30 Fat-Melting Exercise Statistics to Get You Motivated (2020)

Last modified: October 11, 2020

We’ve all heard stories of how exercising is good for you. Yet, is there any evidence to support this claim? Read the following exercise statistics and find out!

Physical activity in all shapes and forms is currently experiencing one of its most alarming states of affairs. Despite the numerous studies and disturbing exercise statistics swarming the medical publications, people tend to stick to their leisurely ways. While this has been a growing trend since the second half of the 20th century, it is more of a modern-day illness; a medical condition that is threatening the well-being of modern-age humans.

After all, automated processes taking care of everyday drudgery used to be a privilege. Nowadays, it just comes down to avoiding doing mundane things yourself.

Major health organizations in the US and worldwide have been releasing sedentary lifestyle statistics, which indicate the major drawbacks of this way of living. And while some progress does appear, health risks such as being overweight, obesity, cardiovascular, diabetic, and even cancerous health risks are still present.

The facts presented below are just a summary of some of the most distressing stats on physical activity among US residents, i.e., the lack thereof, as well as a wider scale overview of global proportions.

Essential Exercise Statistics (Editor’s Pick)

  • Statistics show that less than 23% of average American adults meet PA requirements.
  • 82.1 million US residents aged six and above don’t exercise at all.
  • Lack of proper exercise incurs $117 billion in health costs per annum for the US government.
  • The Republic of Malta has the highest number of inactive residents, up to 72%.
  • More than 97 million US adults are overweight.
  • 15,000 military applicants can’t qualify due to weight problems.
  • People with higher education and income exercise more regularly.
  • 3% of US adults suffer from exercise addiction.

The Average American Exercise Statistics

1. The average percentage of adults in the US that meet the necessary physical activity guidelines is 22.9%.

This clearly shows the lack of exercise in the USA; particularly when you consider that children, adolescents, and adults all have a range of suggested activities to perform regularly. Across the nation’s territory, there is a higher percentage of physical engagement among residents of western and northwestern states, as well as a lower percentage of engagement among residents living in midwestern and southeastern states.

Source: Popular Science

2. Only half of all US adults get the exercise they need, while about the same number of them live with a chronic disease.

The benefits of exercise are both obvious and invisible to the human eye. While keeping your body in shape is definitely an advantage, physical activity has also been known to prevent the development of multiple medical conditions, or at least reduce their effect.

In contrast, roughly 50% of the entire US population lives with a chronic illness; half of them suffer from two conditions or more.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

3. Fitness facts show that 82.1 million Americans aged six or more don’t engage in any exercise.

These 82.1 million US residents reported that, outside of their regular daily activities (yard work, cleaning, and the like), they do not engage in any specific physical activity. As a result, the sports and fitness industry began presenting some of the benefits of everyday exercise and any type of physical activity in general.

Still, more than a quarter of the US population continued the unhealthy trend of avoiding the implications of not exercising, as shown in the latest exercise statistics report for 2018.

Source: Physical Activity Council

4. Average and higher-income households are more physically active than lower-income ones.Proof of this trend has been found across five years of meticulous research and reporting, from 2013 to 2018. Results continue to indicate a growing inactivity rate among households with less than $50,000 in annual income. For those with less than $25,000, the rate was higher by almost 10% over the given timeframe.

On the other hand, households with higher income showed a gradually reduced inactivity rate due to easier access to the proper info, education, and healthier foods, illustrating the relation between American exercise statistics and income.

Source: Physical Activity Council

5. $117 billion in annual health costs in the US are attributed to improper physical activity.

The costs connected with the lack of exercise is an ever-growing burden on the US federal budget. The government should probably do a lot more to incentivize citizens to work out more frequently. Not only would this strategy reduce its expenses, but more importantly, the overall health of the nation would significantly increase.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What percentage of people exercise daily?

When it comes to the recommended practice regimes, only 23% of the entire US population exercises on a daily basis. This percentage is slightly higher for the European continent, with about 50% of the population engaging in regular daily activity; namely, exercise. For adolescents alone, the global estimate of insufficiently physically active teens accounts for as much as 80% of the population.

Exercise Stats Worldwide

6. More than 80% of the global population of adolescents is insufficiently physically active.

Exercise and physical activity play a major role in the overall physical development of this age group. Nevertheless, over three-quarters of the global population of adolescents are not engaging in any sports or physical activity.

Just in the USA, children spend up to seven hours in front of screens, and high school students play video games for about three hours on an average school day.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

7. The Republic of Malta is at the very top of the list in the lack of exercise statistics report, with 72% of residents being insufficiently active.

Other surprising data include the fact that the US ranks only 46th among the 119 countries. Swaziland and Saudi Arabia take second and third place (respectively), with 69% and 68.8% of inactive residents. Serbia follows suit with 68.3%, the same as Argentina, followed by Micronesia with 66.3% of physically inactive inhabitants.

