What are the sports most practiced by the French?

The sedentary French? Not really according to a study of theInsee published this Tuesday. According to this, in 2020, just before the crisis of the Covid-19, 65% of French people aged 15 or over could even be qualified as sportsmen, because they had practiced at least 52 sessions of physical and sports activities during the year. And 54% of French people could even boast of having frequent physical or sporting activity (twice a week or more) and 11% on a weekly basis.

A good level of practice of the French which has several explanations. “First of all, independent practice requiring little equipment and which can be exercised outside a club has developed a lot in recent years”, according to Augustin Vicard, director of the National Institute for Youth and popular education (Injep). A trend also observed by Thierry Michot, teacher-researcher in sociology and sports management at the University of Brest: “The club is rigor. However, more and more people no longer want rules imposed on them and find it more difficult to accept the regularity of training. In addition, social networks have favored the development of the independent practice of sport”. The tendency to practice sport regularly is also due to another factor: “The increase in life expectancy in good health allows more seniors to continue to practice a sporting activity”, emphasizes Augustin Vicard.

“Displacement activities are on the rise”

Some sports are particularly popular with the French. In the first position, we find the gymnasticdance or fitness (bodybuilding, cardiotraining and yoga), practiced by 34% of people aged 15 or over who play sports regularly. “Their success is explained by the growing search among French people for daily well-being,” comments Thierry Michot. Then come walking, running or athletics (which concern 25% of regular athletes) and cycling (18%). “For the past few years, travel activities have been on the rise. Because they allow you to have regular physical activity without it taking too long. The development of self-service bicycles has also played a major role,” emphasizes Thierry Michot.

Further down the ranking are racket or target sports (petanque, table tennis, badminton), aquatic and nautical activities and team sports. And if the soccer represents the first sports federation in number of members, it is regularly practiced by only 6% of men, but only 1% of women. “About 2 million people play football in clubs, which is not nothing. But if 10% of college students are registered in a club, their practice decreases with age, either for a question of available time, or because young people want to discover other sports, ”observes Thierry Michot. “Some sports are practiced on a more occasional basis, especially during the holidays, such as Table tennisaquatic activities, horseback riding, ski », adds Augustin Vicard.

Women exercise less regularly

Still, not all French people are equal when it comes to regular sports practice. INSEE notes in particular that it is more common in men (71%) than in women (60%). Regular practice notably decreases sharply among women between the ages of 25 and 35 and increases again between the ages of 35 and 45. “The presence of young children in the home could explain this decrease, which is not observed in men”, indicates Augustin Vicard. “The gendered distribution of tasks is still very present in our society”, also underlines Thierry Michot, “Furthermore, we know that more women have part-time jobs and have fragmented schedules that do not favor sports practice. »

There is also a social differentiation of sports practices. According to INSEE, the proportion of people belonging to privileged social categories is higher among those who exercise at least once a week (20%) than among vacation sportsmen (13%). Similarly, higher education graduates are over-represented among regular practitioners, while those with few or no qualifications are over-represented among vacation sportsmen… little material. And supervised activities are not accessible to everyone,” says Thierry Michot. “Family transmission also plays an important role: more frequent practitioners more often have one or more sports parents”, adds Augustin Vicard. Particularly inspiring data for the new Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who has made the accessibility of sport to all one of her priorities.

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What are the sports most practiced by the French?

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