A new poll shows most of the country can't recognize high-protein foods, know how to turn fat into muscle, and more basic health and phys ed fundamentals
In the past few years, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become less of a chore and more of a pastime. Americans have been happy to jump on the trendy lifestyle, embracing coconut water, juicing, and Lululemon. We're not complaining—cute clothes and delicious drinks are a totally legit reason to dip the first toe into a healthier lifestyle. But a lot of Americans, it seems, need a refresher when it comes to basic health and fitness facts.
Fitness equipment maker Nautilus Inc. (you can thank them for unique machines like Bowflex) surveyed more than 1,000 people and found that most of us have forgotten all of Phys Ed. Almost three-quarters of people didn't know how many calories you have to cut in a week to lose one pound (the answer: 3,500). Only 13 percent of women knew that weight training alone won't add bulk or turn fat to muscle and only 39 percent knew that eggs are a healthy source of protein.
In fact, the average score for participants was 42 out of 100.
What's up with this? Chalk a lot of it up to health myths that tend to spread like wildfire. Take the best time of day to work out, for example. While 45 percent said the commonly-assumed morning, the truth is that workouts in the afternoon or evening provide the same health benefits. The only difference is that working out first thing eliminates the possibility of excuses later in the day. (Find out more in Which is Better: A.M. vs P.M. Workouts.)
Americans weren't in the dark on everything, though. Three-quarters of those questioned knew that running trumps walking when it comes to burning calories in a shorter time frame. Plus, 67 percent understood that resting heart rate is a good indicator of aerobic fitness. Our fitness trackers have taught us well.
Out of those surveyed, 18 to 24 year olds scored highest while 65 and up scored the lowest. Our take: Each generation is provided with more accurate info on the body and its functions as science continues to advance. We're on the right track then!
Plus, there's the question of who they polled. We know that you certainly know eggs are a good source of protein. (Want to see how you stack up against the rest of the country? You can take the Nautilus quiz yourself.) But there may be another level of fitness lingo you don't know that much about (like Tabata, Threshold, and More Tough Fitness Terms You Should Know or The Top 5 Calorie-Blasting Workouts). And, once you know what tabata or two-a-days mean, you can use it to your fat-burning advantage.