Nearly 80 Percent of Adults Don’t Get Enough Exercise

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About half of Americans are not meeting minimum federal guidelines for aerobic activities such as brisk walking, and far fewer are doing strength training exercises like push-ups.

New statistics from a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say we aren’t getting enough exercise — exercise that would lower a host of risks, ranging from heart disease to hip fractures.

About 79 percent of adults don’t get the federal government’s recommended minimum amount of exercise. That’s at least 2 1/2 hours per week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) or 1 1/4 hours per week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging), along with two muscle-strengthening activities a week (such as push-ups or sit-ups).

Slightly more than half of the more than 450,000 people surveyed said they met the aerobic guideline, while less than a third claimed to meet the strength training guideline.

The data were self-reported during an annual phone survey, and self-reported responses mean the figures may actually underestimate the extent of the problem. Other research suggests as much, USA Today says. The National Cancer Institute found that fewer than 5 percent of American adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, the paper says.

People in West Virginia and Tennessee were least likely to say they got enough exercise (12.7 percent) while people in Colorado were most likely (27.3 percent). By region, the West and Northeast were most likely to meet the government’s recommended exercise levels. Nationally, men were about 5 percent more likely than women to claim they exercised enough (23.4 percent of men and 17.9 percent of women did).

We recently wrote about a study that showed you don’t need to hit the gym to get good exercise — just be active. You could take walks, play sports, dance, or take on physically demanding chores like mowing the lawn or gardening.

Stacy Johnson

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