How Weather Can Influence Fitness

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD

A comparison of weather conditions with self-reported physical activity levels in over 350 counties in the U.S. revealed that residents of northern states with relatively cool, dry summers are the most likely to get the recommended amount of exercise.

The researchers looked at data from weather stations across the country that included air temperature, dew point temperature, wind speed direction, sea level pressure, and total cloud cover. They also analyzed responses about exercise habits from over 350 adults who took part in a national telephone survey sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and individual states and territories.

The recommended level of activity was defined as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as walking, household chores, or gardening) five to seven days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity (such as running or aerobics classes) three to seven days a week.

The states with the highest percentage of residents getting the recommended amount of exercise were:

  1. Montana (with 60.9% of residents meeting the criteria),
  2. Utah (59.2%), Wisconsin (57.9%), and
  3. New Hampshire (55.9%).

Lowest levels of physical activity were reported in:

  1. Puerto Rico (30.9%),
  2. Hawaii (36.4%),
  3. North Carolina (37.4%), and
  4. Kentucky (37.6%).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2014