An important public health goal is to increase the population's participation in regular, moderate physical activity. Descriptive epidemiological studies that focus only on associations between physical activity and demographic and psychological factors are not sufficient to inform exercise promotion strategies, and a broader view of health is required. This study investigates the additional factors of health status, social connections and satisfaction with local area facilities by analysing data from a 1987 community health survey of 1765 residents of Adelaide. Factors associated with low activity were age group, education, general health (women), reduced mobility, number of social connections (men) and degree of satisfaction with recreation facilities. Including social and structural factors is valuable for research into interventions, policy and theory relating to physical activity as it brings theoretical perspectives and links to other areas of public health and social research.