Are we a nation of healthy individuals, both physically and mentally? Or are we a country that’s slowly falling into harmful patterns of overeating, physical inactivity, and even depression? Sadly, the exercise statistics point to the latter.
But don’t worry. Lack of exercise and physical activity may be a global issue, but it’s also one where an individual can actually make a change for the better. Let these facts and stats educate you on the importance of fitness and inspire you to take charge of your life and get moving.
The Top 10 Key Exercise Stats to Get You to Take Action
- 44.7% of adults under the age of 65 don’t meet the standard US physical activity recommendations.
- Men are more physically active than women.
- Less than 24% of children engage in one hour of physical activity a day.
- Over 110.81 million Americans walk to stay in shape.
- People who exercise report having 1.5 fewer days of depression or poor mental health per month.
- The US’s costs associated with physical inactivity amount to $117 billion a year.
- The US health and fitness industry’s revenue amounted to $32.3 billion in 2018.
- 40% of primary care doctors don’t meet physical activity recommendations.
- Americans don’t meet dietary guidelines.
- Only 10% of people can lose weight by dieting.
The Most Important American Exercise Statistics
1. In the US, 44.7% of adults under the age of 65 don’t meet physical activity recommendations.
The federal physical activity guidelines recommend that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week. It’s also suggested that they engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least two times a week. Only 22.9% of American adults hit both marks, while 32% meet one of the guidelines.
2. Only 13.5% of adults in Mississippi adhered to the federal physical activity guidelines, the exercise statistics for 2018 show.
Mississippi is ranked at the bottom in terms of adults following government physical activity recommendations. Colorado, on the other hand, is the leader with 32.5% of its adults under 65 meeting both federal exercise marks.
3. Colorado is the healthiest state.
(America’s Health Rankings)
When measuring the portion of people who engaged in no other physical activity or exercise in the past month, other than their regular job, Colorado ranks last, with just 16.4%. According to these same exercise statistics, Kentucky ranked first with 32.4% of its residents being physically inactive.
4. The South and Midwest are less physically active than the West and Northeast.
(The Good Body)
Southern states, like Virginia and Mississippi, seem to have lazier residents than states in the North, such as Utah, Maine, and Ohio.
5. Men are more physically active than women.
Around 27% of men and 18.7% of women met both government exercise recommendations, according to the exercise facts and statistics. Unfortunately, these numbers are much lower than 40.8% of men and 48.4% of women in America who didn’t meet either of the federal physical activity guidelines.
6. 31.9% of seniors are physically inactive.
(America’s Health Rankings)
Those over 65 years old are less engaged in physical activity than other age groups. For comparison, 26.2% of adults between 45 and 64 didn’t engage in any exercise in the past month, nor did 19.3% of Americans aged 18–44.
7. Education and income also play a role in physical activity.
(America’s Health Rankings)
Those with a high school degree exercise less than people with a college education, college students and exercise statistics reveal. What’s more, adults with an annual income of $75,000 or higher are more likely to exercise, engage in physical activity, or play a sport than households with an income under $25,000.
8. Divorced or separated adults are 94.6% more likely to meet PA guidelines than widowed individuals.
Divorced or separated adults show the highest rate of meeting physical activity benchmarks, 25.5%. This is a slightly higher rate than the 23.9% rate for married individuals or 22.1% for single people, exercise statistics by marital status indicate.
9. Less than 24% of children engage in one hour of physical activity a day.
Recommendations for children and teenagers include one hour or more of PA every day and muscle- and bone-strengthening activities at least three times a week. However, only 26.1% of high school students participate in physical activity every day. Nevertheless, 51.1% of them fulfilled the muscle-strengthening requirements, so there’s still hope of seeing an improvement in the youth exercise stats.
10. Engagement in physical activities declines when students transition from high school to college.
People in college exercise less than high school students, probably because they have less free time. A study showed that only 38% of college students did vigorous exercise, a drop from the 65% who exercised in high school. Meanwhile, 20% engaged in moderate physical activity on a regular basis, unlike the 26% who took part in regular physical activity in high school, according to the physical activity statistics in college students.
