Most people have a poor understanding of how much physical activity is good for you, and what health benefits such activity conveys. But the better your knowledge on these topics, the more physical activity you are likely to get, according to a study published November 28, 2018, in the open-access journal  PLOS ONE

A study from Central Queensland University in Australia, led by Stephanie Schoeppe, surveyed 615 Australian adults about their physical activity as well as their level of knowledge about physical activity's health benefits and the risks of inactivity.

Based on their answers, each participant was assigned to ranking in four areas: knowing that physical activity is beneficial and inactivity is harmful; knowing that specific health conditions are related to inactivity; knowing how much physical activity is recommended, and applying this knowledge to one's own risks.

Physical activity is good for health

Participants were 24.4% male and 75.3% female, between 18 and 77 years old, with a median age of 43, and had a range of education levels and employment statuses relatively representative of the general Australian population.

While the vast majority (99.6%) of participants strongly agreed that physical activity is good for health, most were not aware of all the diseases associated with inactivity. On average, participants correctly identified 13.8 out of 22 diseases associated with a lack of physical activity. Moreover, 55.6% incorrectly answered how much physical activity is needed for health, and 80% of people failed to identify the probabilities of developing diseases without physical activity.

A significant association was found between these scores on knowledge of the probabilities of inactivity-related diseases and how active a person was. Future research is needed to determine if the results are true between men and women and if the survey-based data correctly gauge a person's true levels of physical activity.

Schoeppe adds: "Most people know that physical activity is good for health Few people to know the specific benefits of physical activity for health, and it may be this specific knowledge that positively influences their  physical activity  behavior."