CORRECTED: Why exercise? Health trumps beauty, poll shows

Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:55am EDT
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(Corrects name of organization in 5th paragraph to American Council on Exercise)

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - If you look upon fitness addicts as shallow narcissists suffering grimly for the body beautiful, it may be time to look again.

Most dedicated exercisers view working out as their apple a day, not their path to preening perfection, a new poll shows.

Staying healthy is the reason most fit adults gave for hitting the gym, and they are doing it for the ones they love.

Even a belt-tightening economy has not led the active to skimp on their regimens, according to the survey.

"People said they exercise more for health than for anything else," said Marjorie Martin of EveryDay Health, which conducted the poll with the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Martin said 54 percent of the 2,882 Americans who responded to the online poll said they want to stay fit for their loved ones. Only 40 percent said they work out to look good on beach.

"Some of us probably would have guessed appearance and weight control first," Martin said. "The fact that it is health was I think very reassuring,"   Continued...