Only about 16% of people in the US participated in sports and exercise activities on an average day in recent years, about a fifth of the number who watch TV on an average day, according a Labor Department spotlight based on the American Time Use Survey. Almost 75% of people who engaged in a sports and exercise activity on an average day in 2003-06 did so for less than two hours. However, the amount of time varies considerably by the type of activity. Those who used cardiovascular exercise equipment, did aerobics, ran, lifted weights, walked or did yoga spent the least time exercising, the Labor Department said. Those who danced, played baseball or softball, bowled, played football, hiked or golfed spent the most time doing sports activities.
Walking was the most popular form of exercising, but it was most popular with people over 25 years old. Basketball, which was the most commonly played team sport, was a bigger hit with people between 15 and 24.
Meanwhile, there was a wide disparity across the country in the number of people who exercised. People living in the Pacific, New England, and Mountain regions of the country are more likely to participate in sports or exercise activities than those in other regions, the Labor Department said. In fact, those living in the Pacific region are about 50% more likely to exercise on an average day than are those in the East South Central and West South Central regions.
There was also a major disparity based on education. Americans with at least a college degree were more than twice as likely to exercise as those with a high school diploma or less.