What are your exercise habits – The results

Last week I conducted a survey regarding exercise habits. Through the ten questions I asked, I was hoping to learn how many times a week people are exercising, what type of exercise people are doing, how much money participants would be willing to pay to keep their fitness resolutions, what motivates people to exercise and the reasons people don’t exercise. After sharing the survey on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, the results are in!

I’m a little disappointed that only 30 people completed my survey. With such a limited amount of responses, it’s hard to get a real understanding from the data I gathered. The next time I’m creating a survey, I’d put more emphasis on getting participants. I’d look into sharing the survey on other social networks like Google Plus or LinkedIn. I’d also consider sharing with specific exercise-related social media pages and groups. Because those people already have an interest in the topic, they may be more likely to give their input. 

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Of the 30 people who completed my survey, 22 were female and eight were male. The majorityof respondents were in the 18-24 (36 percent) and 25-34 (53 percent) age ranges. I’m not really surprised by the large number of respondents in these age groups because the majority of people I’m connected to on social media, fall within these numbers.

When it comes to the number of days that participants exercise, it was a pretty even race. The majority of survey participants (38 percent) exercise two to four days a week, while 31 percent of participants, don’t exercise at all. The most active participants who exercise five to seven times a week,  came in at 28 percent.Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Survey participants were split evenly when asked if they prefer to work out in a group or alone. Thirteen prefer to exercise in a group, 13 prefer to exercise alone, and four chose the option that they don’t exercise at all. I was actually a little surprised that only four chose the option for neither, since nine participants said they didn’t exercise at all.

Ten participants said they owned a gym membership, and twenty participants said they did not own a gym membership. I’d be really interested to see how many of the people who said they exercise five to seven days a week, were members of a gym. With that knowledge I could assess if people who paid for gym memberships were more likely to be active. Unfortunately, the free version of Survey Monkey doesn’t offer those statistics.Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

When asked how much participants would be willing to pay for a gym membership, I got a variety of responses. Looking at the way I worded the question, I would have like to have been more clear. I asked participants how much they would be willing to pay for a gym membership, but I wish I had clarified either how much they would pay per month or per year. While some participants stated per month or per year, all of them didn’t. As much as I would like to assume that someone would be willing to pay $20 per month, maybe it’s one of the people who don’t regularly exercise and they’d only be willing to pay $20 per year. I was surprised that I only received two responses from people who said they wouldn’t pay for a gym membership. Since 20 people said they don’t own a gym membership, and nine people said they don’t exercise regularly, I would have assumed this number would have been higher.

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Participants were given a wide variety of exercises to choose from, and they could enter other exercises in my question about what exercise they prefer to take part in. Over 53 percent of participants said that running was part of their exercise routine. Lifting weights was the next highest activity at 46 percent, followed by yoga at 30 percent. Once again, I was surprised that only five participants chose the I don’t exercise option.

The biggest motivator for participants to exercise was their overall fitness, at over 46 percent.Thirty percent of participants said they exercise because it makes them feel good. On the other side of the spectrum, over 56 percent of participants said they don’t exercise because they don’t have enough time, while over 46 percent said they don’t exercise because it’s a rest day. Only two participants said they don’t exercise because it’s not important to them.

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

My final question asked participants how important exercise is to them. Nine participants said that it was extremely important to them. My guess is that the eight people who said they exercise five to seven days a week, probably selected this answer. Seven people said it was very important, six said moderately important, five said slightly important, and three said not important at all. Nine people said they don’t exercise regularly, but only three said exercise wasn’t important to them at all. Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

I definitely thought that the numbers of days participants exercise in a week, and how they ranked the importance of exercise would coincide more. In my original post, I said I wished there had been an option for those who selected that they didn’t exercise regularly to go to the end of the survey. Now that my results are in, I’m glad this option didn’t exist and I got the extra insight from this group of people. On every question regarding exercise, I gave the option of I don’t exercise at all, yet throughout the survey, the number of participants who chose that option fluctuated. Even though almost a third of participants don’t exercise regularly, a lot of them still claim to somewhat value exercise.

