Squash Revealed as Britons’ Preferred Lunchtime Sport of Choice

New research from an online sports equipment retailer in the UK suggests that squash is the preferred sport of choice when it comes to lunchtime exercise, provided that the required facilities are readily available.

The study, conducted by Sweatband.com, polled 1,867 UK office workers aged between 18 and 65 as part of research into attitudes towards fitness and wellbeing during the working day.

Respondents were initially asked:

The study then asked those that said they did do physical activity, ‘What does this activity entail?’ and asked respondents to select from a list of possible options.

Respondents were allowed to select more than one option if they undertook more than one activity.

According to the results, the most common physical activities undertaken by working Britons during the working day were as follows:

1.       Walking – 54%
2.       Running – 37%
3.       Gym – 22%
4.       Variety of exercises (circuit) – 12%
5.       Playing squash – 10%

According to the results, ‘squash’ was the most popular form of sport played at lunchtime by workers across the UK; narrowly beating ‘playing football’ with 9% of the vote.

Those polled were then asked ‘How often do you undertake lunchtime activity during the working day?

According to the results, the majority, 22%, claimed to do so ‘twice a week’ on average; whilst just 18% admitted that they partook in lunchtime exercise on a daily basis.

The reasons for undertaking the activity were then looked at, in order to look at people’s motivation for exercising during their lunch breaks. Respondents were allowed to select from a list of potential factors motivating them to exercise during the working day, which revealed the following top 5 list of reasons. They were again allowed to select more than one option if more than one applied.

The most common factors motivating Britons to exercise during the working day, according to the results, were as follows:

1.       Fitness – 61%
2.       Weight loss – 55%
3.       General health – 44%
4.       To keep active – 42%
5.       Social interaction – 33%

As part of the survey, respondents were also asked who they undertook the activity with or whether they did so on their own.

The majority, 34%, claimed to exercise on their own during lunchtimes, whilst just over a fifth, 22%, claimed to exercise with colleagues. One in seven respondents, 14%, stated that they met ‘friends’ during their lunch break and exercised with them.

The study then asked those that didn’t undertake any lunchtime activity why this was the case, allowing them to select more than one answer. The top response from those polled, at 58%, was a ‘lack of time’; whilst 47% of respondents claimed to lack the necessary ‘shower facilities’. Just under a third, 32%, stated that they simply ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to do any lunchtime physical activity.

Finally, the study asked all respondents, ‘What sport/activity would you choose to do during lunchtime should the necessary equipment/facilities/playing partners be ready to hand?’ which revealed the following top five responses:

1.       Squash – 21%
2.       Gym – 18%
3.       Tennis – 17%
4.       Golf (driving range) – 9%
5.       Running – 8%

Those who selected squash as an option were asked why this was the case.

They cited its ‘professional image’, 31%, ‘relatively short playing time‘, 28%, and its level of ‘social interaction’ 22% as the main reasons why.

Maz Darvish, CEO of Sweatband.com, had the following to say:

“More and more of us are spending longer hours in the office, which means it’s increasingly hard to find the time to exercise before or after work. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a full hour for lunch though, there’s the potential for a solid period of healthy activity.”

He continued: “We’re big squash fans at Sweatband.com so it’s pleasing to see the level of interest amongst office workers. Games of squash are relatively short but provide a high intensity workout. They’re also a great way of interacting with colleagues, or even potentially with clients.

“It’s just a shame that some of us lack the required facilities close to hand to make it feasible. We would love to see wider participation in the sport and an increase in the level of available facilities is something that needs to be looked at.”