Participation trends in holistic movement practices: A 10-year comparison of yoga/Pilates and t'ai chi/qigong use among a national sample of 195,926 Australians

Vergeer, Ineke ORCID: 0000-0002-6560-9023, Bennie, Jason ORCID: 0000-0002-8668-8998, Charity, Melanie, Harvey, John ORCID: 0000-0001-6927-6580, van Uffelen, Jannique, Biddle, Stuart ORCID: 0000-0002-7663-6895 and Eime, Rochelle ORCID: 0000-0002-8614-2813 (2017) Participation trends in holistic movement practices: A 10-year comparison of yoga/Pilates and t'ai chi/qigong use among a national sample of 195,926 Australians. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17 (1). ISSN 1472-6882


© 2017 The Author(s). Background: In recent decades, the evidence supporting the physical and mental health benefits of holistic movement practices such as yoga and t'ai chi have become increasingly established. Consequently, investigating the participation prevalence and patterns of these practices is a relevant pursuit in the public health field. Few studies have provided population-level assessment of participation rates, however, and even fewer have focused on patterns over time. The purpose of this study was to examine participation prevalence and trends in yoga/Pilates and t'ai chi/qigong over a ten-year period in a nationally representative sample of Australians aged 15 years and over, with particular attention to sex and age. A secondary purpose was to juxtapose these findings with participation trends in traditional fitness activities over the same period. Methods: Data comprised modes and types of physical activity, age, and sex variables collected through the Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS), a series of independent cross-sectional Australia-wide surveys conducted yearly between 2001 and 2010. For each year, weighted population estimates were calculated for those participating in yoga/Pilates, t'ai chi/qigong, and fitness activities (e.g. aerobics, calisthenics). Linear regression and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to examine trends in prevalence rates over time and differences among sex and age (15-34; 35-54; 55+ years) groups, respectively. Results: Average prevalence rates between 2001 and 2010 were 3.0% (95% CI 2.9-3.1) for yoga/Pilates, 0.6% (95% CI 0.5-0.6) for t'ai chi/qigong, and 19.2% (95% CI 18.9-19.4) for fitness activities. Across the decade, overall participation rates remained relatively stable for yoga/Pilates and t'ai chi/qigong, while increasing linearly for fitness activities. For both genders and in all three age groups, participation in fitness activities increased, whereas only in the 55+ age group was there a significant increase in yoga/Pilates participation; participation in t'ai chi/qigong declined significantly in the two younger age groups. Conclusions: Participation rates in yoga/Pilates and t'ai chi/qigong in Australia were low and relatively stable. As fitness activities increased in popularity across the decade, holistic movement practices did not. These findings point to the need to investigate activity-specific barriers and facilitators to participation, including intrapersonal, interpersonal, organisational, and environmental factors.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1186/s12906-017-1800-6
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords public health; physical health; mental health; physical activity; fitness
Citations in Scopus 33 - View on Scopus
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