If I ran a gym or fitness studio and I was looking at this data, I would look at the excuses people give for not exercising. Since the majority of people said they think exercise is important but they just don’t have enough time in their day, I would consider adding shorter classes that got members in and out in under an hour. I would also consider an option where non-members could pay to take a specific class, since the majority of survey takers said they don’t own a gym membership. With these implemented changes, I would hope to see an increase in revenue and memberships. 

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16 thoughts on “What are your exercise habits – The results

  1. This is why analyzing results are so important. If you compared response results, it would have given you a better understanding of who was saying what which would have let you get deeper into the results, such as those who don’t exercise but have a favorite exercise.

    • I agree. Having looked at others’ blogs, I wish I had used a program other than Survey Monkey because the free version had a lot of limitations. It would have been nice to have been able to dive deeper into the data so I had a better understanding and could have created a more complete analysis. Lesson learned for next time!

  2. I again feel compelled to say how much I dislike exercise, but I am happy to see that most of the respondents exercise on a regular basis.
    I would’ve liked to see if the frequent exercisers had a gym membership as well. I think that most of these people would be a yes, however many of the respondents could have been runners or some other non-gym preferred exercise activity. I really liked the question about exercise excuses. For a lot of people, myself included, I tend to use the excuse that I don’t have time to exercise. However, I think most people can make time it’s just not a priority for them, again myself included. I liked your last paragraph about if you ran a gym what you might change or offer. The shortened classes and cheaper options/non-member pay-per-class options is a great idea.
    On another note, I’d like to see this survey ran on multiple websites rather than relying on the snowball method. I wonder if you posted this on a notorious couch potato website what the reaction would be compared to a health nut website.

    • You’re not alone! I know a lot of my friends are long-distance runners who exercise frequently, but they don’t have a gym membership, so it would have been nice to see that correlation. Perhaps paying for the gym membership compels people to get use out of it. I should have added that as an option for the question about what motivates people to exercise. It definitely would have been interesting to compare results from a couch potato and health nut websites (is there such a thing as a couch potato website?!). I’ve definitely gained a lot of perspective for the next time I conduct a survey!

  3. I am very happy to see that a lot of people are exercising! I love exercising- I look your survey. Exercising is very important to me, but working a full time job, a part time job, and going to grad school often comes before working out. If I had an extra hour in the day (and didn’t live where an arctic front has been looming for the past 3 months- yes that is called winter) I would be out every day for a walk or a run. Over the summer time, I am running about 5-6 days a week. During the winter season that dramatically drops. I like your solutions to this problem. I think 30-40 minute workout classes would be amazing. I would look into taking them during my lunch break so I could be back to the office in an hour. I also don’t really like joining a gym because most of them require a yearly membership, which I never use in the summer. Glad to see that people are interested in working out! Great information.

    • Thanks Casey! I’m impressed that you’re able to work two jobs, go to grad school, and still find the time and energy to exercise! Coming from Ohio (which isn’t even as bad as where you are), I completely understand working out more during the summer. Running outside during a snow storm and not being able to feel your body parts because it’s so cold is not fun! Thank goodness I’m in Florida weather now!

  4. I was a little disappointed in my survey response too…I only received 17 so you beat me there! I agree with you, with such a limited response it makes it hard to really understand what the analytics are telling you. I also like your solution for getting more people to exercise. Currently I wake up at 5am 5 days/week to exercise because I just don’t have enough time in the day. I would love it if my gym offered 30 minute classes early in the morning! While you may not have gotten as many responses as you want I think you’ve come up with some good solutions and if you ever have to do a survey again have a great foundation! Very interesting subject to survey!

    • Thanks Alexis! I know a lot of people used the excuse that they don’t have time to exercise, but you prove that if you’re really dedicated to it, you’ll make the time! The fitness studio I’m going to right now, offers 50 minute classes in the morning, around lunch time, and in the evening, and that seems to work out really well around peoples’ work schedules. I think it’s definitely something more gyms should look into. Thanks for the response!

