We recently reported on the most sinful towns in the US. There’s an old adage that says that cleanliness is next to Godliness, but for modern folk, it’s easy to be clean, so most of us would substitute “exercise” for “cleanliness.” If you believe that exercise is good for you, instead of lying around like a couch potato, then you need to move to a place where you can get plenty of it. According to a new study, residents of cool, dry Montana are the most likely to get enough physical activity, while residents of hot, steamy areas like Puerto Rico get the least.

To find out where people exercise the most, researcher Ray Merrill matched data from 255 weather stations in the US with results from a physical activity survey. “It’s pretty obvious that weather influences physical activity,” Merrill says. “…Cooler, milder weather days are associated with more activity?but it’s never really been quantified before.”

After Montana, with 60.9% participation in sports and other aerobic activities, the states with highest percentages of respondents meeting recommended physical activity levels are Utah with 59.2%, Wisconsin with 57.9% and New Hampshire with 55.9 percent, despite the fact that New Hampshire gets darn cold in the winter, making getting outdoors and exercising hard to do.

After Puerto Rico, at 30.9%, the states with the lowest percentages of exercisers were Hawaii with 36.4%, North Carolina with 37.4% and Kentucky with 37.6%. You would think that the beaches and surfing in Hawaii would encourage people to at least swim, but for many of us, going to the beach means sunbathing while drinking an exotic cocktail, which is not aerobic.

It’s the humidity that’s the problem, not the heat, and this can only get worse, since global warming is bringing moist, tropical weather to more parts of the US. Doctors recommend 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five to seven days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity three to seven days a week. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, biking, vacuuming, and gardening, while vigorous activity includes running, aerobics and heavy yard work.

Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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