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Snapshot: In U.S., Exercise Up Amid Unusually Warm Weather

Snapshot: In U.S., Exercise Up Amid Unusually Warm Weather

by Alyssa Davis

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More Americans reported exercising frequently in May than in any month since Gallup and Healthways began tracking Americans' exercise habits in 2008. The 55.2% of Americans who said they exercised for at least 30 minutes three or more days per week in May is up from 53.9% in April, and is higher than in May of previous years.

Percentage of americans who exercise 30 or more minutes a day three or more days per week

Frequent exercise has been up since December 2011 when looking at same-month comparisons, a trend that coincides with unusually warm weather -- this winter being the fourth warmest on record for the U.S.

Americans who exercise frequently

Exercise generally changes seasonally -- Americans exercise less in the fall and winter and more in the spring and summer. However, from October 2008 -- the start of the U.S. economic crisis -- through December 2009, monthly exercise levels were lower than Gallup recorded during the same months before or after that period. Americans' exercise habits rebounded in early 2010 and are generally at four-year highs thus far in 2012.

Gallup and Healthways ask 1,000 American adults daily about their exercise habits as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks well-being in the U.S., U.K., and Germany and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index survey May 1-31, 2012, with a random sample of 30,252 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Every month in the tracking period has a sample size of at least 28,000 adults.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±0.7 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone-only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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