Home > Consumer Behavior & Trends, Economy, Monthly Consumer Survey > Does Exercise Incite Positive Thoughts about the Economy?

Does Exercise Incite Positive Thoughts about the Economy?

The positive effects that regular exercise can have on our health and stress levels are well-documented; I personally enjoy the solitary time on my elliptical each morning reading Twilight The Changing American Consumer on my Kindle. But can breaking a sweat help boost economic confidence?

According to our August Consumer survey, 35.2% of those who regularly hit the gym [or pound the pavement?] are “confident” or “very confident” in chances for a strong economy, indexing slightly above the overall average (34.0%). Among those who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle, confidence was subpar (33.3%).

Exercisers are also prone to more positive thinking regarding the employment outlook. Nearly one in five (19.5%) is calling for “fewer” layoffs over the next six months, higher than the overall average (16.9%) as well as their couch potato counterparts (15.4%). Exercisers aren’t as likely to be sweating increasing layoffs, either; about one in four (26.7%) is expecting “more” layoffs, indexing below adults in general (27.6%) as well as non-exercisers (28.1%).

But while exercisers are making more positive predictions for the economy, they are adopting more realistic, financially conservative lifestyles. This month, half (50.7%) of those who work out regularly say they have become more practical in their purchasing, 28% higher than those preferring less active lifestyles (39.4%). Focus on necessities, sticking to budgets, and spending more time with the family are priorities to a higher proportion of those tending toward toning compared to those who, well, are not.

Exercisers are also making sure that their finances are in shape as well; nearly two in five (38.8%) maintains plans to decrease overall spending in the next three months, much higher than those leaning toward lounging (28.4%). We see nearly the same disparities when comparing plans to pay down debt and increase savings:

Also noteworthy: interest in exercising began accelerating when the economy hit the skids. In August 2007, fewer than one in three (30.5%) reported that they were working out regularly, while the economy prospered with a 43.9% confidence rate. Fast forward to 2012, and more are exercising (36.5%) while confidence has dropped to 34.0%:

Is the economic downturn/exercise upturn a just coincidence? Have we been turning to exercise to help alleviate some of the macro-environmental stress brought about by the Great Recession?

Or given the information deluge we’ve experienced via the online, mobile, and social media, have we just become more aware of the benefits of building up a sweat? More motivated?

Or with the growing number of baby boomers entering retirement, is a larger proportion of the population trying to stave off aging?

Or in this economy, is going for a run simply cheaper than dinner-and-a-movie?

Maybe we’ve just become tired of asking, “Do I look fat in this?”

Check out our other blogs on the topic of health and exercise:

One in Four McDonald’s Customers Unhappy with Their Health

Two-Thirds of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Shoppers Express Health Happiness

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – AUG-12 (N = 9426, 8/1 – 8/7/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

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