11. In 2017, 19% of Americans took part in sports and exercise on a daily basis.
A survey on workout habits showed that 25% of US adults took part in athletic activities on a daily basis. It also suggested that these Americans spent about 30 minutes a day on exercise.
Exercise and Fitness Habits in the US
12. Americans’ lifestyles are becoming more and more sedentary.
US adults spend an average of 3.9 hours a day watching TV and 3.7 hours online. They also spend 3.4 hours every day sitting at a desk, these sedentary lifestyle statistics reveal. If you think that adults are bad, research shows that children are worse. Kids spend over seven hours a day in front of a screen.
13. Over 110.81 million Americans walk to stay in shape.
Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the US. Weightlifting and running are ranked second and third in terms of popularity. Yoga and aerobics were the preferred types of exercise for women, while men opted for golfing or playing basketball or football when it comes to US sports participation, statistics show.
14. Over 40 million Americans take part in hiking and camping every year.
45 million US adults engage in other outdoor activities, such as fishing, biking, or running. The highest level of interest in outdoor physical activities is among children (61%), while the great outdoors is least popular among adults aged 45 and over—under 40% of this age group take part.
15. 66% of US citizens took part in fitness sports last year.
(Physical Activity Council)
According to the exercise statistics, fitness and outdoor activities are the most popular among Americans—as proven by the 7% average annual increase of participants in trail running, hiking, skiing, and stand-up paddling. These changes in fitness programs imply that Americans are introducing more calorie-burning workouts and sports to their exercise routine.
16. Baby boomers are least interested in high-calorie workouts.
(Physical Activity Council)
Due to their advanced age, seniors focus more on low-impact physical activities, like walking or golf, to stay in shape. Workout statistics, on the other hand, indicate that 60% of millennials and 70% of Gen Z-ers take part in some form of high-calorie exercise.
17. 78% of respondents in a 2016 survey cited health as the reason they exercise.
47% said that they work out to lose weight, while 43% reported that they exercise to get a better-looking body. In addition, 26% of respondents said they use sports as a way to counteract the effects of stress in their lives. Surprisingly, exercise statistics from 2016 reveal that 11% found that taking part in sports improved their social life and allowed them to make friends and meet new people.
18. People really do go to the gym to find dates.
In a survey of 2000 participants, half said that they go to the gym to pick people up. Another study actually confirms that gyms are a good place to meet new people: 10.5% of those surveyed said that they live with someone they met at the gym, these fun fitness facts tell us.
19. Partners who exercise together have better chances of staying together.
(The Good Body)
Couples that workout together strengthen both their relationship and their bodies. It also gives them a chance to spend some time together in their busy schedules.
20. 63% of Americans believe that not working out will shorten their life expectancy.
(New York Post)
Despite a large percentage of US adults who share this view, it seems Americans will use just about any excuse to get out of exercising. For example, fitness statistics show that 42% of respondents said they didn’t have enough time to exercise, and 28% said they skipped a regular workout because of bad weather.
21. 80% of people who join a gym quit after five months.
(Boston Globe, The Good Body)
In fact, 4% of new gym members don’t even make it past the first month, while 14% only last two months. People don’t seem to stick to exercise programs either. According to research, 50% of adults starting a fitness program will quit after six months.
Exercise Benefits Statistics
22. Exercise reduces heart disease among men by 21%.
Women who exercised were 29% less at risk of coronary heart disease. More exercise, research says, not only lowers death rates from heart disease, but also reduces complications arising from CHD.
23. People who exercise reported having approximately 1.4 fewer days of depression or poor mental health per month.
A study of 1.2 million American adults showed that people who exercise experience fewer days of poor mental health. Exercise and mental health statistics show that regular exercise results in 2 days a month of poor mental health. People who don’t exercise feel mentally unhealthy on 3.4 days a month.
24. 150 minutes of exercise can improve a person’s sleep quality by 65%.
It’s amazing what physical activity can do to improve sleep. A study following insomnia patients over a 16-week period showed that exercise helped them sleep longer and feel more energetic throughout the day.
25. 43% of US adults say they use exercise to help improve their stress levels, the exercise and stress statistics demonstrate.
Of the respondents who said that they use fitness to reduce stress levels, 62% found physical activity to be extremely effective when it comes to combating stress.
