NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A new survey of 1,501 adult Americans found that a plurality (39.4%) report never working out or vigorously exercising in a given week.
Despite the ongoing public health emergency, many U.S. adults are foregoing physical activity in their day-to-day lives. This, despite physical exercise being one of the best predictors of health and longevity.
Certain groups are significantly less active than others, with women, those between the ages of 35 and 54, and those living in the American South being significantly more sedentary than the national average.
Survey Question & Findings
The survey asked 1,501 American adults the following question:
"How often do you work out per week? (This includes going to the gym, biking, jogging, or any moderate to intense physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes.)"
According to the survey’s findings, physical exercise frequency varies dramatically by geographic region and state. The least active states are Mississippi and Tennessee (where 65.4% and 56% never work out, respectively), whereas the most active are Minnesota and California (18.8% and 26.8%). New York State is worse than the national average, with 44.2% claiming they never work out.
Among those who reported they never work out, 54.1% were women and 45.8% were men. On average, women preferred lighter exercise regimens with a frequency of 1-2 workouts per week.
Age appears not to be a barrier to exercise, as retirement-aged Americans (aged 65+) were significantly less likely to report "never" working out. Among those aged 65 and over, only 36.8% claim to never work out, while 46.8% report working out at least 3 times per week. Interestingly, the youngest age group (18-24) are 26% more likely to report never working out (46.3%) than those aged 65 and older.
The survey was designed and published by Gymless.org, a free calisthenics education website. Responses were gathered across all 50 U.S. states over a 24-day period starting September 10th, 2021, and were published on October 6th.
Liam Hunt, one of the study authors, commented on the significance of the findings. "Chairbound, sedentary lifestyles are more common today than ever before, despite the proven health benefits of physical exercise which are all the more important during a pandemic. This new data demonstrates the extent of the problem, and shows us which groups are most at-risk."
The authors of the survey maintain that, while some individuals face barriers to physical exercise, these can be largely overcome with simple bodyweight training.
"Exercise and movement shouldn’t be seen as a chore or an obligation, but a privilege," says Pat Chadwick, a calisthenics instructor at Gymless. "You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to reap the benefits of movement. All it takes is 30 minutes in the comfort of your own home to have an excellent bodyweight workout, where you can build serious strength and enhance the way you perform everyday tasks."
Amine Rahal, founder and CEO of Gymless, echoed this idea that calisthenics could be part of the solution for a sedentary lifestyle. "Most people who worked out pre-pandemic did so at a gym or at a public space such as a yoga or spin class. The pandemic forced all these spaces to shut down and millions of people found themselves stuck at home. At Gymless.org, our mission is to show people that they can get fit anywhere, with exercise routines that involve only their bodyweight and their environment."
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