But don’t let the talk fool you. Only about half of Americans exercise regularly (at least three sessions a week for 30 minutes at a time), and the percentage of exercisers declined last year compared to 2008. These are some of the findings in the latest survey by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
For the annual study, researchers interview about 1,000 people per day. In a typical month, 28,000 to 30,000 interviews are conducted. The margin of error for monthly results is +/- 0.6 percentage point. Respondents are asked to report how many days in the past seven days they exercised for at least a half hour.
Other findings include:
- In addition to the 49.6% of Americans who reported that they exercised for at least 30 minutes three days per week, 18.5% said they exercised one or two days per week, and 31.3% reported they did not exercise on any day in the given week.
- Americans making more than $90,000 per year are more likely to be frequent exercisers -- 54.3% vs. the national average of 49.6%.
- Men, people living in the West, and people between the ages of 18 and 29 also are more likely to be regular exercisers.
- Among obese Americans, 40.4% of respondents said they do not exercise for at least 30 minutes any day of the given week. That is significantly higher than the percentage of non-exercisers in the overall study population.
- The percentage of Americans saying they exercised for at least 30 minutes at least one day per week decreased from an average of 69.1% in 2008 to 68.1% in 2009.