According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data, almost three out of four Canberra residents participate in sport or some sort of physical activity – the highest rate out of anywhere in Australia.
It is pretty easy to see that Canberra is an active city. Everyone I know plays some sort of sport or regularly goes to the gym. There are always fitness enthusiasts running or cycling around Lake Burley Griffin, people in their gym gear transiting through Civic, and Mt Ainslie is always teeming with people after work. I’ve met quite a few people who do mountain biking, or enjoy hiking, and team sports seem popular and there’s a good variety throughout the capital.
When I first moved to Canberra, I’d only been to a gym a handful of times. But when I noticed that everyone around me was really into getting fit, I was motivated me to get out there and improve my fitness.
The first MeetUp I went to was a fitness bootcamp (which is still held every Saturday morning near Questacon), and I even started jogging – something I hadn’t done since I was at high school. My aim was to run 10km in under an hour. Trying to run 10km was something I never would have thought of doing until I moved to Canberra. I reached my goal of running 10km in under an hour simply by pushing myself to run further and further around Lake Burley Griffin each day with the 5km bridge to bridge lap proving perfect for my training.
Unfortunately I injured myself shortly after I reached my goal but this lead me to discover the benefits of weights and I joined a gym. I’m happy to report I’m still going to this gym to this day!
I do wonder why Canberra is Australia’s fittest city. In general I’d say we have a lot of sunny days (although this summer has been a bit disappointing) so it encourages you to get outside even if it’s a bit fresh.
It’s also a great way to socialise and meet people if you’re new to town which a lot of people are. Team sports would be one highly effective way to meet like-minded people.
I guess the high rate of participation may also be attributed to the fact that we have a lot of highly educated people in Canberra on good wages who can afford gym memberships or take part in other activities which tend to be on the expensive side such as yoga, pilates, boxing and personal training sessions. I constantly see my email filled with offers for activities that aren’t your traditional fitness activities such as pole dancing classes, barre and aerial yoga.
Other cities such as Brisbane and Sydney have better weather than us in terms of a more level temperature and not so much the extremes that Canberra experiences, and I would imagine a greater choice in fitness offerings,so it does surprise me a little that Canberra outranks them to be Australia’s fittest city.
It’s good to see most of the fitness trends have made their way out to Canberra. I’m curious how many people have moved from other cities to Canberra to start up a business at one of the newer fitness activities to fill a niche – or to be an instructor. It raises the question if Canberra has become a good place to start up these types of businesses due to less competition?
What is your fitness activity of choice?