Exercise and economics

Date posted: January 31, 2012

Does the level of exercise move with the ups and downs of the economy? N.C. State University economist explains a recent study that looked at this question.

“The short answer to your question is yes. What these researchers found is that for most of the population — for most people — the average person gets most of his or her exercise at their place of work. Now, obviously, if you’re engaged in a type of occupation where there’s a lot of movement around, a lot of lifting, a lot of carrying, obviously you’re getting exercise. But even if folks for example who work in offices, they’re going to be burning up calories just by working, just by being there, even if it’s sedentary. And also they’re going to be up moving around, moving from desk to desk, et cetera.

“So, I think that’s a very telling statistic that most people get most of their exercise at work. Therefore what that means, though, is when we have a recession and when unemployment goes up and people are no longer at work, what this same study found is that, yes, those people may begin to add a little more traditional exercise — maybe walking on the treadmill, maybe taking walks in the neighborhood, et cetera. But for the overall population, that doesn’t make up for the exercise that they lose by not working.

“So, bottom line is that exercise seems to be, unfortunately, another casualty of a recession.”

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