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The French are convinced of the importance of daily physical activity

[May 2024] On the occasion of the publication by BPCE L'Observatoire of the 3rd edition of the insurance barometer survey devoted to lifestyle changes, BPCE Assurances focused its attention on the changing relationship between the French and physical activity. In this special year dedicated to sport, the barometer survey reveals that the French want to engage in more physical activity, notably for their health and personal well-being.

How important is physical activity in French people’s lives?

The good news is that four out of ten French people say they engage in some form of physical activity (walking, sport, etc.) at least once a week, and almost two out of ten say they do so every day. In contrast, however, almost one in three French people say they never, or almost never, take part in any physical activities. While 24% of the French say they are more active than before, a third (33%) say they are less so, chiefly owing to lack of time (31%) and a lack of motivation (20%). Young people are particularly affected, considering that 43% of 18-24 year-olds exercise less than before.

A practice driven primarily by the desire to remain in good health

At a time when 57% of French people say they are increasingly concerned about their health (+4 percentage points compared with 2024, and +5 points since 2022), physical activity and sport seem to be guided more by a desire to protect oneself against ill health than by the pursuit of pleasure or meeting a personal challenge. 70% of French people say they take part in sport to preserve their physical health, 46% to maintain their bodies and their physical appearance, and 45% to protect their mental health.

A desire to be more physically active

To combat sedentary lifestyles, a large number of initiatives have been launched over the past few years to encourage the French – and notably young people – to be more physically active. This need is confirmed by 40% of the people included in the survey who feel that they spend too much time immobile owing, in particular, to the hours spent at work, at home and travelling by car. This perception varies significantly according to the individual’s socio-professional category: 60% of executives share this opinion, compared with only 35% of white-collar and blue-collar workers. This disparity is also found between the generations: 49% of 18-24 year-olds say they feel they are too sedentary compared with 33% of people aged 65 or over. Half of those surveyed would like to engage in more physical activity in the future, revealing a desire for change and an aspiration to adopt a more dynamic, healthier lifestyle.

A few figures…
  • 50% want to exercise more in the future
    50% want to exercise more in the future
  • 48% feel that sport is not valued enough in society
    48% feel that sport is not valued enough in society
  • 19% say they are physically active every day
  • 33% say they are less physically active than before
    33% say they are less physically active than before
For further details

For further details

Baromètre BPCE Assurances – Mars 2024 (in French only)


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