A recent poll of 1,200 Americans aged 22 to 44 found that around 75 percent of respondents said that they work out at least once a week and 77 percent prefer to do it alone. Considering the past studies of how out of shape Americans are, the poll is also evidence that Americans like to fib about how much they're working out.
To put it very plainly, we are a nation of lazy liars.
"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," Reuters reports. With all due respect to the pollsters at Timex, we highly doubt that Americans are working out this much.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for one, found that 80 percent of Americans aged 18 and older do not get the recommended amount of exercise per week. That recommended amount was a meager one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 2.5 hours of moderate exercise. So if 80 percent of Americans don't get the recommended exercise, yet nearly 75 percent of them say they do exercise, Americans are either wildly inefficient at running or are just fibbing. Or maybe Timex has found a sample of wildly active Americans.
Further, Reuters reports that experts believe that Americans are lying too. "If it's true, it's good news for the fitness industry," Dr. Walter Thompson, who studies exercise trends for the American College of Sports Medicine told Reuters, explaining that people tend to exaggerate their exercise habits. Americans like lying about their running pace and how much they can bench press. "They want to present themselves in an overly optimistic way," Dan Ariely, a behavioral economics professor at Duke who has studied lying, told The New York Times last year when consulted about why runners lie about their times.
What's sort of believable about this poll is that close to 80 percent of people like exercising alone. Because not having a person there to tell on you makes these results easier to believe.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.