Where people exercise — and where they don’t
Americans are getting a move on.
A higher percentage of Americans than ever are exercising regularly, according to data on 189 U.S. communities released Tuesday by polling organization Gallup and digital health company Sharecare. More than half of Americans (53.4%) say they exercised at least 30 minutes for three days in the past week — the highest level ever recorded since the organizations began collecting this data in 2008. What’s more, the portion of U.S. adults who say they don’t exercise at all is down by nearly three points, to 27.4%.
In some communities, the numbers of residents who exercise regularly are particularly high: In Boulder, nearly 70% of residents say they exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. That’s followed by Fort Collins (68%) and the San Luis Obispo area (67%).
But in other communities, most residents don’t exercise regularly. Indeed, fewer than 42% of adults in the Hickory, Lenoir and Morgantown areas of North Carolina say they get 30+ minutes three times a week — making it the city with the lowest percentage of regular exercisers. That’s followed by Akron, Ohio (45%), Cedar Rapids, Iowa (46%), Montgomery, Alabama (46%) and Toledo, Ohio (47%).
“The reason you see such good exercise in Colorado and California … has to do with culture – places that support active movement and an active lifestyle have higher exercise rates,” explains Dan Witters, Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index research director. “Public policy also matters – for instance, investing in walking and biking paths and green space significantly helps in enhancing exercise habits. Bike sharing programs, like what you find in many communities in Colorado and California, are a good example of this. All of these are things that the lowest-exercising communities generally lack, giving them good best practices to emulate.”
Communities where people exercise regularly are feeling the health benefits from all that activity: “High-exercise communities, many of which are in Colorado and California, have significantly lower incidence of chronic disease with approximately 30% less obesity, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart attack than the lowest 10 communities, several of which are in Ohio” Gallup and Sharecare note.
Those health issues can cost you — literally. Obese people have medical costs that are $1,429 higher every year than those who are normal weight. And carrying around extra weight can impact your career, too. Overweight people tend to earn less and have a harder time finding work than their leaner counterparts.
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