Americans say they're creatures of simple, solo exercise habits

Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:42am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exercise trends come and go as step aerobics yield to interval training, weight machines are tossed for medicine balls and Pilates falls in and out of fashion.

But when it comes to exercise habits, Americans say they prefer to stick to what's simple, solo and short.

Nearly 75 percent of 1,200 adults, aged 24 to 44, questioned in an online survey about exercise habits said they worked out at least once a week and 77 percent prefer to do it alone.

Running was the most popular type of exercise followed by lifting weights and biking/hiking/outdoor activities, according to the survey by the watch company Timex.

"If it's true, it's good news for the fitness industry," said Dr. Walter Thompson, who studies exercise trends for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Thompson said the survey probably provides a "useful snapshot" into the behaviors of the responding age group. "Outside that group," he said, "it's a little dangerous."

Sixty one percent of people questioned in the poll during the last two weeks of August said they don't exercise in a gym, and the average American is no early bird. Only 27 percent said they found time to get in a workout during the work day.

Thompson cautions that people tend to exaggerate, at least a little bit.   Continued...

People take part in a group yoga practice on the morning of the summer solstice in New York's Times Square, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer