Life gets in the way: Nearly half of Americans want to exercise, but don’t have time

NEW YORK — It seems most Americans know what they have to do to be happier, but just don’t have the time. A survey of 2,000 American adults found that 79% said they feel generally happier when they stick to a regular exercise routine. However, 48% also said they’re too busy from work and other obligations to exercise at all.

Not enough hours in the day wasn’t the only exercise obstacle listed, either. In all, 51% of respondents said sitting at their desks for eight hours each day drains them of energy, leaving them unlikely to try to weave a workout into their day. Additionally, over 60% said by the time they clock out each workday, they’re far too tired or drained to even entertain the idea of going for a jog or lifting weights.

Another commonly cited barrier to regular exercise was money; 61% said that purchasing a gym membership is too expensive for their current budget.

Besides inducing happiness, regular exercise also helps many Americans get more done. A total of 56% of the survey’s respondents said they work smarter when they have a healthy exercise routine in place.

“Exercising is one of the most important lifestyle changes we can make to become happier, healthier and more productive,” says Marco Crespo, the U.S. CEO of Gympass, the company that commissioned the study, in a media release. “Yet employees across the U.S. are finding it increasingly difficult to include physical activity in their lives.”

On average, the survey found that employed Americans get only a little over three hours of exercise a week. That’s a far cry from most respondents’ fitness goals. Among those who reported a desire to exercise more, 61% said they would ideally like to get an average of nine hours of exercise per week.

The occasional exercise break during the workday would be an effective strategy for many Americans as well. All in all, 75% said they think they would be twice as productive at work if they could take a midday break to exercise. Furthermore, many participants said they have a difficult time remaining motivated at work, but 47% indicated they would be more refreshed on the job if their employer offered employees a gym membership.

Apparently exercise support from employers would be a welcome benefit for many people. Overall, half of those surveyed said they would feel better about staying with an employer if the company helped pay for a gym membership.

Respondents were also asked about their most refreshing workouts, and the top answer was running (36%). After that, other cardio exercises came in second (33%), followed by free weight training (31%), yoga (25%), and spinning (11%).

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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