160 Exercise Statistics You Should Know

Exercise stats show yoga is one of the most popular fitness classes in the U.S.
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Running, cycling, Pilates, at-home workouts — the list of exercise options is pretty much endless. Thanks to constant improvements in streaming services and other fitness technology, exercise is accessible to more people than ever, in studios and living rooms.

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Yet the number of adults who don't get the recommended physical activity for overall health is at a record low.

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How many people meet exercise goals in the U.S. and around the world? What are the actual benefits of exercising frequently? And what are the most popular fitness classes out there?

Read on to learn these exercise statistics and more.

Global Exercise Statistics

No matter where they live, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should aim to complete 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardio activity each week, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior. They should also aim for two or more muscle-strengthening sessions per week. (Note: The terms we use below for sex and gender reflect the language used in each cited source.)

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  • 1 in 4 adults don't meet the global recommended physical activity levels, according to the WHO.
  • More than 80% of the world's teens don't get enough physical activity.
  • In high-income countries, 26% of men and 35% of women don't get enough physical activity.
  • In low-income countries, 12% of men and 24% of women don't get enough physical activity.
  • The most popular form of exercise in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada among Fitbit users is running, according to Fitbit's worldwide Health & Activity Index.
  • The average weekly physical activity among adults in China dropped about 32 percent from 1991 to 2006, according to an April 2009 study in Social Science & Medicine.

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U.S. Exercise Statistics

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise each week, along with two strength training workouts. However, fewer than half of adults meet both of these recommendations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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  • 53.3% of adults in the U.S. meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity, according to the CDC.
  • 23.2% of adults meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
  • 33.2% of adults over the age of 20 were told by doctors that they need to increase their physical activity between 2011 and 2014, according to the CDC.
  • On average, Americans work out about 2.6 times per week, according to fitness technology platform MINDBODY.
  • More than 15% of adults in all U.S. states are physically inactive or don't exercise regularly, according to a January 2020 report by the CDC. Here's a look at the percentage of people who are physically active by state:
    • Alabama:​ 69%
    • Alaska:​ 79.7%
    • Arizona:​ 76.3%
    • Arkansas:​ 67.5%
    • California:​ 79.6%
    • Colorado:​ 82.7%
    • Connecticut:​ 77.3%
    • Delaware:​ 71.6%
    • Florida:​ 72%
    • Georgia:​ 71.5%
    • Hawaii:​ 78.4%
    • Idaho:​ 78.5%
    • Illinois:​ 75.7%
    • Indiana:​ 71.7%
    • Iowa:​ 75.8%
    • Kansas:​ 75%
    • Kentucky:​ 67.8%
    • Louisiana:​ 69.1%
    • Maine:​ 76.8%
    • Maryland:​ 76.1%
    • Massachusetts:​ 76.7%
    • Michigan:​ 74.9%
    • Minnesota:​ 78.8%
    • Mississippi:​ 67%
    • Missouri:​ 73.2%
    • Montana:​ 77.5%
    • Nebraska:​ 75.8%
    • Nevada:​ 74.4%
    • New Hampshire:​ 78.2%
    • New Jersey:​ 71.3%
    • New Mexico:​ 77.7%
    • New York:​ 73.4%
    • North Carolina:​ 75.3%
    • North Dakota:​ 75.4%
    • Ohio:​ 73%
    • Oklahoma:​ 69.8%
    • Oregon:​ 80.8%
    • Pennsylvania:​ 75.2%
    • Rhode Island:​ 74.1%
    • South Carolina:​ 72.8%
    • South Dakota:​ 77.7%
    • Tennessee:​ 70%
    • Texas:​ 72.1%
    • Utah:​ 81.4%
    • Vermont:​ 79.5%
    • Virginia:​ 76%
    • Washington:​ 81.7%
    • West Virginia:​ 70.2%
    • Wisconsin:​ 78.6%
    • Wyoming:​ 75.9%

The Most and Least Active States

The most physically active state is Colorado, while the least physically active state is Mississippi.

  • Walking is the most popular exercise in the U.S., with 30% of Americans participating, according to a 2016 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    • 8.9% participate in weight lifting, the second most popular form of exercise in the U.S.
    • 8.8% participate in running.
    • 8.7% use gym cardio equipment.

