. In these two areas, the EU averages are thirty-one percent and nineteen percent, respectively.
Greeks cut down on exercise, and sports during the pandemic
In addition, the Eurobarometer study discovered that, in contrast to common opinion, the epidemic did not inspire individuals to take action but instead led thirty-five percent of Greeks who were previously active to cut back on their exercise and fourteen percent to stop altogether.
The survey of 1,014 Greeks aged fifteen and older revealed some startling findings, including the fact that eighteen percent of them spend more than eight and a half hours per day sitting down. Thirty-seven percent do so for five and a half to eight and a half hours, and thirty-nine percent do so for two and a half to five and a half hours.
In contrast to the EU average of sixty-one percent, only fifty-four percent of respondents claimed to have gone for four or more ten-minute walks in the week prior to the study. Furthermore, sixteen percent of respondents indicated they did not feel the desire or need to walk.
Citizens of Nordic countries top Europeans in exercise and sports
Nearly four in ten Europeans say they exercise or play sports with at least some regularity. More than four in ten respondents (forty-five percent, -1 percentage point since 2017) report that they never exercise or play sports.
In addition, nearly one in five (seventeen percent, +3) say they seldom exercise or play sports. On the other hand, close to a third of respondents (thirty-two percent, -1) do so with some regularity, and less than one in ten (six percent, -1) regularly.
A national analysis shows that respondents in Finland (seventy-one percent), Luxembourg (sixty-three percent), the Netherlands (sixty percent), and Denmark and Sweden (fifty-nine percent in both countries) are the most likely to exercise or play sports.
Respondents in Nordic countries are therefore also the least likely to never exercise or play sports: Finland (eight percent), Sweden (twelve percent) and Denmark (twenty percent).
On the other end of the scale, ‘never’ is the most common answer in fifteen EU member states. Over half of respondents in eight countries say they never exercise or play sports.
Since 2017, the proportion of respondents who exercise or play sports regularly has increased in fourteen EU Member States. It has decreased in eleven countries, the Eurobarometer survey says.