Exercise Statistics - Featured

21 Exercise Statistics That Will Move You to Action

by Mira Rakicevic

Nowadays, people spend most of their time sitting either at work or at home. We even travel to work by car or public transport. And when we have some free time, we tend to watch TV or surf the net. As a result, we’re much less active than we should be.

Many people disregard the World Health Organization’s recommendations for physical activity, even though exercising has numerous health benefits. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of serious diseases. Still, most of us sit for more than seven hours a day.

The Top 8 Most Unbelievable Exercise Statistics

  • Only 23.2% of US adults met the recommendations for weekly physical activity in 2018.
  • 53.3% of US adults met the weekly recommendations for aerobic activity in 2018.
  • Only a third of US children are physically active every day.
  • Only 20% of US adolescents met the guidelines for both muscle strengthening and aerobic physical activity in 2017.
  • Americans spent more than $10 billion on fitness equipment in 2015.
  • 27.3% of Americans were inactive in 2018.
  • In 2018, 35.9% of Americans participated in high-calorie-burning activities at least three times a week.
  • About 50% of people who start a workout program quit exercising within the first 6 months.

Physical Activity Facts

1. Only 23.2% of US adults met the recommendations for weekly physical activity in 2018.

According to the 2008 federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults aged 18 and over should do moderate aerobic exercises for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic exercise for 75 minutes a week. Additionally, they should strengthen their muscles at least two days a week. However, less than 5% of US adults participate in physical activity for 30 minutes a day.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

2. 53.3% of US adults met the weekly recommendations for aerobic activity in 2018.

According to the exercise statistics from 2018, almost half of Americans aged 18 or older don’t get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week, as recommended by the federal Physical Guidelines for Americans.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

3. 27.3% of Americans were inactive in 2018.

Based on the Physical Activity Council’s survey, over a quarter of Americans aged 6 and older said that they weren’t active or only participated in activities that required low physical effort, such as camping, fishing, or jet skiing.

(The Physical Activity Council)

4. 35.9% of Americans participated in high-calorie-burning activities at least three times a week in 2018.

Additional physical activity statistics from 2018 show that 18.9% of Americans participated in these activities once or twice a week. In total, more than 50% of Americans were physically active at least once a week in 2018. When compared to 2013, there’s been an increase of 4.8 million people who engage in high-calorie-burning activities.

(The Physical Activity Council)

5. In 2013, 46.5% of adults from Delaware reported exercising for at least 30 minutes a day for three or more days a week.

Compared to other US states, they were the least likely to report exercising on a regular basis. According to American exercise statistics, West Virginia (47.1%) and Alabama (47.5%) followed closely. On the other hand, Vermont had the highest percentage (65.3%) of adults who reported exercising three or more days a week for at least 30 minutes.

(Gallup)

6. The US takes 46th place on the list of the most inactive nations in the world.

According to recent research, first place went to the Republic of Malta, where 72% of people don’t get enough exercise. Swaziland (69%) and Saudi Arabia (68.8%) are among the top three, while Serbia and Argentina follow closely (68.3% each). This study’s physical activity rates by country showed that Bangladesh was the most physically active nation with only 4.7% of people not exercising enough.

(The Atlantic)

Exercising Across Different Demographics

Exercise Statistics - Children

7. Only a third of US children are physically active every day.

This is a disturbing fact since a lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. It’s vital to promote the benefits of exercise, starting with our kids. It’s shocking that children now spend more than seven hours a day glued to a screen.

(President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition)

8. Only 20% of US adolescents met the guidelines for both muscle strengthening and aerobic physical activity in 2017.

According to the guidelines, adolescents should do muscle strengthening activities at least three days a week and participate in at least 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity every day.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

9. Only 28%–34% of US adults aged 65–74 are physically active.

Additionally, exercise stats reveal that 35%–44% of seniors aged 75 or older participate in physical activities. However, the World Health Organization recommends that people aged 65 or older engage in a physical activity of moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes every week.

(President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition)

10. Adults aged 18 to 24 were the most likely to meet the recommendations for aerobic physical activity in 2018.

64.8% of US adults in this age group met the 2008 federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Based on these workout statistics, they were more physically active compared to other age groups.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

11. More men meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity than women.

Notably, 54% of men meet the guidelines compared to 46% of women. Additionally, there are also some differences between genders when it comes to motivation. For example, most men feel awkward at group classes while women generally find them motivating.

(The Good Body)

12. The lower the household income, the greater the inactivity rate.

According to reports on lack of exercise and the statistics related to it, over 47% of households with an income below $25,000 were inactive in 2018. On the other hand, only about 16% of households with an income above $100,000 were inactive the same year.

(Physical Activity Council)

13. Adults with a college degree are more likely to meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines than those with a lower level of education.

Adults with a college degree are the most likely to meet both the aerobic and muscle strengthening guidelines, at 27.4%. On the other hand, only 12% of adults who had less than a high school diploma did the same.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The Benefits of Physical Activity

Exercise Statistics - Benefits

14. Physical activity can lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Research suggests that higher levels of physical activity can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease by 21% for men and by 29% for women. In addition, studies indicate that regular exercise might be connected to lower blood pressure.

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)

15. Regular physical activity can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 50%.

Additionally, working out on a regular basis can lower the risk of osteoarthritis by 83% and reduce the risk of a hip fracture by 68%. It’s also associated with a 30% lower risk of depression and dementia.

(NHS)

16. 67% of vigorous exercisers report having a good night’s sleep every night or almost every night.

On the other hand, these same exercise facts indicate that a considerably smaller percentage (39%) of non-exercisers report the same. Besides bringing amazing health benefits, physical activity also contributes to better sleep. That’s why people with sleep problems, especially insomnia, are often advised to exercise regularly but not close to bedtime.

(National Sleep Foundation)

17. Insufficient physical activity increases the risk of death by 20% to 30%.

According to the WHO, people who don’t exercise enough are more likely to die prematurely. In fact, sedentary lifestyle statistics reveal that physical inactivity is one of the major risk factors for mortality in the world.

(World Health Organization)

Exercise Habits

Exercise Statistics - Habits

18. The most popular fitness activity in the US is walking.

117 million people chose walking as their favorite way to stay active in 2013. About 54 million chose running or jogging, and about 48 million exercised on a treadmill. According to the data on Americans and physical activity, some of the other popular activities were bowling, free weights, cycling, weight machines, and stretching.

(Phit America)

19. Over 50% of mobile phone users in the US have downloaded at least one fitness app.

It’s estimated that there are more than 8,000 apps dedicated to health and fitness, with Fitbit being the most popular. This app has more than 10 million US users.

(The Good Body)

20. About 50% of people who start a workout program quit exercising within the first 6 months.

Research on exercise facts and statistics shows that people will usually drop out of their exercise program early on.

(The Good Body)

21. Americans spent more than $10 billion on fitness equipment in 2015.

It’s estimated that over half of this sum was spent on treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, and other cardiovascular fitness equipment. Additionally, Americans spend about $27 billion on yoga products every year.

(The Good Body)

Conclusion

Along with healthy nutrition, physical activity is one of the pillars of our wellbeing. It decreases the risk of serious medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and improves our overall health. Nevertheless, as the exercise statistics show, a huge number of people all around the world don’t exercise enough.

Most of us lead sedentary lifestyles partly due to our jobs and partly because we spend too much time in front of screens in our leisure time. Hopefully, the above-mentioned facts make it clear enough how important physical activity is for us. So no matter what your favorite activity is—be it hiking, swimming, or snowboarding—try sitting down less and moving more.

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