Source: The Atlantic

8. The WHO member states have taken up the task of reducing 10% of their insufficient physical activity rates by 2025.

A major driver to instigate such a change has been the open promotion of the many benefits of physical activity among the general public. The WHO lists improved bone and muscle structures, cardiovascular functions, as well as weight control and energy balance as key advantages gained from regular exercises.

At the same time, it has been emphasized that this practice reduces risks of hypertension, different types of cancer, strokes, diabetes, and other conditions.

Source: World Health Organization

9. European exercise statistics in 2017 labeled 49.8% of people as insufficiently active, while less than a third exercise regularly according to recommendations.

According to this, the active population is divided between 34.5% of those who are men and 25.6% of women. As for separate countries, the highest rates of physical activities were noted in Finland and Denmark — 54.1% and 53.4%, respectively.

The exercise rate in Sweden is close to Denmark — 53.1%, followed by 49.8% in Austria and 47.3% in Germany.

Source: European Commission — Eurostat

American Eating Habits — US Nutrition Statistics

Despite having an abundance of food choices, US residents are still not getting the proper ratios of nutrients for a proper diet. As a result, Federal nutrition programs have come to include Dietary Guidelines. It contains an update on the proper dietary habits for babies and pregnant women, which is included in the new 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines publication.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture — Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

11. In a dieting statistics report, the CDC discovered that more than 97 million US adults are overweight.

According to the report, more than 30.4% of adults who are 20 years of age or older are obese, with a Body Mass Index of 30+. This remains a persistent trend among US citizens who have gradually been gaining weight for about two decades now.

Since 1997, a single decline has been recorded between the years 2002 and 2003, only to take up a soaring tendency the following year.

Source: BGR.com

12. Between 1997 and 2008, exercise facts show that obesity rates across all age groups increased at least two times.

A lot has changed during the decade-long timeframe, but not for the better when it comes to physical activity statistics. The percentage of obese children age 2–5 has doubled from 5% in 1997 to 10% in 2008. It’s similar with adults — from 15% up to 34% over the same period.

Children aged 6 to 11 have spiked obesity rates from a low 4% in 1997 to 20% in 2008. A slightly less drastic increase is noted in children aged 12–19 – 6% to 18%.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

13. Diseases caused by unhealthy eating habits are not the only threat here  national security is also affected by obesity rates.

It has been estimated that about 27% of young US citizens are unable to serve their country as a result of obesity caused by sedentary lifestyle habits and bad diets. Annually, about 15,000 applicants fail to pass physicals due to weight issues. In fact, this has been known as the leading cause of medical disqualification — up to 23.3% of them are dismissed because of “excessive weight and/or body fat.”

Source: American Heart Association

One of the most alarming US nutrition and fitness facts, both due to the medical repercussions of such intakes and the budget burdens associated with them. More specifically, the US budget would be able to save up to $20 billion a year if the average US resident would simply hold on to the suggested dose of sodium.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Likewise, the entire population of the US is under threat simply because of their high sodium intake levels. This, along with higher intake levels of empty calories, refined grains, and saturated fat are an almost regular part of their dietary habits.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

US Sports Participation Statistics

16. Since 2003, the average sports participation has risen by 3.6%.

According to the latest estimates, men’s interests in sports rose by 4.9%, reaching 21.4% of the population. On the other hand, women’s participation in sports increased by 2.3%, climbing up from 15.4% to 17.7%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

17. Higher educated individuals practice more sports.

During the 2003–2008 period, the lack of exercise in America was most notable among people who had a high school education or less, with only 10% of them participating in sports. The number has risen slightly during 2009–2015, up to 11.3%. During the respective timeframes, around 24.3% of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher participated in some sport.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Exercise statistics from  2016 show that walking was firmly at the top of the most popular physical activities in the US. Furthermore, despite being hailed as the “American pastime,” baseball ranked much (much) lower, with only 1.4% of engagement. Conversely, Weight-lifting came second (after walking) with a staggering 30% of engagement.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

19. There are now 18% more athletes among students than in 2009.

Now, concerning college students and exercise statistics, the current prospects are looking good. Namely, data indicates that this target group is doing a better job than the rest, thus far. According to the NCAA, the reason why they have experienced a rise of 73,823 spots on their rosters is mainly due to there being 18% more student-athletes now than a decade ago. The highest number of student-athletes ever to be recorded was 494,992.

Source: The National Collegiate Athletic Association

What percent of college students exercise?

During the transition from high school to college, students report that their physical activities decreased quite significantly. According to statistics drawn up by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 65% of high school students engaged in vigorous physical activity and 26% of them engaged in moderate exercise. On the other hand, only 38% and 20% of college students participated in said activities, according to the latest exercise statistics.

Fitness Facts and Tips

20. Only 10% of people are successful at losing weight from dieting alone.

One of the most widely known health facts refers to weight loss, stating that a combination of proper eating habits and exercise is the best way to regulate body weight. According to a study from the National Weight Control Registry, 89% of people need to use both methods to lose weight effectively. On the other hand, only 10% of people were able to do so solely by dieting.

