According to a 22-year study, majority of adults are inactive over their lifespan and don't exercise enough during their leisure time.
After following a group of more than 800 healthy Canadians between 1981 and 2003, the researchers found that almost 56 percent were consistently inactive and only 12 percent of participants remained active over the two decades.
"Women and older participants, compared to men or their younger peers, were less likely to follow a consistently active lifestyle. And participants with less education and lower household income were also less likely to be active," said lead author Tracie A. Barnett, a professor at the University of Montreal.
However, researchers also found that 25 percent of Canadians increased their levels of physical activity over time - an improvement that was observed in all socio-economic sub-groups.
The research group recommends continued efforts to increase physical activity among the overall population, as well as targeted programs that can encourage more vulnerable groups to keep moving.
What's more, the scientists stressed that health promotion programs must ensure that health inequalities experienced by socially disadvantaged groups do not worsen.
Dr. Lise Gauvin, of the University of Montreal Hospital Centre, said: "There is a need for continued and targeted health promotion efforts, ideally during childhood and adolescence but also in adulthood, to ensure that Canadians remain physically active across the lifespan."
"Because so few adults reverse behaviours acquired in early adulthood and because many active youths become sedentary adults, programs must target the entire population," Gauvin added.
The study is published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.