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PureGym study reveals Australia’s favourite exercise workout

PureGym study reveals Australia’s favourite exercise workout
April 3, 2024

New research by PureGym has revealed, while dance workouts are the most popular form of exercise for 51 countries, in Australia the preferred workout is different.

Using Google data to find how often people within each country are searching for everything from ab workouts and glute exercises to running and calisthenics, more than 200 different types of workouts were analysed. The study found that despite the emergence of countless fitness trends and ways to keep moving, it’s dance that dominates.

The favoured form of exercise for a huge 51 countries, dancing dates back centuries and now with themed fitness classes that include Zumba and Stepper-ton, its popularity as a fun and accessible way to get some exercise in is showing no signs of slowing down. 

Georgia Boyle, Personal Trainer at PureGym Edinburgh agrees, commenting “Dance is a fantastic form of exercise for several reasons. Not only is it a fun full body workout, but it’s also an amazing form of creative expression, stress relief and above all, is a form of exercise that can bring people together. Easily accessible for all ages, starting with dance is so easy - try a class either in person or at home, or even put some music on and dance around your house.

“I think one of people’s biggest barriers with dance is feeling that they’ve ‘got two left feet’ or won’t be a technical pro. However, getting yourself moving and enjoying the music is all that matters".  

Outside of dance, which gets people from Bahrain to Finland moving, Pilates follows closely, with 40 countries practicing the mind-body exercise which focuses on improving strength, flexibility and balance. 

Pilates tops the fitness plans of people in Australia, the United Kingdom, United States, and many other countries. The original form of the exercise, which began in the 1920’s, now offers variations for people to practice, such as Reformer and Wall Pilates - the latter of which was named by PureGym as the number one fitness trend for 2024, having seen a massive 4,461% increase in interest.

Interestingly, many of the top exercise choices worldwide such as dancing, Pilates and CrossFit are those often practiced in groups. Stephen Rowe, Chief Marketing Officer at PureGym commented on the likely reasons behind this  “Across our gyms, we run close to twenty-thousand fitness classes each week, so know just how in-demand group exercise experiences are.

“Be it spin or a dance class, booking yourself into a class at a set time, potentially with a friend or two, naturally adds more accountability to the session. Because you’re ‘booked in’ or could feel like you would be letting others down by not attending, there’s a lower likelihood of cancelling than there is when the session, or the time you’re going to go to the gym, is only up to you. 

“Beyond that, classes are fun! They might be daunting at first, but within the first few minutes, people realise they’re surrounded by like-minded individuals – many of which end up becoming friends - and before long, they’ve built a habit where good health sits alongside fun and friendship”.

Exercise Trends
Boxercise, which originated in the United Kingdom during the 90s has found its way to South America, with the high intensity class peaking in popularity in the likes of Columbia, Chile and Uruguay. While the viral ‘treadmill strut’ that first found fame in America thanks to TikToker Allie Bennett, now finds itself as the most popular workout in Croatia.

Elsewhere, yoga’s birthplace of India is instead opting for a different method of movement altogether, with the French practice of parkour piquing their interest more than other workouts. In contrast, much of Africa is a hub of dance, with 34 different African countries favouring dance-themed exercise, while parts of the Oceanic continent favour running, with Fiji, Tuvalu and Samoa all making the most of their beautiful surroundings, by going for a scenic run.

Whether its dancing to your favourite tunes or the goal of running a marathon that gets you moving, Laura Melia, PT and General Manager at PureGym Manchester says that it’s all about finding what works for you.

Melia adds “Everyone is at a different stage of their fitness journey, with different levels of strength and mobility, and what works for one person might be too much or too little for another. Don’t feel pressured to match anyone’s workouts and avoid comparing progress with other people. 

“Instead, focus on how you feel. Spending an hour in the gym isn’t the only form of movement we can do. Going for a nice long walk, playing a sport with the kids or dancing is also a great way to keep your body moving. The key is to find something you enjoy, and then keeping fit will instantly become much easier. As we can see from the research, there’s so many types of exercise to try – it all just starts with giving something a go!” 

To find out more about the research and the most popular form of exercise in each country, visit

PureGym collated a list of over 200 different workouts all originating in different parts of the world, and used Google Keyword Planner to analyse which countries were searching for these terms the most.  Countries where no data/limited data was present were omitted from the results.  Where relevant, all terms were translated into the country’s native language before data was analysed for each country.  Data correct as of February 2023.  

Image top credit: Adobe Stock, data, charts and image above. Credit: PureGym

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