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We Don’t Exercise Enough (Shocked?)

Posted: May 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm
Categories: Research

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report confirm what we know only too well: We have a hard time meeting the government’s recommended physical activity guidelines.

That means we don’t walk for 30 minutes each day, we don’t do something more vigorous for 75 minutes total each week, and we don’t do the recommended push-ups and sit-ups at least twice a week. About 50% of adults reach the aerobic activity goals and 30% do the push-ups and sit-ups. Put them together, however, and only 20% of American adults meet these combined guidelines.

It could be our overall responsibilities are getting in the way. A study from Ohio State University’s College of Public Health found we shortchange our workouts if we’re responsible for dinner too. Ten minutes needed to prep dinner are ten minutes cut from a workout. Interestingly, things are worse for childless men. They trade off activities completely, so that a day requiring their being behind the stove means a day not behind a barbell at all.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index looks at perhaps another factor. Since 2009, they’ve tracked exercise activity year over year. This year they saw a downward trend compared to 2012 (but equal to 2011). According to Gallup, one possible reason could be the warmer weather conditions we experienced in 2012.

This sort of information helps us dissect at least some of what keeps us from getting out there and doing it. It also helps us figure out solutions, like fitting exercise into life’s margins—exercising at work and working while exercising. Check out our earlier post on 5 creative ways companies are doing just this.

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