Physical Activity

What percentage of Americans do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity?


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Map showing the share of US adults that do not engage in physical activity.

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Physical activity has a lot of physical and mental health benefits. It helps you feel better, function better, sleep well and can even reduce anxiety.

According to the CDC, adults need 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This is about 30 minutes of physical activity for 5 days. Those 150 minutes don’t even have to consist of high intensity sports. Going for a walk, riding a bicycle or even heavy gardening can already be enough to get your recommended amount of physical activity. According to the CDC, only half of Americans get the physical activity they need.

A lot of people probably underestimate the benefits that physical activity can have. It can lower your risk of many diseases and conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, weight gain and heart disease. But it also benefits your mental health. It can improve your mood, overall mental health and cognitive function. On top of that, it also improves your sleep.

According to the CDC, there are still a significant number of Americans that do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity. On this map, we can see how big this group is in each state. The lowest rates can be found in Utah (18.5%) and Colorado (18.7%). D.C. (19%), Washington (19.2%), Montana (19.7%), Minnesota (19.9%) and Vermont (20%) also have a relatively low share.

There is one state that stands out negatively. Alabama has by far the largest share of people who do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity: 37.7%. Most of the other states with a large share of people who don’t engage in any leisure-time physical activity, are located in the Deep South and Appalachia.

Curious how this compares to the obesity rate? Check out this map of the obesity rate in the US.

Want some more inspiration and information about physical activity? Have a look at the CDC’s website to find out more!

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