Statistics on Physical Fitness

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Statistics on physical fitness are a good place to start for understanding the risk factors that result from a sedentary lifestyle and how your fitness level compares to the majority. Physical fitness statistics can help you understand why it's important to rise above the average person's fitness level, since the average person is NOT getting enough exercise.

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to many forms of disease, which are discussed below. To lower your risk substantially for such conditions, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle and exercise regularly.

Obesity rates are higher than ever in the U.S. and even kids aren't active enough. For a comprehensive picture of where you sit on the spectrum, take a look below at the various statistics on physical fitness.

Statistics for Regular Exercise:

  • Adults who do NOT exercise regularly: 7 out of 10 (70%!)
  • Adults who are not active AT ALL: 37%!!

Obesity Rates:

  • Overweight or obese adults in U.S.: 63%!! (those who have a body mass index of 25 or over, where 18.5 to 24.9 is normal. 36% overweight / 26.5% obese)
  • Overweight children, ages 6 to 17: 1 out of 5 in the U.S.! (Nearly tripled since 1970.)

Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle:

  • Premature Death:
    > Sitting still for more than 11 hours per day raises the chance for premature death by 40% compared to those who sit fewer than 4 hours per day.

    > In 2004, a lack of physical activity was attributed to 20% of all deaths for people 35 and older, according to a study reported in the South China Morning Post and carried out by the University of Hong Kong and the Department of Health.
  • High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol:
    > Being overweight (63% of adults in the U.S.) doubles your risk of having high blood pressure and cholesterol (two of the highest risk factors for heart disease).

    > One in three people in the U.S. has high blood pressure.

  • Heart Disease:
    > Majorly linked to high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

    > Over half a million people died from heart disease in 2008 (25% of all people) and the numbers are not declining! That's one in four people in the U.S. EVERY YEAR!

    Men who are inactive have a 52% higher chance of dying from heart disease.

    > Women have a
    28% higher risk of death from heart disease if they are inactive.

    is one of the biggest factors in lowering your risk for heart disease.

  Risk Factor for Heart Disease (2005-2008)    %  
  Inactivity   53  
  Obesity   34  
  High Blood Pressure   32  
  Cigarette Smoking   21  
  High Cholesterol   15  
  Diabetes   11  

  • Type 2 Diabetes:
    People who are overweight are two times as likely to develop diabetes.

    80% of people with diabetes are overweight! You think there's a link?

  • Stroke:
    > Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Major risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.

  • Cancer:
    Overweight individuals are at an increased risk for colon, esophagus, kidney and other kinds of cancer.

    > Men are 45% more likely to die from cancer if they live a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle.

    > Women are 28% more likely to die from cancer than those who exercise regularly.

    > Even just a little exercise will help so much to lower risk for cancer!... we're talking a minimum of 30 minutes, three times a week!

  • Increased Risk for Mortality:
    > Inactivity doubles the risk for mortality in elderly woman and increases the risk by 30% for elderly men.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

  • Regular moderate exercise or other physical activity in addition to a balanced diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 50-60% for those at high risk! That's a major risk reduction for diabetes!

  • For those who are hypertensive, blood pressure can be decreased by approximately 75% by exercising regularly.

  • For those over 40 who remain active, risk of stroke is reduced by 50% compared to those who become inactive.

  • Moderate physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease by 27-41%! Heart disease is the number one killer in U.S.

Forms of Exercise Listed by Popularity
and Percentage of People Participating (2004)

  Sport/Exercise     %  
  Walking   37.2  
  Swimming   18.3  
  Aerobics   16.0  
  Tennis   9.8  
  Cycling   9.1  
  Golf   8.7  
  Running   8.0  
  Soccer   6.2  
  Surfing   4.4  

Forms of Exercise Listed in Order of Biggest Payoff

  1. Running (7 mph)
  2. Cycling (moderate effort)
  3. Soccer (competitive)
  4. Swimming (moderate to hard)
  5. Cross-Country Skiing (fast, 5-8 mph)
  6. Tennis (singles)
  7. Volleyball (competitive)
  8. Jogging (6 mph)
  9. Jogging (5 mph)
  10. Hiking (steep grades, vigorous)
  11. Swimming (leisurely)
  12. Tennis (doubles)
  13. Walking (very briskly)
  14. Golf
  15. Walking (leisurely)

Metabolic Equivalent of Various Exercises
(energy output)

Metabolic Equivalent for Exercises Table

From statistics on physical fitness you can get a better understanding about your risk factors when it comes to mortality, death rates, and the various health conditions and diseases that we face as a country and a globe. Exercise and physical fitness are major players in reducing your risks, and all it takes is one step at a time!

Check out these physical fitness exercises to build an exercise routine for yourself and learn how to increase lean muscle, which is literally an incinerator for fat!

Read more about the major benefits of fitness, how to lose weight and burn fat, or helpful tips to decrease fatigue and get active!

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