Top 5 fittest statesNews added by Benefits Pro on March 14, 2014
By Kathryn Mayer
As a nation, we don’t do so well when it comes to exercise: Roughly half of adults in the United States (51.6 percent) exercise frequently. But some states do a little bit better than average.
In a new report, Gallup noted the states most and least likely to frequently have adults who exercise frequently — defined as exercising three or more days a week for at least 30 minutes.
Here are the top five states with adults who work out most often.
The Centennial State is frequently included on lists naming the healthiest states in the nation — not too surprising given all the hiking, biking and skiing often associated with it.
But it’s still perhaps not as many as you’d think: 59.8 percent of residents reported exercising frequently.
Gallup reports that “the incidence of frequent exercise in a state is a function of many factors, including the age of the population, the availability of outdoor activities, and state-specific cultural factors that help determine the most popular recreational or leisure time activities.”
Never mind the cold climate: Alaskans are all about exercising. In fact, Alaska was ranked first in both 2012 and 2010.
In 2013, 60.1 percent of its residents reported exercising frequently.
Physicians say that shorter, more frequent — rather than longer, less often — exercise sessions are better for the heart, reducing the risk of heart attack and death from heart disease. Frequent exercise also has mental health benefits, too: It’s associated with increased cognitive function, stress relief and a decreased risk of depression and anxiety.
Montana has ranked among the top 10 states for frequent exercise every year since Gallup and Healthways began tracking Americans’ exercise habits in 2008.
In 2013, 60.1 percent of residents reported exercising frequently. They even fare a little better with regard to another healthy practice: 63 percent report consuming produce frequently.
It appears all the surf and sun here helps. The Aloha State is another place that’s showed up on this list for the past six years. In 2013, 62.2 percent of Hawaiians reported exercising frequently.
Gallup researchers said that with obesity rates rising nationwide, it’s important for state leaders to address the decrease in exercise in 2013.
“There are tangible policies that cities and states can adopt to create an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice — environments where fruits and vegetables are abundant and easy to access and people can easily exercise and move naturally in their communities,” said Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and founder, Blue Zones.
Adults living in Vermont (65.3 percent) are the most likely in the country to report exercising three or more days a week for at least 30 minutes.
Vermont has taken the top spot three times, in 2013, 2009 and 2008.
Not only are Vermont resident the most frequent exercisers in America, they’re also the most likely to report consuming produce frequently, with 67.8 percent of residents reporting they eat at least five servings of vegetables four or more days per week.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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