Regular exercise is an important aspect of physical activity for people living in urban areas. We examined prevalence of regular exercise in leisure times and some related factors in middle aged men and women in northern Iran.
A cross-sectional survey was undertaken on 1425 women and 676 men in 2 main cities in northern Iran. Information on exercise habits was collected using a self-administrated questionnaire. Regular exercise was defined as any kind of recreational or sport physical activity other than walking performed three or more days per week for at least 20 minutes. Questions on perceived barriers on regular exercise and walking habit were also included in the questionnaire.
Findings showed that 11.2% of the participants (9% in women and 12.8% in men P < .05) did exercise regularly. Prevalence of doing regular exercise was inversely related to age in women but not in men. Educated women were more likely to do regular exercise. The most common perceived barrier for regular exercise was time insufficiency.
Only a small proportion of the study men and women had sustainable regular exercise for 1 year. Regular exercise was more common among young and well educated women than older women and the men.