Toronto, ON – As Canadians prepare to ring in the New Year, many are aiming to make improvements to their personal health and wellness, according to a new Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of GoodLife Fitness. Presented with seven potential New Year’s resolutions, one in three Canadians (33%) say they would choose improving their personal fitness and nutrition as their top pick, which could mean investing more time exercising, losing weight or increasing muscle tone.
Personal fitness and nutrition was followed by two in ten (21%) people saying they would start 2017 by focusing on financial goals (paying down debt, spending less, saving more, etc.). A further 13% of Canadians would choose to dedicate more time to travel and leisure, one in ten (11%) would prioritize quitting bad habits like smoking or drinking, and 10% would spend more time with family and friends. Others would want to use 2017 as a time to expand their horizons, with 6% opting for learning new things like a new language or musical instrument.
Women (38%) are significantly more likely than men (28%) to choose improving personal fitness and nutrition as their top resolution. While differences by age are less significant, older Canadians appear somewhat more likely than younger ones to prioritize personal fitness and nutrition: 36% of those aged 55 and over would make it their top New Year’s resolution, compared to 33% of those aged 35-54 and 30% of Millennials aged 18-34. Conversely, Millennials (27%) are more likely to want to focus on financial goals as their top resolution for 2017, compared to 24% of Gen X’ers and just 13% of Baby Boomers.
Pursuing a health and wellness resolution can be a daunting choice, with some fundamental changes in how we approach day-to-day life. That said, Canadians draw motivation from a variety of sources to reach their health and fitness goals.
More than half (53%) of Canadians say that improving their overall quality of life would be a top motivator in pursuing a health and wellness resolution. Other top motivators include:
- Preventing health risks (45%);
- Losing weight (42%);
- Having more energy (41%);
- Investing in their future health (38%);
- Coping with stress (28%);
- Improving their self-confidence (27%);
- Improving day-to-day mood (26%); and
- Doing it for loved ones (17%).
Only 6% of Canadians say that none of these reasons would motivate them to pursue a health and wellness resolution in 2017.
The survey has found that men and women are motivated by different things when it comes to improving their health and wellness. For instance, women tend to find more motivation than men in the following reasons:
- Losing weight (49% vs. 35% of men);
- Preventing health risks (49% vs. 41% of men);
- Investing in future health (42% vs. 34% of men);
- Coping with stress (35% vs. 21% of men); and
- Improving self-confidence (31% vs. 22% of men).
While few significant differences were noted by region, Albertans (48%) are the most likely to find motivation from investing in their future health, ahead of residents of BC (45%), the Atlantic provinces (40%), Ontario (37%), Quebec (34%), and the Prairies (31%).
Meanwhile, men (21%) are significantly more likely than women (12%) to say that pursuing a health and wellness resolution for their loved ones would motivate them to see it through.
Generationally, Millennials and Baby Boomers are furthest apart in terms of what motivates them:
- 40% of Millennials say improving their self-confidence would motivate them to pursue a health a wellness resolution, compared to 27% of Gen X’ers and 16% of Baby Boomers;
- 39% of Millennials would be motivated by the improvement in their day-to-day mood, compared to 25% of Gen X’ers and 18% of Baby Boomers;
- 24% of Millennials would be motivated by doing it for loved ones, compared to 15% of Gen X’ers and 12% of Baby Boomers;
- Meanwhile, 57% of Baby Boomers would be motivated by the improvement to their overall quality of life, compared to 55% of Gen X’ers and 47% of Millennials; and
- Half (54%) of Baby Boomers say that preventing health risks would motivate them to pursue a health and wellness resolution, compared to 43% of Gen X’ers and 36% of Millennials.
Making that New Year’s resolution stick is always the hardest part, so mapping out a plan of action can be helpful. To achieve a health and wellness resolution, many Canadians say they’re willing to make lifestyle changes: nearly half (45%) say they would plan to change their eating habits by developing a healthy meal plan, while one in three (34%) say they’d set a weight loss goal for themselves. One in ten (12%) would consult a nutritionist or dietician.
Other Canadians are looking to become more active: four in ten (41%) would spend more time outdoors, while one in four (24%) say they’d find a friend to be active with. Gym memberships are an important part of staying active, with nearly two in ten (18%) Canadians saying they’d purchase one to help them achieve a health and wellness resolution. Meanwhile, 14% are thinking of taking up a sport, and one in ten (8%) would hire a personal trainer.
Another action path to achieving a health and wellness resolution is focusing on personal wellness: two in ten Canadians (22%) say their first plan of action would be to adjust their work-life balance, while 19% would consult with health professionals (doctors, naturopaths, etc.) to help them achieve their resolution. More than one in ten (13%) would begin attending physical therapy, including registered massage therapy and sports therapy.
Once again, men and women tend to have different actions in mind when it comes to achieving their health and wellness resolutions. Women are significantly more likely to favour the following:
- Developing a healthy meal plan (54% vs. 37% of men);
- Setting a weight loss goal (41% vs. 26% of men);
- Finding a friend to be active with (27% vs. 21% of men);
- Consult a nutritionist or dietician (15% vs. 9% of men).
Millennials are more likely to take the following actions in order to achieve their New Year’s fitness and health goals:
- 35% of Millennials would adjust work-life balance, compared to 23% of Gen X’ers and 11% of Baby Boomers;
- 36% would find a friend to be active with, compared to 22% of Gen X’ers and 17% of Baby Boomers;
- 24% would purchase a gym membership, compared to 19% of Gen X’ers and 13% of Baby Boomers;
- 23% would take up a sport, compared to 16% of Gen X’ers and 6% of Baby Boomers;
- 18% would consult a nutritionist or dietician in the new year, compared to 11% of Gen X’ers and 9% of Baby Boomers;
- 14% would hire a personal trainer, compared to 8% of Gen X’ers and 5% of Baby Boomers.
Regionally speaking, Albertans (60%) are the most likely to favour developing a healthy meal plan to help achieve their resolutions (Quebecers and Maritimers are the least likely at 41% each), and Ontarians (18%) are the most likely to favour attending physical therapy.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between December 15 and December 19, 2016, on behalf of GoodLife Fitness. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs
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