Research

Less than a Quarter of Americans Get Enough Exercise – Do You?

Written by Allie

The state of American health is worse than we thought.

Only 23 percent of US adults meet activity guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise, according to new data published this week from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Even more startling, these numbers are an improvement.

Well, how much exercise are we supposed to get?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services federal activity guidelines recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, or an hour and fifteen minutes per week of vigorous physical activity with muscle-strengthening activities like weightlifting or resistance training twice a week.

Only 23% of Americans are getting enough exercise, according to the CDC
Only 23% of Americans are getting enough exercise, according to the CDC

In 2008, only 18.2 percent of US adults got that much.

As a result, the CDC’s Healthy People 2020 initiative set a goal to get just 20.1 percent of adults meeting activity guidelines by 2020. This week’s report revealed that we’ve now slightly surpassed that goal.

National Health Statistics Reports: Age-adjusted percentages of adults aged 18–64 who met both aerobic and muscle-strengthening federal guidelines, by state: United States, 2010–2015.
National Health Statistics Reports: Age-adjusted percentages of adults aged 18–64 who met both aerobic and muscle-strengthening federal guidelines, by state: United States, 2010–2015.

Data varies by location, as well as by race, education, and socioeconomic status. Thirteen states were significantly lower than the national average, most notably clustered in the warmer southeast region of the country.

The latest results show improvement, but the overall picture still demonstrates a major gap in American health and personal wellness. Because frankly, 23 percent is not enough. Exercise is really important, as it helps you take care of your heart, reduces the risk of diseases like Alzheimers, and ultimately helps you live longer (older people who exercise are healthier than younger people who don’t exercise)!

On that note, you might be interested to learn a bit more about why gym memberships may not be the best way to get into exercise.

Why does exercise matter?

Regular physical activity has many proven benefits across physical, mental, and emotional health. Getting enough exercise can lower your risk for chronic conditions, disability, and early death. Regular physical activity can help keep your brain and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also help lower your risk of depression, help you sleep better, and foster a more positive sense of self.

Not getting enough activity can also have a major effect on productivity and focus at work. The good news is moving in even small increments can add up to big changes for your fitness, focus, and energy!

If your employees are the type that sit at a desk full-time, or find it difficult to fit in exercise during their free time, consider the benefits of adding a strategic corporate wellness program.


Talk to us about how to get your employees to exercise (and be happier while doing it).