Working Out With The Data: Fitness Statistics (Good, Bad, Scary!)

When you look at the health and fitness market, the latest research shows that nearly 30% of US residents are inactive. The result isn’t great, however if you look at year on year increases things are definitely improving.

We’ve compiled some of the most shocking fitness statistics to show you who is moving, how they’re moving and how the US stacks up against other countries around the world.

Key statistics on fitness: infographic

Fitness Statistics – infographic

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Survival of the Fittest: Fitness Stats by Demographic

Men vs Women

When it comes to the battle of the sexes, there are definite differences in the types of exercise men and women enjoy, and differing motivating factors.

In terms of who is coming out on top, research found that men (54%) are more likely than women (46%) to meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity when you look at the female fitness statistics.

Did You Know?

Females are more motivated by group classes, whereas a majority of men feel self-conscious and awkward.


Appearance and seeing physical changes is the most motivating factor for physical exercise for both men and women.

Active Kids

According to the latest statistics, less than 30% of high school students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, however they are performing better than their adult counterparts.

Did You Know?

Over 90% of US high school students don’t get enough exercise to stay fit and healthy, and the pattern persists after graduation.

North vs South

Where you live in the country seems to make a difference to how active you are, with those living in South for example Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi doing less exercise than those in the North for example Utah, Maine and Ohio – according to participation statistics.

Did You Know?

Americans living in the South and Midwest are less likely to be physically active than Americans living in the West and Northeast.

Exercise Makes Cents

There seems to be a gap between those in higher income and lower income households when it comes to physical activity.

Research shows that households with a lower income have the lowest activity rates, with nearly half being inactive in 2016. Households with an income of over $50,000 in comparison had a higher activity rate, however they show a decrease in activity over the last three years.

Did You Know?

Adults with a higher level of education are more likely to do more aerobic activity than those with less education.

Fittie Cities

Wondering how different cities in the US stack up against each other? Well using data gathered by Fitbit, the following cities topped the fit list!

  1. Duluth, Minnesota
  2. Appleton, Wisconsin
  3. Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  4. Boulder, Colorado
  5. Bellingham, Washington

Did You Know?

The lucky people of Eau Claire, Wisconsin are the ones getting the most sleep!

Though it may seem like the US is a fairly inactive nation, it certainly isn’t the worst offender!

In fact, in a piece of research, the US was way down at 46th place with Malta leading the way as the most inactive country in the global fitness statistics.

Did You Know?

The United Kingdom came higher on the list than the United States, ranked as the 9th most inactive region of the world.

Keep on Running: Fitness Stats by Type of Exercise

So the US is keeping moving in many different ways, with over 54 million registered health club members and even more doing exercise at home, people are choosing a variety of different ways to keep fit according to the latest health and fitness statistics.

Most Popular Ways to Stay Active – Workout Statistics

Walking is the most popular way that people choose to stay active in the US, with 117 million people choosing this as the way to get moving, closely followed by running and jogging both outside and on the treadmill. Here are the top ten activities to stay active in the US:

  1. Walking for Fitness
  2. Running/Jogging
  3. Treadmill
  4. Bowling
  5. Free Weights (Hand Weights)
  6. Cycling (Road/Paved Surface)
  7. Weight/Resistance Machines
  8. Stretching
  9. Hiking
  10. Swimming

Did You Know?

Bowling is the 4th most popular way to stay active in the US.

Taking the HIIT

One of the biggest fitness trends in the US is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

According to the latest journal published by the American College of Sports Medicine, it has grown in popularity since 2014, and receives mixed reviews from experts in terms of its effectiveness.

In terms of other trends, The American College of Sports Medicine each year has published the top 20 trends in Fitness, here are the top 10 of these trends for 2017:

  1. Wearable Technology
  2. Body Weight Training
  3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  4. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals
  5. Strength Training
  6. Group Training
  7. Exercise is Medicine
  8. Yoga
  9. Personal Training
  10. Exercise and Weight Loss

Talking About My Generation

When it comes to different generations the top ways to stay active remain the same, however studies show the older generations are much less interested in water sports than the Millennials, however much more focussed on fitness activities such as aerobics.

