The survey, carried out by Statistics Sweden for Riksidrottsförbundet (The National Sports Association), asked 5,000 people between 7 and 70 about their exercise habits. 46 percent of those who answered said they exercised for more than 20 minutes at least twice a week, with only 16 percent answering that they rarely or never exercised.
The results would appear to confirm that Swedes take more exercise than people in some other developed countries. For example, the 2008 US National Health Interview Survey showed that only 33 percent of Americans exercised regularly, while 36 percent took no exercise at all.
“It’s encouraging that the Swedish people think that it’s fun and important to get fit. Both the individual and society benefit from physical activity,” said Karin Mattsson Weijber, chairwoman of Riksidrottsförbundet.
Both sexes and all age groups were exercising more than in the past, although the rise was most pronounced among older people and women. Women were generally more physically active than men, except in the 15-19 age group, in which more women than men had quit organized sporting activities without taking up other forms of exercise to compensate.
Asked why they exercised, the most popular reasons given were ‘because it is fun’ and ‘to keep fit’.