Health by the Numbers: Fitness

Physical activity is one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle. Being fit leads to better sleep, weight control, disease prevention, improved mood, more energy, and it even puts a spark in your sex life. Since obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes are becoming significant public health problems, increasing our collective physical fitness levels has become a national priority.

Here's a look at fitness by the numbers:

  • 60: Minutes of physical activity per day that school-age children should accumulate.
  • 18.5 to 24.9: Healthy range for BMI (Body Mass Index).
  • 17,000: Number of health clubs in the U.S.
  • 49: Percent of adults who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity (January to September 2011).
  • 150: Recommended number of minutes of weekly physical activity for adults.
  • 8 to 12: Repetitions per session of strengthening exercises.
  • 14th: Zumba's position on the top 20 fitness trends of 2012.
  • #1: Ranking for Minneapolis, MN, in the 2011 ACSM Fitness Index, which ranks the 50 largest metropolitan Areas (Oklahoma City, OK, was #50).
  • Two-thirds: Percent of Americans who are overweight or obese.
  • 29.8 Billion: Amount saved over five years by reducing obesity by 5 percent.
  • 10 to 20: Percent reduction in heart attack risk from regular physical activity.


National Association for Sport and Physical Education. "National Guidelines for Physical Activity." Web.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Frequently Asked Questions." Web. 21 November 2008.

The President's Challenge. "Get Motivated: Strengthening Muscles & Bones." Web.

Mayo Clinic. "Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity." Web. 23 July 2011.

Laskowski, Edward R., M.D. "What's a Normal Resting Heart Rate?" Mayo Clinic. Web.
30 September 2010.

Centers for Disease Control. "Leisure-time Physical Activity." Web. March 2012.

American College of Sports Medicine. "Selecting and Effectively Using A
Health/Fitness Facility. Web. 2011.

American College of Sports Medicine. "ACSM American Fitness Index 2011." Web.

Trust for America's Health. "Bending the Obesity Cost Curve." Web. February 2012.

Shipe, Michael, M.S., RCEP. "Exercising with Coronary Heart Disease." ACSM. Web. 19 January 2012.