U.S. Exercise Statistics by City

  • According to a 2019 report conducted by ClassPass, a virtual fitness class platform:
    • Residents of Denver were most likely to take fitness classes at 7:30 a.m. or earlier.
    • Users in Chicago were most likely to book a class between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    • People in Miami were most likely to book a class at 8 p.m. or later.
    • Residents of Kansas City were most likely to reserve a class in a different city.
    • Users in Los Angeles were most likely to make last-minute reservations.
    • People in Salt Lake City were most likely to book class with a workout buddy.
    • Folks in Minneapolis were least likely to skip or cancel class.
    • Houston residents were most likely to book a Megaformer Pilates class.
    • New Yorkers made the most total reservations.
  • The most active cities in the U.S., according to how many citizens exercise at least once a week, per MINDBODY's 2020 Wellness Index, are:
    1. Los Angeles: 87%
    2. San Francisco: 83%
    3. San Diego: 82%
  • Tulsa is ranked as the least active city, with only 61% of residents exercising once per week.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Exercise Statistics by Age Group

Regular physical activity is important for people of all ages — and exercise is easily scalable for different fitness and ability levels — but it's often most common among younger adults.

Global Exercise Statistics by Age Group

Here's a look at the percentage of people in European countries who meet global health guidelines in various age groups, according to the WHO. (Note: Data is not available for every age group in every country, and countries track this data using different age ranges and measures of physical activity.)

  • Austria
    • 11 to 17: 17%
    • 18 to 64: 47%
    • 65 and older: 24%
  • Belgium
    • 6 to 9: 6%
    • 10 to 12: 23%
    • 18 to 65: 39%
    • 65 to 74: 30%
    • 75 and older: 12%
  • Bulgaria
    • 10 to 14: 33%
    • 15 to 19: 39%
    • 20 and older: 26%
  • Croatia
    • 18 to 64: 16%
    • 65 and older: 6%
  • Cyprus
    • 15 and younger: 21%
    • 15 and older: 19%
  • Czech Republic
    • 6 to 17: 20%
    • 18 to 64: 66%
  • Denmark
    • 16 to 64: 72%
    • 65 and older: 68%
  • England
    • 5 to 15: 22%
    • 19 to 64: 67%
    • 65 and older: 44%
  • Estonia
    • 11 to 15: 16%
    • 16 to 64: 42%
  • Finland
    • 10 to 11: 45%
    • 14 to 15: 19%
    • 16 to 17: 13%
    • 30 to 64: 56%
    • 65 and older: 36%
  • France
    • 3 to 10: 22%
    • 11 to 17: 32%
    • 18 to 44: 60%
    • 45 to 64: 66%
  • Germany
    • 3 to 6: 46%
    • 7 to 10: 27%
    • 11 to 13: 19%
    • 14 to 17: 12%
    • 18 to 64: 46%
    • 65 and older: 42%
  • Greece
    • 4 to 12: 59%
    • 18 to 64: 20%
  • Hungary
    • Under 18: 42%
    • 18 to 64: 31%
    • 65 and older: 12%
  • Iceland
    • 18 to 64: 73%
    • 65 and older: 68%
  • Ireland
    • 10 to 12: 19%
    • 12 to 18: 12%
    • 18 and older: 33%
  • Italy
    • 8 to 9: 82%
    • 11 to 15: 11%
    • 18 to 69: 31%
  • Latvia
    • 11 to 15: 19%
    • 15 to 64: 13%
    • 65 and older: 12%
  • Lithuania
    • 10 to 17: 10%
    • 18 and older: 80%
  • Luxembourg
    • 18 and older: 41%
  • Malta
    • 10 to 11: 25%
    • 18 to 64: 36%
    • 65 and older: 28%
  • Netherlands
    • 4 to 11: 56%
    • 12 to 17: 31%
    • 18 to 64: 50%
    • 65 and older: 37%
  • Northern Ireland
    • 11 to 16: 13%
    • 19 and older: 55%
  • Poland
    • 11 to 15: 24%
    • 15 to 69: 88%
  • Portugal
    • 10 to 11: 38%
    • 14 to 15: 12%
    • 15 and older: 35%
  • Romania
    • 15 and older: 30%
  • Scotland
    • 2 to 15: 76%
    • 16 and older: 63%
  • Slovakia
    • 15 to 17: 10%
    • 18 to 64: 12%
  • Slovenia
    • 25 to 64: 77%
    • 65 and older: 61%
  • Spain
    • 11 to 18: 24%
    • 18 to 69: 66%
  • Sweden
    • 18 to 64: 67%
    • 65 and older: 55%
  • Switzerland
    • 6 to 10: 89.5%
    • 11 to 16: 39.1%
    • 15 to 34: 80.2%
    • 35 to 49: 74.6%
    • 50 to 64: 74.5%
    • 65 and older: 72%
  • Wales
    • 3 to 7: 62%
    • 13 to 17: 39%
    • 19 and older: 59%

U.S. Exercise Statistics by Age Group

  • The percentage of U.S. adults who are physically inactive increases with age, according to America's Health Rankings 2020, a report created by the United Health Foundation:
    • 18 to 44: 22.4%
    • 45 to 64: 27.8%
    • 65 and older: 31%
  • The percentage of adults who meet both cardio and strength-training guidelines declines with age, according to 2018 data from the CDC:
    • 18 to 24: 33.8%
    • 25 to 44: 29.1 %
    • 55 to 64: 22.7%
    • 65 to 74: 15.7%
    • 75 and older: 8.7%

U.S. Exercise Statistics by Race and Ethnicity

In the majority of states across the U.S., adults who identify as Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black report the highest levels of inactivity and people who identify as white report exercising the most, according to the CDC.

