How people exercise in 15 places around the world

Some exercise habits are different around the world. Shutterstock
  • People around the world love to work out.
  • Working out is similar around the world but each place has its own preferences.
  • We rounded up some common ways people work out around the world.

Though lots of people love to work out, fitness often looks different all around the world. In some countries, people prefer to get their workout in outside rather than in a gym. In other places, things can get a little bit more adrenaline-pumping. It’s interesting to see the unique approaches to exercise, and it can also be an inspiration to switch your workouts up.

Here’s a look at how people work out around the world. Of course, it’s worth noting that everyone, everywhere has their own workout preferences, but these are just some notable and popular examples:

In China, many people take a slower approach to exercise.

Tai chi, an ancient Chinese slow-moving exercise that evolved from a form of martial arts, is very popular in China. According to ClassPass, so are line dancing, ballroom dancing, yoga, and brisk walking.

In Sweden, many people prefer to exercise outside when they can.

Outdoor exercise is popular. photoschmidt/ iStock

Sweden is regularly rated as one of the healthiest countries in the world, so it’s not surprising to hear that they take a serious approach to fitness. While going to the gym is definitely a thing, Culture Trip says that many Swedes love to exercise outdoors, and so you can find many outdoor gyms that allow people to do resistance training during a bike ride or run.

And exercise is something almost everyone does – research from 2014 says that only 9% of Swedes don’t work out regularly.

Parkour is huge in France.

One popular workout in France is parkour, a French movement that, according to CNN Traveller, “uses buildings, parks, and streets like a gym to complete expressive, sometimes risky moves.” You build strength using your bodyweight rather than actual weights. Parkour has gained some popularity elsewhere but was actually developed in Lisses, France in 1988, so it makes sense that it would still be popular there. Many French people also love to run and bike ride.

In Brazil, many people love to work out, whether it’s in the gym or outdoors.

Outdoor gyms are popular. Ramon Espelt Photography / Shutterstock

According to The Brazil Business, Brazil has the second biggest fitness industry in the world after the US. Many Brazilians love to be at the gym, but they also work out through popular sports like soccer, volleyball, and polo.Culture Trip reports that outdoor gyms, hiking, running on the beach, and water sports are also super popular options.

In the United Kingdom, people are really into unique classes.

Research from ClassPass shows that people in the UK love to make their workouts a little bit more fun with things like ballet-inspired classes and fight-club-esque cardio.

Australians are known for their tough F45 classes.

Intense work out classes are popular. via Shutterstock

One of the biggest types of workouts in Australia is F45, which stands for Functional 45. It’s a 45-minute workout using functional movements that mimic everyday life, like squatting, running, lifting, and pulling. The classes combine strength training, cardio, and intervals. Of course, it’s not all about intense workouts – My Body and Soul says walking is the most popular activity in Australia.

Many people in Cape Town, South Africa prefer to exercise outside.

Many outdoor sports and activities are popular. Rick McCharles/ Flickr

Culture Trip says that, recently, Cape Town has seen a big increase in outdoor fitness groups and classes like beach yoga and boot camp. There are also lots of trails for hiking and mountain biking that they always take advantage of, as cycling is super popular in Cape Town.

Exercise is a top priority for many in Iceland.

No matter what form, exercise is important. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Data from 2017 shows that Icelanders exercise more than any other European nation. Many people love to do a wide variety of exercise, from running outdoors to doing Crossfit to hitting the gym.US News also says that Icelanders love to swim, and there are pools all over the country for people to use.

Many people in Cologne, Germany like to get a little adventurous with their workouts.

Exercise is more adrenaline-oriented. wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Culture Trip says that there are about a dozen indoor rock climbing and boulder centres in Cologne that offer slightly more out-of-the-box workouts, as well as skateparks, indoor and outdoor climbing walls, and parkour. There are also a lot of rowing clubs, and people seem to be into water skiing as well.

In Saudi Arabia, women-only workout studios are popular.

There are women-only classes. Courtney Verrill/Business Insider

Saudi Arabia reminds us that exercise isn’t just about staying fit, it can also be empowering. Bloomberg says that a fitness boom in the country led to the popularity of women-only studios. The studios aim to teach women to feel inspired and empowered and sometimes include talks by women who are seen as role models.

In Canada, there are lots of workouts that involve snow.

In Canada, they embrace the snow. Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Research done by Fitbit has shown that Canadians like to work out outside, even when it’s cold. Some of the most popular activities logged were running, biking, and strength training, as well as shoveling, skiing, skating, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and even rock climbing.

People in Copenhagen try to make exercise as fun as possible.

Exercise is fun in Copenhagen. Business Insider

There are a bunch of fun fitness trends in Copenhagen, according to Culture Trip. These include zumba, boxing, canoeing, pole dancing, acrobatics, swimming, and spinning.

One popular workout in Spain is also very unique.

This mixes a bunch of different workouts. micadoX/Flickr

One common workout in Spain is called bossaball, which has been around for a long time. It mixes a bunch of different kinds of workouts: volleyball, football, and Brazilian dance, then athletes compete on a giant trampoline with a net. It’s a game, really, but it’s also a great way to get your fitness in.

In the US, people love to walk.

Walking is king in the US. vhpicstock/Shutterstock

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, far and away the most popular method of exercise in the US is walking.

Though many people in the US stick to walking, some other notable examples are weightlifting and running.

In Amsterdam, it’s almost all about biking.

Biking is a popular place to bike around. Tom Shockey/Flickr

Amsterdam is known for being a popular place to get on a bike and ride around, whether for pleasure or for exercise. People there also love to get their fitness in through rollerblading, kayaking, skating, and jogging, according to Culture Trip.

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