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Eight Most Popular Fitness Activities for Americans

What are the most popular physical fitness activities for the American people during their leisure time? What team sports attract the highest number of participants?

Eight most popular fitness activities for Americans

The increase in cases of overweight and obesity among the American population is of major concern to the Federal Government, States, communities and family units. Despite the national and local initiatives geared towards raising physical activity participation, the percentage of persons who are inactive has remained consistently high. It is estimated that 40% of the adults do not engage in any physical activity at all during their leisure time.

Yet research findings continue to show that physical activity is important in maintaining a healthy body weight. It is also estimated that 66% of the adult American population is either overweight or obese. This is extremely high given the massive media coverage that emphasize that eating healthy and engaging in physical activity are vital in weight management. Publications such as the Healthy People 2010, the Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation (2010) and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2008) are in agreement that developing and sustaining healthy dietary practices and increasing physical activity are two of the most important strategies for addressing the twin issues of overweight and obesity.

One of the key strategies is to increase the number of adults who are physically active. This would help reverse the rising trend of adults becoming overweight and eventually obese. An increase in physical activity levels would improve the health of the American Society and save the Nation a lot of money incurred on healthy costs. This will help reduce the budgetary allocation and hence a reduction in the deficit that is threatening to shut down the Government operations in Washington.

Those who have committed themselves to active lifestyle reveal unique choice of activities. The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) industry statistics (www.sgma.com) reveals expenditure on sport, exercise equipment, sport apparel, shoes, and participation in physical activities and sports.

Pertaining to the most popular physical fitness activities, the report reveals the following numbers:

1.       Walking                                111 million people

2.       Bowling                                  57 million people

3.       Treadmill running                   51.4 million people

4.       Weight training                      50 m people

5.       Running/jogging                    44 m people

6.       Fishing                                   41 m people

7.       Bicycling                                40.1 m people and

8.       Stretching                              36.3 m people.

For sporting participation, the report revealed the following were the most popular including basketball (24m), soccer (13.8m), baseball (13.8m), touch football (9m), and slow-pitch softball (8.5m).

Thus basketball is by far the most popular team sport in terms of participation followed by soccer. However, going by the TV ratings for the 2010/11 National Football League season, football remains the king of American competitive/spectator sport. The Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburg Steelers drew an audience of 111m people surpassing any other single episode TV program in the USA.

There is an urgent need to reach out to the millions of the sedentary Americans as well as encouraging the casually active to buy into the fitness and exercise for health movement for their own personal good. If expense and transport is an issue, try the proven legacy of the human species- walking!

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