Source: The Good Body

Along with wearable tech gadgets and high-intensity interval workout routines, they are considered the current leading trends. People have turned away from weight lifting and lighter routines to adopt a faster way to exercise, matching their current lifestyles.

Source: The Good Body

22. Apps, wearable tech, and smartphone technology track your fitness routine.

Almost everyone who practice some kind of physical activity has an app for it, just to keep track of their progress. These apps rank as the most downloaded software products for smartphones and tablets, with many related wearable gadgets such as Fitbit. Either way, this trend has greatly facilitated the process of accumulating stats and fitness facts directly from the source.

Source: The Good Body

23. Up to 3% of adults in the US are addicted to exercises.

Some individuals have an increased risk of developing this addiction than others. This includes sports professionals, with runners facing a 25%, marathon runners 50%, and triathletes a 52% chance of developing exercise addiction.

What’s more, even amateurs who tie their regular exercise routines to a specific device are more likely to develop this condition. According to exercise addiction statistics and research, any form of physical activity that turns a positive experience to an impediment to one’s professional and social life is an addiction. This might seem contradictory (as exercise is generally viewed as a good thing), but there is a thing as too much exercise.

Although signs may be subtle at first, the issue quickly develops into something more sinister and life-changing. Over time, more tangible indications (of this addiction) can be identified and treated properly.

Source: The Recovery Village

Risks and Exercise Injury Statistics

24. More than 3.5 million children aged 14 or less are hospitalized annually due to some kind of physical activity or sports injury.

The number of physically active youngsters is thankfully on the rise, with 30 million noted over the past year to be participating in some form of organized sport. However, out of these, 3.5 million who are 14 years old or below receive medical treatment for their injuries.

Source: Stanford Children’s Health

25. Nearly 62% of these injuries tend to happen during practice.

The collected and analyzed exercise statistics data indicates that, out of all injuries reported among youngsters aged 14 or below (3.5 million), as well as high-schoolers (2 million), more than half occurred during practice. The lack of proper equipment, warm-up, and other precautionary measures (typically during sports matches) are the primary causes of such incidents.

Source: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine — Stop Sports Injuries

26. Up to 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among US children can be accounted for sports and physical activity injuries.

Sports activities cause a little over a fifth of all US brain trauma in children.

Source: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine — Stop Sports Injuries

27. Physical activity statistics in college students show that concussions are among the leading injuries that can result in death.

A major reason for this conclusion is the “second impact syndrome.” For example, a college student may only suffer a minor concussion. Now, if they receive yet another blow to the head, the patient has a much higher chance of dying as a result of that second concussion.

Ice hockey and football are among the top sports that report such incidents, much less than soccer.

Source: SportsRec

Exercise and Mental Health Statistics

28. Exercise helps you feel and think better.

The endorphins released during physical activities are not only able to cheer you up, but will also help you think sharper, memorize faster, and improve your self-esteem.

Source: HelpGuide

29. Intentional physical activity can practically cure your depression, latest stats show.

Depression is considered one of the leading mental illnesses of the modern age, and one that can be rather difficult to cure. Exercise and depression statistics were initially ignited by some indication of improvement with depression patients that were exercising regularly.

American psychologist, James Blumenthal, and his colleagues at Duke University, Durham, NC, conducted a study between exercise-only, exercise-and-medication, and medication-only patient treatments. They additionally surveyed results from groups treated with placebo meds.

While short-term effects saw medication to be most helpful out of the three, the exercise proved much better in the long run, with only 8% of the subjects experiencing a later relapse, as opposed to 31% and 38% of the remaining two groups, respectively.

Source: What Doctors Don’t Tell You

30. Exercise and stress statistics show a benevolent combination of the two among teens and adults.

Teens suffering from stress that practice only once a week rate their stress levels to be at 4.4 out of 10, as opposed to the 5.1 average stress level indicated by insufficiently physically active teens. This is a notable gap, considering the (small) amount of exercise the first group endured.

Adults coping with a lot of stress are also known to experience the benefits of exercise — up to 33% of highly stressed adults report feeling less stressed after a single workout session, compared to only 18% of low-stressed adults giving the same report.

Source: American Psychological Associationuctus

Conclusion

Over time, these activity trends have been known to change as people’s everyday habits alter to fit their new lifestyles. With the development of the sports industry, recreational centers, and gyms, regular exercising got much closer to their everyday lives. These, along with medical and other health-concerned organizations, are constantly promoting the numerous benefits of physical activity.

Even at that, the majority of the public still considers this to be one of the hardest hobbies to take up. The stats presented thus far are intended to prompt a more positive point of view and inspire people to take a more active, and consequently, healthier lifestyle. After all, there is no point in doubting the truth behind this statement, especially after all the stats we’ve presented thus far.

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