The Impact of Sport on Dating Success

run with dog

We recently surveyed a cross-section of the online dating community to find out the correlation between an active sports life and dating success. We received some fascinating feedback to our 24 survey questions and the analysis is produced here.

1. Gender

a. Male 45%
b. Female 55%

Slightly more females than males (55% to 45%) responded favorably to the basic question that a workout contributed towards their dating success. The psychological factors at play here are that women tend to be more insecure about their bodies, so regular gym activity boosts their confidence when it comes to dating.

2. Age

a. less than 25 20%
b. 26-35 29%
c. 36-45 34%
d. over 45 17%

The peak age bracket for athleticism, be that gym workouts or engaging in competitive sport, is 36-45 (accounting for one-third of the total survey participants.) Those immediately younger, 26-25, made up 29% while 20% were under-25. The smallest percentage were the over-45s, at 17%. Psychologically, the older people get, the less inclined they feel about putting their bodies through the rigors of intense physical exercise.

3. Do you sport regularly?

atletic couple

a. Yes 68%
b. No 32%

Our survey found 68% of respondents participated in some form of sport on a regular basis, meaning 32% did not. This reflects the common consensus in the general population where the majority of people now appreciate the positive impact of physical activity on general health, as well as the social benefits of meeting new people.

4. Are you ready to start working out for someone you like (optional for people who don’t like sport)

a. Yes 54%
b. No 46%

This was a fairly leading question and this one certainly gets to the point. Over half of those questioned (54%) admitted that wishing to impress someone was a key incentive for starting workouts. This is undoubtedly because the early stages of any relationship rely on physical attraction. Before someone really gets to know your personality you want to appear to be in peak fitness.

5. How many times a week do you sport?

a. less than 2 times per week 29%
b. 2-3 times per week 48%
c. 4-6 times per week 19%
d. more than 6 times per week 4%

Couch potatoes exercising less than twice a week were in a minority. Real fitness fanatics, sporting over six times weekly, were even less (4%). The majority of respondents (almost half) exercised two-three times every week. That 67% are sporting between two-six times a week is a sound indication that sports and exercise are extremely popular pastimes.

6. What kind of sport do you prefer (1-2 options can be chosen)

a. Gym (powerlifting, bodybuilding, etc.) 42%
b. Stretching (yoga, pilates, etc.) 44%
c. Cardio training (jogging, crossfit, swimming, etc.) 52%
d. Martial arts (box, MMA, wrestling, etc.) 27%
e. Playing sports (Football, basketball, tennis etc.) 32%

The most popular form of sporting activity was cardio training. Events such as crossfit, running and swimming can be undertaken easily, without having to sign up to sometimes expensive gym memberships. They are rigorous exercises, giving a sense of achievement. Gyms are great for honing the physique, as are yoga classes. Specialist sessions (basketball, MMA etc.) still account for over a quarter of activities.

7. Where do you sport?


a. Gym 29%
b. Outside 12%
c. I use multiple locations 59%

Most people admitted to using multiple locations. Participants don’t necessarily like being tied down to one area so they’ll use a gym and also run, or play 5-a-sides and do some sparring, or any one of a hundred other possibilities. Almost a third use gyms rather than sporting outside, because they present the opportunity to socialize.

8. What is your goal in sport?

a. Be healthy 28%
b. Get fit 44%
c. Meet new people 21%
d. Be like others 7%

What drives people to engage in sporting activities produced interesting results, with the largest percentage claiming they wanted to keep fit and promote good health. But an increasing number of people (over a fifth) admitted they wanted to meet people through engagement in sports.

9. Does sport boost your confidence?

a. Yes 91%
b. No 9%

Over 90% answered in the affirmative. While there will be many reasons for this, feeling physically fit has been proven to have a positive effect on mental outlook. If people feel as if they are looking after themselves, they’ll be more ready to connect with others, especially on a potentially romantic level.

10. Do you flirt while doing sport?

a. Yes 72%
b. No 28%

Again, there was a hugely positive response to this question. If people enjoy regular physical activity, love to look after themselves physically and psychologically, and relish the social aspects of sports, it makes sense that they’ll take this to the next logical level – reaching out to other participants who catch their eye.

11. Do you use training to meet other people?


a. Yes 64%
b. No 36%

The percentage was slightly lower (64%), but the reason for this would be that some athletes are focused while training, and flirting would be a bit of a distraction. But this still represents a significant amount of people engaging in sporting activities who are doing so with the ulterior motive of making connections.

