Staying active is crucial for maintaining good health, but many individuals struggle to meet recommended physical activity levels.
A quick glance at exercise statistics around the world can give us a better understanding of how much work needs to be done to encourage people to move more.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most current (and most telling) exercise statistics from reputable sources to raise awareness and motivate all of us to prioritize exercise as part of our daily routine.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3 percent of the U.S. population was engaged in sports and exercise each day in 2019. Let’s take a look at some other interesting insights.
Exercise Statistics – Highlights
- According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 adults don’t meet the recommended levels for physical activity.
- 19% of Americans said they feel “too intimidated” to go to a gym.
- The most popular form of exercise in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK is running.
- While 33.8% of adults who are 18 to 24 years old meet both the cardio and strength-training guidelines, only 8.7% of those who are 75 years of age or older do.
- 43% of millennials are more likely to go to in-person classes than virtual ones, compared to 34% of those who belong to Generation X.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 adults don’t meet the recommended levels for physical activity.
It’s shocking to learn that one in four adults around the world do not meet the recommended levels for physical activity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This means they are at higher risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise each week, plus two strength-training workouts.
Are you wondering whether you’re getting enough exercise? You’re not alone! It can be tough to know what constitutes a healthy amount of physical activity. That’s why organizations like the US Department of Health and Human Services offer guidelines for adults.
This might sound like a lot, but it breaks down to just 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. That could be as simple as brisk walking or cycling on a stationary bike. As for strength training, focusing on major muscle groups like your legs, arms, and core twice a week can help improve your overall fitness level.
More than 80% of all teens worldwide don’t get enough physical activity
Sadly, teenagers are also struggling with physical activity. According to the WHO, more than 80% of teens worldwide do not get enough exercise. This is unacceptable, considering that regular physical activity can improve academic performance, mental health, and overall well-being.
Parents and educators must work together to make physical activity more accessible and appealing to young people.
19% of Americans said they feel “too intimidated” to go to a gym.
This is understandable, as people may feel self-conscious of their bodies or lack experience in a workout environment. However, it’s important to know that there are many other ways to get exercise, such as walking, dancing, biking, or even doing bodyweight exercises at home. It’s about finding what works for you and building up your confidence to try new things.
In high-income countries, 26% of men and 35% of women don’t get enough physical activity – but for low-income countries, those numbers are 12% and 24%, respectively.
Source: The Lancet
This might be due to the fact that people in low-income countries tend to engage in more physical labor and have fewer transportation options, leading to more movement throughout their day. In contrast, people in high-income countries may be more sedentary due to desk jobs and reliance on cars.
The most popular form of exercise in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK is running.
This could be due in part to the fact that running requires little equipment and can be done almost anywhere. It’s also a great form of cardiovascular exercise that can improve your heart health and endurance over time.
Walking is another popular exercise for Americans, with 30% of us participating in it on a regular basis.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Running isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay! Walking is another popular form of exercise, especially among Americans. Many of us participate in walking on a regular basis. This low-impact activity can be a great way to get outside, enjoy nature, and reap the benefits of physical activity without putting too much strain on your joints.
The least active states? Mississippi, Kentucky, and Arkansas. The most active states are Colorado, Utah, Washington, and Oregon.
It’s worth remembering that these numbers are self-reported and may not be entirely accurate. However, they do suggest that there are differences in physical activity levels across the country. If you’re looking to increase your own activity level, it can be helpful to find a supportive community or group to join in your area.
While 33.8% of adults who are 18 to 24 years old meet both the cardio and strength-training guidelines, only 8.7% of those who are 75 years of age or older do.
This means that older adults are far less likely to meet the exercise recommendations, which is concerning given the numerous health benefits of physical activity. It’s important to note that older adults should still participate in regular exercise, but may require adaptations or modifications.
43% of millennials are more likely to go to in-person classes than virtual ones, compared to 34% of those who belong to Generation X.
This suggests that the younger generation values the social aspect of working out or may feel more motivated when in a group setting. It’s interesting to see this generational difference, as technology continues to play a larger role in our lives.
There is a link between increased physical activity and improved work performance (per a study among 683 workers in a January 2004 study).
In a study of 683 workers, published in the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine, those who exercised regularly demonstrated better productivity and decision-making skills compared to those who didn’t. This indicates that the benefits of exercise extend beyond just physical health.
The most popular fitness class in 2021 was strength training.
According to ClassPass, this type of class outranked popular favorites like yoga and spin this year. Strength training has numerous benefits, such as improved bone density, increased muscle mass, and a higher metabolism. It’s clear that people are recognizing the importance of strength training in their fitness routines.
57% of people who work from home use their lunch hour to do a workout.
This could be anything from jogging around the neighborhood to a quick yoga session. Working out during your lunch break can benefit you in more ways than one! Not only does it give your body the physical activity it needs, but it also gives you a break from work and allows time for yourself.
Tuesday is the most popular day of the week to work out, while Sunday is the most popular rest day.
This could be because by Tuesday people have recovered from their Monday blues, or perhaps because people start counting down the days until Friday after the end of their work week. Whatever the reason may be, this data suggests that Tuesdays are when most people hit the gym or go on a run!
33% of adults over the age of 20 were told they needed to increase their exercise levels by their doctors between 2011 and 2014.
This number has remained fairly consistent over the years and shows just how important regular physical activity is. If your doctor has recommended exercise as part of a treatment plan, make sure to follow through with it!
Just 5 minutes of physical activity can boost your mood.
From going on a walk around your block or doing some stretching at home, there are plenty of activities that don’t require much time but still give great results! So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, try taking 5 minutes out of your day for some quick physical activity—you won’t regret it!
Asian Americans are least likely to be physically inactive, compared to other races and ethnicities.
Source: United Health Foundation
While this statistic is encouraging, we must continue striving towards better health outcomes across all communities in America so everyone can benefit from regular physical activity!
The most active cities in the United States are Miami, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
It’s no surprise that cities like Miami, where beach culture prevails, and San Francisco, a hub for tech innovation, prioritize physical activity. Atlanta’s high ranking is slightly more unexpected, but the city’s year-round warm climate and booming fitness industry may contribute to its relatively high physical activity rate.
The number of American adults who are inactive increases with age, with those who are 65 and older most likely to be inactive (at a rate of 30.6%).
Source: United Health Foundation
This may be due to barriers like mobility limitations, chronic conditions, or the belief that exercise is too strenuous in old age. However, seniors should not be discouraged from participating in physical activity – simple activities like walking, stretching, and yoga can provide numerous physical and mental benefits.
Overall, these exercise statistics can help us understand the habits and behaviors of people across the country and world when it comes to physical activity.
However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s exercise needs and preferences are different. The key is finding a form of movement that you enjoy and can stick with over the long term.
Whether that’s running, walking, or something else entirely, prioritizing your physical health can have a huge impact on your overall well-being.