Study: Single People Are Much More Physically Active Than Married People

Study: Single People Are Much More Physically Active Than Married People
AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Haig Jacobs
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Single people are 70% more likely than married people to meet the World Health Organization's (WHO) physical activity recommendations, according to a survey of 4,460 people living in Poland.

The study is published in the journal PeerJ.

The WHO urges at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.

When adjusting for sex, age, and education, the gap was 40% – still a sizable difference.

Researchers Daniel Puciato and Michał Rozpara conducted the study in Wroclaw, Poland's fourth largest City, between 2014 and 2016. Adults aged 18 - 64 participated. They were given a questionnaire that ascertained their physical activity as well as a host of demographic factors, from income, to indebtedness, to job type.

Single people were much more likely to seek out activities like weightlifting, running, and recreational sports, and were more likely to walk or bike to work, compared to married people.

"One of the potential reasons for these findings among the respondents may be that single persons do not have to perform tasks related to family life, including childcare. Consequently, they often have more free time at their disposal than people in relationships of a similar socio-economic status," the researchers theorized.

The results are in line with prior research. A study on U.S. adults conducted in 2010 found that never married men and women were more likely to seek out strenuous physical activity while married men and women undertook lighter activities like gardening and yard work.

Puciato and Rozpara caution that their findings may only apply to an urban population in Poland, but do hint that married individuals may be more in need of public health interventions to promote exercise. Physical activity, is, after all, perhaps the best thing humans can do for their mental and physical health.

Source: Puciato D, Rozpara M. 2021. Physical activity and socio-economic status of single and married urban adults: a cross-sectional study. PeerJ 9:e12466 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12466 



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