12. Did you ever find a date through sport?

a. Yes 58%
b. No 42%

Over half the people responding to our survey claimed to have met a date via some sporting activity. In light of the high numbers of people who flirt, this seems logical. While 72% were flirting, this activity is often a fairly innocuous way of letting someone know you’re interested. But 58% did take that flirting to the next stage.

13. Does clothes matter for you in the gym (does sport outfit affect your confidence when doing sport?)

a. Yes 62%
b. No 38%

The majority stated that clothes are an issue, although the respondents didn’t elaborate whether this was a positive or a negative. For the former, gym outfits are revealing, especially the lycra garments favored by females, meaning they can be sexually enticing. For the latter, until people gain confidence, tight gym outfits can make them feel inhibited.

14. Do you enjoy doing sport?

a. Yes 83%
b. No 17%

83% said that they enjoyed doing sport, which ties in with earlier findings about the huge numbers participating in regular exercise activities. There are so many different events that people can chop and change until they discover what best works for them – and which type of session offers the best flirting opportunities!

15. Did you get more attention from people after you’ve added sporty photos to your portfolio?


a. Yes 95%
b. No 5%

This question was virtually a no-brainer. Over 95% stated they got more attention with these profile images. The reasons? When you’re hoping to attract strangers, their first impressions will always be physical. They’re far more likely to want to get to know someone who looks health and fit than a slob. If they don’t look after themselves, why would they make the effort with you?

16. Do you like women that do traditionally men’s sports (e.g. martial arts)?

a. Yes 18%
b. No 82%

Unfortunately for all those females out there aspiring to be Olympic medalists in Karate or Taekwondo, a lot of the males replying to this question seemed to be chauvinists! Actually, to be fair, the 82% who didn’t like the idea were probably secretly worried about dating someone who could wipe the floor with them!

17. Do you like men that do traditionally women’s sports (e.g. pilates)?

a. Yes 64%
b. No 36%

Women are obviously more open-minded and less likely to let stereotypical impressions cloud their judgement. 64% were open to male partners who indulged in activities perceived as feminine, although over a third was not. Many women would still prefer football players!

18. Do you visit sport events for entertainment (e.b. football/basketball games, boxing matches etc.)?

a. Yes 78%
b. No 22%

The majority of respondents stated they did visit events for entertainment. There is an undoubted sense of theatre about a major football/baseball/basketball/hockey encounter. As well as offering a sense of shared participation, the large crowds offer a tremendous opportunity for socializing. The spectacle of the athletes is also encouraging for those who haven’t worked out for a while.

19. Do you consider extreme sport as a dating idea (e.g. bungee jumping)?


a. Yes 69%
b. No 31%

Far more people said they did (69%). There is something really thrilling about sports that get the adrenaline rushing. If you and your date pluck up the courage to bungee jump, you’ll really cement your relationship. Having shared such a precarious trial will bring you closer together.

20. Do you go on dates after the workout?

a. Yes 52%
b. No 48%

Slightly over half said they’d gone on dates after working out. The reason this is not more popular is probably down to the fact that a lot of people like to chill after exercise and think firstly of warming down or showering. But the gym is clearly where dating plans can be made in the first instance. Or a lot of people like active dates either.

21. Did you get more dating success after you started doing sport?

atletic couple

a. Yes 76%
b. No 24%

Three-quarters of those taking part in the survey stated they did experience dating success afterwards, undoubtedly for all the reasons mentioned: – the way sport improves self-esteem, exercise promotes a healthy physical and mental health outlook, and sporting arenas encourage socializing and meeting/flirting with strangers.

22. Will you skip practice for a date?

a. Yes 66%
b. No 34%

Although it was close-run, slightly more admitted dating took precedence over practice. Because so many respondents said they embarked on exercise regimes in order to make themselves more appealing to potential dates, if they get to the stage when they actually going dating perhaps they feel that the preliminary work has been done.

23. Did your sex life become better after you started doing sport?

a. Yes 97%
b. No 3%

An overwhelming majority said sporting had improved their sex lives. When people are used to looking after their physiques, toning muscles and engaging in cardiovascular workouts, then something that can put strain on muscles and stamina – like regular sex – can only be improved if the workouts form an important part of anyone’s leisure time.

24. Rate the impact of sport on your dating success (1-very bad, the dating life became worse; 10-very good, the changes are dramatical)

the impact of sport on your dating success

For the most part, people concurred that sport had a positive impact, with over a third answering between 8 and 10. This ties in with the feedback from previous questions. Regular sports and exercise routines play a crucial role in health and wellbeing, and these aspects run in parallel with wider social skills such as gaining the confidence to connect in social settings, to flirt with others, and to arrange dates.