Where Americans Get Enough Exercise

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Richard Florida maps out where Americans get enough exercise:

As the maps suggest, both forms of exercise are highly correlated with one another. States where people participate more in aerobic exercise also have higher levels of muscle strengthening (the correlation between the two is .81).

Also not surprisingly, states where people exercise more also have significantly lower levels of obesity and smoking, two known causes of preventable deaths. Mellander found substantial negative associations between exercise levels and obesity (-.80) and smoking (-.63).

You might think people would exercise more in warmer, sunnier states. But that’s not the case. She found a negative correlation (-.38) between yearly average temperature and exercise across the 50 states.

Exercise levels also correspond to wealth and affluence, with substantial positive correlations to both income (.65) and wages (.64). States where people exercise more are also more highly educated, with a significant correlation (.68) to the share of adults who are college graduates. And exercise levels are higher in states with more post-industrial economies, as participation was highly positively correlated with the share of knowledge, professional and creative workers (.51) and negatively correlated with the share of blue-collar workers (-.65).

Fitness participation also tracks the nation’s red/blue divide, being positively associated with the share of Obama voters (.51) and negatively associated with Romney voters (-.53). Exercise also hews closely to America’s religious divide. People in more religious states exercise less (the correlation between religiosity and exercise is -.69).


  1. Toddy Cat says:

    Florida’s entire career consists of confusing cause and effect. Remember when he essentially said that attracting gays and SWPLs to your city would make it prosperous? I have no doubt that he’s right about those states that get the most exercise, but leave it to Florida to draw the wrong conclusions.

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