Here's a look at the percentage of people who are physically inactive, according to their self-identified race or ethnicity, per the United Health Foundation. The terms we use below for race and ethnicity reflect the language used by the UHF.

  • American Indian or Alaskan Native: 29.4%
  • Asian: 20.4%
  • Black: 31.1%
  • Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 24.1%
  • Hispanic: 32.2%
  • Multiracial: 22.5%
  • White: 24%

Groups That Promote Diversity in Exercise

Fitness Class Statistics

Nearly 60 million Americans attended group fitness classes at least once a week in 2019, according to MINDBODY's 2020 Wellness Index. (This pre-pandemic number has likely gone down, considering most fitness classes are taking place virtually at the moment.)

Learn which classes topped the charts, which may pop up near you once studios are back open and which were the least popular.

  • The most popular fitness class activity in the U.S. was strength training, according to ClassPass.
  • ClassPass users were most likely to invite a friend to a boxing or a rowing class.
  • ClassPass introduced 14, 724 new fitness studios on the platform in 2019.
  • Tuesday was the most popular day of the week to attend a fitness class, per ClassPass.
  • February 19, 2019 was the most popular day of the year to go to a fitness class.
  • January 1, 2019 was the most popular rest day of the year.
  • 5:30 p.m. was the most popular time to attend a fitness class on weekdays, according to ClassPass.
  • 10 a.m. was the most popular time to take class on the weekends.
  • Megaformer Pilates was one of the fastest growing class trends in the country in 2019, per ClassPass.
    • ClassPass users took more than a million Megaformer classes in 2019.
    • Megaformer class reservations saw a 38.6% increase from 2018 to 2019.
  • Among ClassPass users who took classes weekly, these workouts were most popular:
    • Dance fitness: 20%
    • Restorative yoga: 13%
    • Power yoga: 11%
    • Mat Pilates: 5%
    • Gentle martial arts: 4%
    • Barre: 4%
    • Reformer Pilates: 2%

Cardio Exercise Statistics

Cardio looks different from person to person. While some love a jog around the block, others prefer quality time with their rowing machine. And with options like high-intensity interval training, indoor cycling and aerobics classes, there's a cardio exercise for just about everyone.

  • About 15 percent of people in the U.S. participate in some form of running or jogging, according to a 2020 report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Check out more interesting running statistics.
  • About 18.1 million people in the U.S. registered for road races in 2018, according to Running USA's 2019 U.S. Running Trends Report.
  • 15% of people attend cardio machine fitness classes each week, according to MINDBODY's 2020 Wellness Index.
    • 14% attend weekly aerobics classes.
    • 12% attend weekly indoor cycling classes.
    • 10% attend weekly HIIT classes.
  • Swimming is the fourth most popular recreational sport in the country, according to the CDC. Discover more interesting swimming statistics.
    • About 36% of children 7 to 17 years go for at least six swims per year.
    • Roughly 15% of adults swim at least six times annually.
  • About 870,000 people in the U.S. commute to work by bike — that's 0.6% of workers in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Learn more unique cycling statistics.
    • Around the world, cyclists logged 8.1 billion miles with 400 billion feet of elevation gain on Strava in 2020, according to Strava's 2020 Sport Data Report.

Strength-Training Statistics

Only about 30.2% of U.S. adults meet strength-training recommendations, according to a December 2018 study in the ​American Journal of Preventative Medicine​ and 57.8% report no strength training at all.

While cardio is crucial for heart health, the health benefits of strength training go way beyond building muscle.