26. Exercising regularly might prevent or help you manage type 2 diabetes.
(The Good Body)
Exercise does more than that. If you’re physically active for around 7 hours every week, there’s a 40% lower risk of dying early than people who exercise half an hour or less every week, health and fitness facts reveal.
27. 8.3% of deaths among nondisabled adults over 25 years old were caused by physical inactivity.
Physical inactivity contributed to 9.9% of deaths among adults between the ages of 40 and 69 and was linked to 7.8% of deaths among those over 70 years old.
28. Costs associated with physical inactivity amount to $117 billion a year.
(America’s Health Ratings)
Health expenses generated by adults not exercising enough account for over 11% of the total yearly healthcare costs in the US.
Fitness Industry Statistics
29. US health and fitness industry revenue amounted to $32.3 billion in 2018.
This revenue saw a 7.8% increase from the previous year. In fact, revenue from the health and fitness club industry has been steadily increasing by 3%–4% yearly over the last 10 years, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
30. The US health and fitness market is the biggest in the world.
Not only does the US fitness industry generate the highest revenue in the world, but according to fitness industry statistics from 2017, it’s also ranked number one according to gym and fitness club memberships.
31. There were 39,570 gyms in the US last year.
When it comes to gyms and fitness and health clubs, the US boasts an impressive 102,344 enterprises on the market. Additionally, over 71.5 million US citizens used the services of health clubs and gyms in the last year, an all-time high since 1987. More good news: American exercise statistics from 2018 show that the number of individual members amounted to 62.5 million, while the overall number of visits to health clubs reached over 6 billion.
32. Sales of sports and exercise equipment totaled $5.37 billion in 2018.
Wholesale sales, which include both health and fitness clubs and consumers, have been increasing steadily for the past decade. The fitness equipment market, on the other hand, is valued at $5.24 billion, with consumers spending around $3.86 billion on fitness equipment for home use alone, physical fitness facts and numbers show.
33. There are 231,500 personal trainers working in the US.
The fitness industry is a growing, billion-dollar market—with the Bureau of Labor Statistics expecting jobs in the industry to increase by 23% in the next 10 years.
34. Wearable technology and high-intensity interval training are among the top fitness trends for 2020.
Group training, weight lifting, and personal training are just some of the fitness trends expected to be big in 2020, fitness industry trends and statistics indicate.
35. Millennials are the biggest users of fitness apps across all age groups.
As for the appeal of these apps, 46% of millennials said that they want more information about their health, and 54% stated that they would buy a device or app that tracks body weight, fat, and blood pressure. Interestingly, women use fitness apps twice as much as men do.
The Role of the Health Sector in Fitness
36. 40% of primary care doctors don’t fulfill US physical activity recommendations.
(Exercise is Medicine, NCBI)
Unfortunately, when it comes to lack of exercise, statistics indicate that 36% of medical students in the US also fail to achieve this health standard. Studies show that healthcare professionals who don’t exercise are less likely to counsel patients to take up physical activity. This a major concern since a 2016 study showed that physicians, and other healthcare providers, are among the most trusted sources of health information.
37. Around one third of adults were advised by their doctor to start or continue exercising.
Doctors are more likely to recommend exercise to older adults between 45 and 85 years of age. Actually, exercise facts show that the number of those over 85 who were advised to exercise has almost doubled in the last decade.
38. Only one fifth of physicians would refer a patient to a personal trainer.
In addition, less than half of physicians would advise patients to visit a health club, according to a study on the relationship between healthcare professionals and the prescription of exercise. The authors of the study recommend that more medical professionals partner with fitness instructors to bridge the gap between health and exercise, fitness facts show.
39. 72% of doctors cited cost as a prime reason why they don’t recommend health clubs.
Physicians said that expenses and convenience were listed as the most problematic issues when it comes to referring their patients to health clubs. Meanwhile, a third of the doctors surveyed mentioned the poor training of personal trainers as an issue of concern.
40. Doctors in Vermont are prescribing exercise as treatment.
Vermont physicians give out prescriptions for hiking and spending time in nature. Outdoor activities are some of the most likely physical activity trends to increase over time as other states—like Maine, California, and New Mexico—become more interested in the idea of hiking as a medical treatment.
