Although most Americans say they believe that exercise is good for better health, they find the constant battle between today's cultural pressures of work, life, family, finances and workouts a losing one.
In addition, according to research released recently by the IHRSA club association, some Americans would like to see the government do more to promote and support participation in fitness, including tax deductions for club memberships, exercise-oriented purchases and other benefits.
The findings in the study were based on a random telephone survey of more than 1,000 adults, 18 and older in mid-April, done for IHRSA's "The Importance of Exercise" survey by APCO Insight.
>> Women are more likely than men (94 percent vs. 85 percent) to strongly agree that exercise helps preserve good health.
>> Seventy-nine percent of Americans agree that "the current culture in America, including the pressures of work, family and financial demands, makes it hard for people to exercise regularly and maintain healthy lifestyles." Only19 percent disagreed and nearly half (49 percent) strongly agreed. More older Americans disagreed.
>>Society's emphasis on sedentary activities such as watching TV poses a barrier, according to 57 percent of respondents. Fifty-five percent cite work demands, while just as many cite a simple lack of interest. Less than a quarter cite lack of government support.
>>Logically, work demands are cited as a barrier more frequently by younger age groups: 61 percent by 18 to 44 year olds, 53 percent by 45 to 64 year olds, and 41 percent by those older than 65.
>> A stated lack of interest in exercise is higher among women than men (60 percent vs. 50 percent).
>> Eighty-four percent said it would make it easier for people to incorporate exercise into their daily routine if employers had programs to encourage exercise.
>>More than 60 percent said they believe the government should do more to promote physical activity, with women more likely than men (64 percent compared to 57 percent) to agree and younger respondents (18 to 34 years old) are even more likely to agree (67 percent).