Researchers have noted the necessity of physical exercise in the population to mitigate against certain preventable diseases and have attempted to analyze the rates of adherence to physical activity. Van Der Horst, Paw, Twisk and Mechelen (2007) found a positive relation between gender and physical activity where males are involved more than females. Gender is therefore one of the most common assessed variables when examining comparative levels of participation in physical activity and it, along with age, have been shown as the two most significant correlates with physical activity.
The more common variables associated with physical activity are therefore gender, age, race, education and income, body mass index, geography and season. What has been shown over and over in the literature is that men and women adhere to physical activity requirements to varying degrees. Hawkins et al. (2004) finds that females met the minimum requirements for moderate or physical activity to a lesser extent than males (Hawkins et al. , 2004). Lee (2005) reveals that women and men participate differentially in physical activity, particularly walking.
Lee (2005) found that women were involved in less LTPA than males and men were involved in more varied types of physical activity. Males reported 1. 9 different types of LTPA they were involved in whereas females indicated only 1. 5. The duration of exercise between males and females was also different. 20% of men compared to 5% of women walked for more than thirty minutes each day. Additionally men used up a lot more kilocalories per day in lifestyle physical activity, expending twice as much as females. Men also used up approximately 50% more energy in LTPA than women (Lee, 2005).
Among the physically inactive population within the United States 30. 9% are women while close behind 27. 2% are men. Similarly in Australia the female is portrayed as sedentary as a result of their failure to adhere to nationally prescribed requirements for physical activity (Fullagar, 2003). Empirical evidence supports this position. Comparing the amount and duration of LTPA between men and women in New South Wales 40% of females, as opposed to 58% of men reported that they were involved in adequate levels of exercise.
Further 40% females reported that they expended limited amounts of energy during these activities suggesting they were only involved in moderate physical exercise. Overall an estimated 20% of the survey population was classed as sedentary. The corresponding figures for males are 26% with limited energy expenditure and 16% sedentary (Bauman, 1997 as cited in Fullagar, 2003). Evidently the gender differences do exist but they are not very pronounced. The rate of difference is minor in most cases.
Pratt et al (1999) further add that the levels of vigorous, moderate and total recommended LTPA are very similar across gender. Traditional comparisons have tended to show a wider gap between males and females but the turnaround in the trend may be attributable to the increasing participation of women in LTPA within the last few decades (Pratt et al. , 1999). However many women are still categorized as inactive suggesting that their lives are completely devoid of physical activity and that they are not taking advantage of existing opportunities (Henderson, 1998).