  5. Hi Lauren,

    I think you had a great survey topic. While I don’t exercise often, I can see the value of it and am happy to see that you know so many physically fit people! I couldn’t believe that 53 percent of your survey participants were runners and that 28 percent said they exercised 5-7 times a week. I wonder if the fact that it’s still early in 2014 has an effect on people’s exercise routines. I’m not sure if people are still following their New Year’s resolutions of working out and staying in shape at this point, but it would be interesting to survey people about this topic two months from now to see if there’s a big drop in the number of people who claim to exercise frequently.

    To go along with your question of “What type of exercises do you prefer to do?”, it might’ve been interesting to ask people “When you do exercise, how long do you do it for?” Asking this may give you a better understanding of what length of time constitutes a good workout for these participants. Just a thought!

    • Hi Lynette,

      I would love to conduct the survey a couple months from now to see how many people are actually keeping their New Year’s resolutions. I think you’re right, there would probably be some drop-off. After I had completed my survey, I actually thought that I should have added a question about how long people are exercising, so we’re on the same page! I’ve definitely gained a lot of knowledge about what to do differently for the next time I conduct a survey! Thanks for the response!

  6. Hi Lauren,
    I think you had created a great survey! I also didn’t get many participants in my survey, but after this assignment I realized some changes I could have made. I really liked how you said there should be 30 minute classes, since most people said that timing was the biggest reason as to why they wouldn’t exercise.. I found it interesting when you asked “What type of exercises do you prefer?” and over 56% said they prefer running. I would have thought maybe lifting weights or like spinning would have been in for a close tie with running, but maybe that’s because I would rather so an exercise like that instead of straight running 🙂 .

    • Thanks Cyndi! After seeing how some of our classmates conducted their surveys, and hearing a lot of good feedback, I definitely feel like I have a better understanding of surveys and how to make my next one more successful! I’m guessing a reason running might have been such a popular choice, is because you don’t have to pay for a gym membership to do it. Anyone can go run in parks or their neighborhoods, while lifting weights and spinning may not be as accessible. Thanks for the response!

  7. I thought your survey was on a good topic, Lauren! I used to more regularly exercise before I started this whole grad school thing… 😉 I was one of the respondents who listed not enough time as my excuse for not getting up off my butt and away from my computer. It’s hard to justify the cost of a gym membership when I know I would be able to get there so little. But I love your ideas on shorter classes and the pay-by-class rates! That would definitely make me more likely to make it to my neighborhood Y. But it almost seems wasteful to pay a membership for access to so many things just to take a few short classes a week.

    BTW, I used Survey Monkey, too, and although the survey creation was easy, I was also disappointed with the limited options for results analysis it gave me. Next time, I’ll try another program!

    • Hey Julie! I know, it’s definitely a challenge to work, do this grad school thing and make time for exercising! I completely understand not wanting to pay for a gym membership if you know that you won’t get your money’s worth. I definitely went into last week praising Survey Monkey because it’s so easy to use, but I agree, results are not the best and I’d definitely do it differently next time!

  8. Hi Lauren!

    Your survey made me painfully aware of how much more I should be exercising – especially with a wedding in EIGHT months! I’m glad that you didn’t include a “skip to the end” option – I think your results are very interesting and tell a lot about the respondent’s lifestyles and preferences. Had you included that “skip to the end” option, you would have lost out on a lot of potentially valuable data. I think my collecting the excuses that people use for not working out would give you great information on how you could better motivate those people – especially if you are a gym owner or a personal trainer. I think you have some incredible data here and it could be put to great use!

    • Hey Lacee! Thanks so much and I definitely feel ya! I’ve been trying to kick my butt into high gear because I’m about 100 days out! After sharing the survey I thought I had made a mistake by not including the skip to the end option, but now, I’m so glad that wasn’t available because I would have missed out on a lot of good data.

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