This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 3, 2014.
For some, weekends are the time to get up and go. Others prefer to take it slow. And a new study suggests your preference might have something to do with your level of education.
If you earned a college degree, you’re likely to be more physically active on Saturdays and Sundays than during the week, according to research presented last month at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco.
In contrast, people who don’t have a high school diploma move more on weekdays than weekends. They’re more likely to have jobs that require physical labor – or at least less sitting – than their college-educated counterparts. Interestingly, this group is still more active on weekends than the college-educated group.
Researchers used accelerometer data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to determine how many steps people took a day and the intensity of those steps. The results showed adults without high school degrees outpaced college-educated folks every day of the week, but the gap was widest – 74 minutes – on weekdays.
A separate 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed the vast majority of adults nationwide aren’t meeting federal physical activity standards.
Here are the numbers:
8 hours, 43 minutes
The amount of time the average American adult with a college degree is sedentary each weekday, not including sleep. On weekends, the sedentary time drops to 8 hours and 7 minutes a day.
7 hours, 29 minutes
The amount of time the average American adult without a high school degree is sedentary each weekday. But on weekends, that sedentary average rises to 7 hours and 52 minutes a day.
The amount of time federal exercise guidelines suggest adults should spend doing moderate-intensity aerobic activities, like walking, each week. That time can be substituted with 1.25 weekly hours of vigorous exercise, like jogging.
The minimum number of days per week exercise guidelines say adults should work on muscle strengthening, including doing push-ups, sit-ups or weightlifting.
The percentage of American adults who are getting the recommended amount of both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise federal government guidelines recommend, according to a 2013 CDC report. Fifty percent of adults are hitting the aerobic exercise mark, and 30 percent engage in muscle strengthening.