Are smartphones making Aussies fit?

Jogging
Smartphones are increasingly being pushed as “fitness” devices, with inbuilt heart rate sensors and enough apps to make your pectorals burst. But are smartphone users actually any more fit for all of that?

Roy Morgan Research polled 4,736 Australians over the age of 14 who used smartphones relating to their fitness activities. There was a slight slant towards fitness activities for iPhone users, although, as I pointed out in the latest episode of Vertical Hold, I find the endless Android/iOS wars to be tiresome in the extreme, so that’s the last of those stats you’ll hear from me.

What I do find interesting are the proportions of smartphone users who are regular exercise takers. Smartphones are undeniably ubiquitous in Australia right now, but there’s a popular viewpoint that says that regular use technology equates to being horribly unfit, because all you do is stare at a screen all day.

The research suggests — because that’s all poll research can do, suggest, not state outright because it’s all extrapolation anyway — that 36.1 per cent of those surveyed (combined across iOS and Android users) regularly hit the gym, 27.3 per cent went jogging, 17.6 per cent went cycling, 9 per cent were Yoga fanatics, 6.6 per cent were into marathons and running and 7.1 per cent engaged in Aerobics. It’s not clear from the polling data presented whether participants were counted for multiple activities, or indeed the overall number of users on each platform.

There’s been a big push towards fitness applications for smartphones in recent times, with (predictably) battle lines drawn along operating system lines, as well as a few applications that work across a number of platforms such as Runkeeper. I’ve certainly been more aware of my own fitness levels — or lack thereof — through the use of fitness step bands, although some of that may just be simple geeky maths obsessiveness shining through as well.

Source: Roy Morgan

Image: Ernst Moeksis

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