  • In its annual predictions for the top fitness trends of the upcoming year, the American College of Sports Medicine ranked body-weight strength training 3rd and strength training with free weights 8th
  • 8 to 12 repetitions of strength-training exercises is recommended for beginners, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Two to three weekly strength sessions of 20 to 30 minutes each can improve muscle mass, bone strength and joint health.
  • Inactive adults lose about 3% to 8% of their muscle per decade, according to a July 2012 study in Current Sports Medicine Reports.
  • 10 weeks of strength training can lead to:
    • A 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) increase in muscle mass.
    • A 7% increase in metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories).
    • A 3.9-pound (1.8-kilogram) reduction in body fat.
  • 19% of people attended weekly strength-training classes in 2019, according to MINDBODY's 2020 Wellness Index.
  • The record for most push-ups in an hour is 2,806 reps, according to Guinness World Records.
  • The heaviest weight lifted in a two-minute bench press is 8,994.86 pounds, according to Guinness World Records.
  • The most pull-ups done in one minute is 54, per Guinness World Records.
  • Mathew Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey are the fittest athletes of all time, according to the 2020 CrossFit Games. Check out more interesting CrossFit statistics.
  • After 12 weeks of CrossFit training, athletes saw a 22% improvement in muscular endurance, according to a January 2014 ​​Journal of Sport and Human Performance​​ study​​.

Exercise Benefits Statistics

Meeting the exercise guidelines each week may seem like a challenge, but there's a reason those standards are promoted by both the CDC and WHO: There are so many benefits of regular exercise for both your mental and physical health.

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Exercise and Mental Health Statistics

  • Walking for about an hour or running for 15 minutes each day is linked to a reduced risk of depression, according a January 2019 study in JAMA Psychiatry.
  • Just 5 minutes of physical activity can boost your mood, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
  • People who exercise regularly experience 43.2% fewer days of poor mental health, according to an August 2018 study in ​The Lancet Psychiatry​.
  • On average, people who don't work out experience a little over 3 days of poor mental health per month, including symptoms of stress, depression and/or emotional concerns.
  • Three to five 45-minute workouts per week were associated with fewer mental health concerns.
  • Team sport participation was associated with 22.3% reduction in poor mental health days.
  • Cycling was associated with a 21.6% reduction in poor mental health days.
  • Gym activities were associated with a 20.1% reduction in poor mental health days.
  • As little as 10 minutes of exercise a day (or 1 full workout day per week) is linked to higher levels of happiness, according to an April 2019 review in the ​Journal of Happiness Studies​.

Exercise and Stress Statistics

  • 30% of adults report feeling less stressed after exercising, according to the APA's Stress in America Survey.
  • 43% of adults use exercise to manage stress.
  • 39% have skipped exercise when feeling overly stressed.
  • 62% of adults who use exercise to manage stress say the strategy is effective.
  • The percentage of exercisers who say they feel less stress after a workout varies by generation:
    • Teens: 32%
    • Millennials: 36%
    • Gen Xers: 31%
    • Boomers: 28%
    • Matures: 16%

Exercise and Heart Disease Statistics

  • 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S. is caused by heart disease, and physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are among the top contributing factors, according to the CDC.
  • Higher levels of physical activity are associated with a 21% reduction in heart attacks in men and a 29% reduction for women, according to a December 2013 study in Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports.
  • People who exercise more frequently have a 19% lower risk of high blood pressure than those who don't train as frequently, according to the American Heart Association.

Exercise and Life Expectancy Statistics

  • Regular physical activity is associated with a 0.4 to 6.9 year increase in life expectancy, according to a July 2012 review in the Journal of Aging Research.
  • At the population level, meeting the minimum physical activity guidelines may prevent about 46% of deaths associated with inactivity, according to a June 2019 study in The BMJ.

Exercise and Obesity Statistics

  • 52.2% of adults living with obesity were told by a health professional to increase their activity level, according to the CDC.
    • Less than 22% of adults who do not have obesity were told to be more active.
  • The rate of obesity for adults with activity limitations was 23.1% higher than for adults without limitations, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
    • 36.6% of adults with no activity limitations have obesity.
    • 45% of adults with activity limitations have obesity.

Exercise and Work Productivity Statistics

Exercise Injury Statistics

Exercise is generally a healthy and safe activity, but injuries do happen. Knowing how those accidents happen can help you stay safe in your workouts.

  • Among active adults, 21.5% reported an injury in the last 12 months, according to a December 2018 study in ​Injury Epidemiology​.
  • The number of people injured by sports and recreational equipment in 2019 varies by age, according to the National Safety Council:
    • 0 to 4: 158,217 people
    • 5 to 14: 1,285,055 people
    • 15 to 24: 959,768 people
    • 25 to 64: 1,079,792 people
    • 65 and older: 24,454 people
  • In 2019, more than 3 million injuries that resulted in trips to the emergency department in the U.S. were caused by sports and recreational activities, according to the National Safety Council.
    • 468, 315 of these injuries were caused by exercise or exercise equipment.
    • 417,485 of these injuries were caused by bicycles or bicycle equipment.
    • 403,980 of these injuries were caused by basketball.
  • More than 3.5 million kids 14 and younger get injured each year playing sports, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
    • 21% of all brain injuries to kids are caused by sports or recreational activities.

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