Did You Know?

The Baby Boomer generation is the least active, with more than a third of the generation inactive.

No Pain No Gain: Fitness Stats by Frequency

The Clock is Ticking

The average amount of time spent exercising each day, for those aged over 15 who exercise regularly, is between 30 and 59 minutes.

Did You Know?

Those who do activities such as playing football, golf or going hiking, spend more time each day exercising than those that run, do aerobics or yoga.

Did You Know?

Adults living in Vermont (65.3%) are the most likely to report exercising three or more days a week for at least 30 minutes.

Don’t Sweat It: Fitness Stats by Motivation

Ahead of the Competition

A recent study identified competition as the leading motivator for exercise. Part of the study compared competition to online support, however competition certainly led the way in terms of getting people moving!

Did You Know?

Research suggests that half of people starting an exercise program will drop out in the first 6 months.

You Are What You Eat: Fitness Stats by Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, the US is widely recognised as one of the most obese places in the world to live according to the latest data.

It is believed that 30.4% of US adults aged 20 and older are obese, a figure which is growing year on year showing on an ongoing trend.

Did You Know?

More than 97 million adult Americans are grossly overweight.

Did You Know?

The majority of Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products and oils.

All the Gear and a Big Idea: Fitness Stats by Tracking Tools

Wearable technology and smartphone tracking tools are one of the biggest changes to the world of exercise. See below how the fitness app statistics stack up.

You Wear It Well

The wearables market has grown quickly, with sales exceeding $2 billion in 2015, and the market is expected to triple by 2018! Fitbit currently holds the largest market share closely followed by Apple.

Did You Know?

Smartwatches lead the wearables market, accounting for 59% of wearable sales in 2015.

Exercise? There’s An App For That

There are over 8,000 health and fitness apps available on the market, and it’s believed that just over half of mobile phone users in the US have downloaded a fitness app at some point.

According to market intelligence organization SimilarWeb, here are the top 10 of the most popular health and fitness apps available in the marketplace:

  1. Fitbit
  2. Running for Weight Loss: Workout & Meal Plans
  3. My Fitness Pal
  4. Flo Period Tracker
  5. Fitness for Weight Loss: Personalized Workout Plan
  6. Aaptiv: #1 Audio Fitness App
  7. 8fit – Workouts, meal planner and personal trainer
  8. Clue Period Tracker: Period & Ovulation Tracker
  9. Calm: Meditation to Relax, Focus & Sleep Better
  10. Sweat: Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Fitness Workouts

Did You Know?

Fitbit has over 10 million users across the US.

Money: Fitness Stats by Cost

Staying fit comes at a cost, with the US spending over $10 billion on fitness equipment in 2015.

Over half of the sales are believed to have come from cardiovascular fitness equipment including treadmills and steppers.

Did You Know?

$27 billion is the amount spent annually on yoga products.


The global health and fitness club industry generated an estimated revenue of $83.15 billion in 2015.


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  6. Physical Activity Council (see footnote 1)
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  10. PHIT America (2014) Top 10 Athletic Activities In The USA. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 July 2017].
  11. Physical Activity Council (see footnote 1)
  12. Physical Activity Council (see footnote 1)
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  16. Epstein, Z. (2016) CDC study finds America has never been more obese. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 July 2017].
  17. Statista (2017) Forecast market value wearable devices worldwide 2012-2018. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 July 2017].
  18. Statista (2017) Wearables shipments worldwide market share by vendor 2014-2016. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 July 2017].
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  20. Krebs, P. & Duncan, D.T. (2015) Health App Use Among US Mobile Phone Owners: A National Survey. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 July 2017].
  21. Kosecki, D. (see footnote 8)
  22. WorldLifestyle (2017) How much does fitness cost?. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 July 2017].
  23. Statista (2017) Health & Fitness Clubs. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 July 2017].