Asics study reveals why over 50% of women are quitting exercise

Asicsstudy on the gender exercise gap, the largest ever of its kind, found that over half of women (54.5%) in the UK were dropping out of or stopping exercise completely, due to barriers like not having enough time (80%), low self-confidence (55%), the cost of gyms (65%), and not feeling sporty enough (58%).

Released today, the report was led by Dr Dee Dlugonski, Assistant Professor at Sports Medicine Research Institute, University of Kentucky; and Associate Professor Brendon Stubbs of King’s College London.

It revealed the positive link between women’s exercise levels and their mental health, with women saying they were 67% less stressed, 52% happier, 50% more energised, 48% more confident and 80% less frustrated when exercising regularly.

asics gender exercise gap report

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Over half of women (54.5%) in the UK were dropping out of or stopping exercise completely

However, currently, 56% are unhappy with their exercise levels, putting UK women 22nd out of 26 surveyed countries in terms of satisfaction.

Unsurprisingly, men’s perceptions of the obstacles women faced were different to the reality. 58% of men thought body insecurities were the leading issue, and only 34% thought time pressures were a challenge, despite it being women’s top reason. In the top five barriers perceived by men, only one (cost) actually was listed in the challenges reported by women.

‘80% of women said they didn’t exercise due to lack of time’

Dr Dlugonski said: ‘Our study showed that the gender exercise gap is a complex challenge…when asked what could help, women noted that making movement more accessible, inclusive and recognised in all forms, while challenging society’s gendered expectations, would support them in moving more.’

‘This includes making exercise centred around women and their needs. From providing childcare and catering for all activity levels; to fitting around work; to being fun, affordable, safe, welcoming and judgement-free.’

Asics has seen individuals and groups removing challenges for women in sport, and is launching their Move Her Mind platform to recognise and amplify these voices.

One example is Jess, who found solace in running when struggling with depression and founded Run Talk Run, a global community offering mental health support through accessible running and walking groups.

Karen, 62, founded ‘Sole Sisters,’ a local running group specifically for women over 45, addressing the challenge of lack of representation and embarrassment for older woman.

Cosima, a secondary-school teacher, previously intimidated by exercise because of negative perceptions she absorbed through the media, now advocates for inclusivity and positivity within movement, especially for girls.

Gary Raucher, executive vice president at Asics, said: ‘Asics was founded on the belief that sport and exercise benefit the body and the mind. It’s why we’re called Asics: ‘anima sana in corpore sano’ or ‘sound mind in a sound body’.

‘By launching Move Her Mind, we hope to [allow] more women and girls [to] experience the positive physical and mental benefits of exercise.’

asics gender exercise gap study

Asics’ Move Her Mind campaign hopes to allow more women and girls to experience the positive benefits of exercise


Visit the Move Her Mind platform to get involved

Become a member of the Women’s Health Collective and get full access to the Women’s Health app, available to download on Google Play and the App Store, to get the latest celebrity-inspired workouts and fitness content.

preview for The new Women's Health app is here!


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