41. Medical professionals need more training when it comes to the importance of exercise.
Several studies have pointed out that medical schools don’t include enough topics on nutrition, physical activity, and food marketing in their curricula. Healthcare providers lack suitable knowledge on how to prescribe exercise to help treat and prevent certain diseases and conditions, such as obesity. In fact, when it comes to nutrition and physical activity, the facts indicate that less than a quarter of physicians have received suitable training on how to properly counsel patients.
42. Exercise physiologists are the best-paid health care professionals in the fitness industry.
The 25% most well-paid exercise physiologists earned around $60,000 in 2016. What do they do? They create fitness and exercise programs aimed at improving a patient’s health, such as increasing flexibility, improving heart function, or managing chronic pain.
Nutrition and Fitness Facts and Stats
43. Obesity is directly associated with unhealthy eating habits.
33.8% of US adults and almost 12.5 million children and teenagers are obese. These deeply upsetting numbers should be enough to move us to action and convince us to pay more attention to exercise and healthy diets.
44. The majority of Americans don’t meet dietary guidelines.
Americans are advised to eat at least 1.5 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables every day. When it comes to American eating habits, statistics tell us that only 9.3% meet vegetable recommendations, and only 12.2% meet the fruit dietary guidelines. US adults also eat more sodium than the recommended guidelines. No wonder obesity is an epidemic in the US.
45. On average, US adults drink about 39 ounces of water every day.
(CDC, National Academies)
Although there’s no set-in-stone recommendation for how much plain water the average adult should drink, the guidelines for women are around 91 ounces, and it’s 125 ounces for men (this can come from all kinds of beverages and food). As we can see, there are many issues with unhealthy American eating habits, statistics show.
46. Only 10% of people can lose weight by dieting.
(The Good Body)
On the other hand, 89% of people were able to lose weight by using a combo of healthy eating habits, or diets, and a suitable exercise program. Although the 80/20 ratio between diet and exercise isn’t a must if you want to shed some pounds, it’s still a good idea to take both factors into account when losing weight.
What percentage of people exercise daily?
Less than 5% of US adults take part in some kind of physical activity for 30 minutes every day. Stats show that Americans spent an average of 0.29 hours per day playing sports, exercising, or engaging in leisure activities last year. And the number of men who participate in sports and exercise is greater than that of women. In 2018, 21.1% of men engaged in physical activity every day, while only 17.2% of women did the same.
Is it OK to exercise every day?
Although there is nothing wrong with exercising every day, your fitness routine should be planned based on what you want to gain from your exercise in the first place. A daily high-intensity workout may be suitable for someone training to run a marathon, but it’s not for someone who just wants to stay in shape. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you’re feeling worn out from overtraining, take a break. Also, if in doubt, consult a professional.
What are the 10 benefits of exercise?
There are many ways that being physically active can help you lead a better and healthier life, but the top 10 include the following:
- Losing weight
- Boosting mood
- Strengthening muscles and building bone density
- Boosting energy levels
- Improving brain function, cognitive skills, and memory
- Getting better skin
- Improving sleep
- Reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions
- Reducing pain
- Enhancing your sex drive and improving your sex life
How often does the average person exercise?
The recommended exercise guidelines for healthy adults include at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking or swimming, and 75 minutes of vigorous PA, like running or aerobics. Healthy adults are also advised to do strength-training activities at least two times per week.
Health officials recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Physical activity includes more than exercise, for instance mowing the lawn is considered moderate PA, the fitness facts tell us. So no excuses when it comes to keeping fit and healthy. Even if you’re pressed for time, there’s always some way to get moving.
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death in the world. It increases the risk of all kinds of illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. On the other hand, regular exercise offers countless benefits, from staying healthy to looking good and feeling great. Do these exercise statistics inspire you to get up and get fit?
- ACSM Journals
- American Psychological Association
- Americas Health Rankings
- Boston Globe
- Brandon Gaille
- Exercise is Medicine
- Healthy People 2020
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
- New York Post
- Physical Activity Council
- The Good Body
- The Good Body
- Washington Post