MUSCAT: A latest survey has shown that a majority of Omanis are aware of the health benefits of exercise and also go the extra mile to get some physical activity. Time constraints were the main reason for not exercising among ‘inactive’ Omanis. But there is a strong intention to take up some form of physical activity among them.

The survey by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) on the nature and scope of physical activities among Omanis shows that 80 per cent devote an average of 52 minutes daily for the same.

As many as 80 per cent of Omanis practised some kind of sport or physical activity, and 90 per cent of them pursued physical activities in the same wilayats they live in. Walking, followed by football was the most preferred form of exercise for the respondents who were polled between March 8 and 12 this year for three months prior to the survey period.

A whopping 97 per cent of the people surveyed opined that physical activity is either very important or somewhat important for a healthy life, indicating a high level of awareness. A good 90 per cent of respondents felt that physical activity was important for both men and women.

But despite this feeling, statistics revealed a gender gap – 89 per cent of men undertook some sort of physical activity, against 79 per cent women.

Fitness, good health and a good physique were given as the main reasons why people exercised. On the other hand, those who did not undertake any kind of physical activity during the three-month period attributed it to lack of time due to tight work and study schedules, family commitments and health issues.

Interestingly, while eight out of every ten persons who play sports rated their health status as very good or good, six out of ten who do not undertake any sports too judged their health status as very good or good. Further, nine out of ten persons who practice sports felt highly satisfied or satisfied about their life in general.

The good news is that 75 per cent of those who do not indulge in sports or any exercise intend to do so. Walking topped the list of physical activities with about 77.1 per cent Omanis pursuing the same. Football came in at second with 19.37 per cent or 264,578 people playing it.

Those who jog or run daily numbered 225,568 (16.51 per cent of the Omani population); while those undertaking general exercises stood at 79,445 (5.82 per cent). Swimming is a routine exercise for 57,033 people (4.17 per cent of the population).

Those in the 18-29 years age bracket exercised the most (87 per cent), closely followed by those aged 30–49 years age group (86 per cent). There was a significant decline of 75 per cent among those aged 50 years and above who exercised.

Governorate-wise, Buraimi has the maximum number of people who are involved in some physical activity (90 per cent), followed by Musandam and South Sharqiyah (89 per cent).

In North Sharqiyah and South Batinah 88 per cent of the Omani population exercises or undertakes some physical activity regularly. In Dakhliyah, the percentage is 85, while it’s 83 per cent in Muscat, North Batinah and Dhahirah. The figure stands at 77 per cent in Al Wusta and 76 per cent in Dhofar.

As per the survey, the average annual cost of undertaking physical activities stands at RO98.6.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily