The Mindful Survey: Fitness

Are reading and chess exercise? Is "no pain, no gain" a good motto to live by? Our readers share thoughts on their personal fitness crazes.

Tyler Olson/Dollar Photo Club

How often do you exercise?


80% say they exercise at least three times a week (23% work out every single day). Bravo on being mentally and physically fit, people!

Why do you exercise?

91% do it for health—the clear priority here. After that, just 15% exercise because it’s “fun,” while 6% are in it for the perfect beach bod, and 6% are all about that endorphin rush.

Popular answers:

• It’s part of my commute
• The dog needs a walk!
• Stress relief

What physical activity do you find most meditative?

Most Common answers:

Walking; yoga; swimming

66% of respondents practice walking or moving meditation.

Some answers we liked:

• Washing floors
• Cooking
• Stretching
• Knitting. (Hey, I move my hands!)
• Motorcycle riding

When you’re getting moving, what do you notice most in your body?

39% say “everything’s different, and I love it.” Meanwhile, a mere 2% of respondents report “everything’s different, and I want it to stop.” 37% notice a change in their breathing, 13% say they notice how much they’re sweating, and 6% notice their hearts pounding. The “no pain, no gain” mentality is pretty rare among respondents—just 4% say they notice the pain most.

Preferred form of workout entertainment?

45% like to pay attention to the sounds of nature and their body (no details, please). 30% listen to music, 6% watch TV, and 4% tune into a podcast. A healthy 3% of respondents would rather enjoy the calm and quiet under the covers—if only cozing* were a sport!

(* From Urban Dictionary: resting, sleeping “Dude, it’s only like 8 p.m., why are you cozing?”)

If you could be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you play?

• Reading
• Chess
• Roller derby—I would have to know how to skate though
• Refereeing
• Hopscotch
• I wouldn’t want to be an Olympic athlete. At all. Ever.
• Kegels
• Something solitary, like cross-country skiing
• Is yoga a sport?
• Middle-aged-woman-walking-as-fast-as-she-can

What’s the weirdest physical activity you’ve tried?

• Whipped cream battle
• Bridgeswinging
• Beer pong
• Balloon couple race
• Chasing my cats
• Golf
• Sex. It’s just strange if you think about it.
• Clogging
• “Jazzercise”
• Streaking
• I competed in the World Coal Carrying Championship in 2003 and got a Bronze medal.

On a scale from negative 1 to 10, how much do you love going to the gym?

gym-graphThere’s only lukewarm feelings about the house of pain and gain, with an average of 4.3. There’s even a bit of aversion—16% chose -1.