Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, more people have been taking daily walks or finding creative ways to work out at home. But even before the closure of gyms and other workout facilities, Washington has always been one of the nation’s most active states.
According to a study by Quote Wizard, Washington ranks fifth nationally on this list of states with the highest percentage of physically active people.
The study was conducted by analyzing the 2018 CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to see which states reported more exercise. The exercise data was then paired with the obesity rates in each state. According to the methodology, this was done “to show that a high rate of exercise in a given state correlates to lower obesity rates.”
The top five states with the highest percentage of physically active people and lowest percentage obesity rate are: No. 1 Colorado (83.8% of exercise, 22.7% of obesity); No. 2 Hawaii (80.8%, 25.5%); No. 3 Vermont (82.4%, 27.1%); No. 4 Utah (82.3%, 28%); and No. 5 Washington (82.9%, 28.4%).
The five states with the lowest percentage of physically actively people and highest percentage obesity rate are: No. 46 Alabama (70.3%, 36.1%); No. 47 Arkansas (70.5%, 37.3%); No. 48 Kentucky (69.3%, 36.4%); No. 49 Louisiana (69.7%, 36.7%); No. 50 Mississippi (69.1%, 39.5%).
The study highlighted how physical activity has been shown to be beneficial to people’s mental health — however, this has been harder to accomplish during the pandemic as gyms have closed. A separate study conducted by a team from Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane found that during stay-at-home orders, 43.8% of study participants said they had a decline in physical activity, and concluded that a “decrease in physical activity or exercise was associated with increased perceived stress and anxiety levels.”
According to the study, in states like Washington, individuals’ mental health might be negatively impacted during the coronavirus, but staying physically active lowers their chances of developing health conditions like diabetes and obesity, which puts people at a high-risk for the coronavirus.