American Exercise Habits Remain Relatively Unchanged in 2011

Jennifer Rudloff

Last year, 51.6 percent of Americans reported exercising three days or more per week, a slight increase from the 51.4 percent who did so in 2010, Gallup reported March 15.

In addition, the number of Americans who got no exercise at all dipped half a percentage point — to 29.7 percent — in 2011, according to the latest findings of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. However, Americans’ overall exercise habits — aside from a small decrease in exercise rates in 2009 following the financial crisis — have remained essentially stable since Gallup began tracking that data in 2008.

In 2011, most overweight and obese Americans (66.9 percent) got no physical activity in a given week, while a slim majority (58.1 percent) of normal-weight adults worked out three or more days per week, the survey shows.

While doctors are increasingly prescribing exercise to patients and government initiatives such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign are working to get more people active, “moving the needle on a national scale remains a challenge,” the report says.

How often do you exercise? How does your employer help you get moving?

Topics: In the News Exercise Physical Health Research Well-Being Index Healthways Gallup