The study, released on Monday by DKV Insurance, found that only 43 percent of German citizens get the minimum amount of recommended exercise.
The study also lays bare a downward trend since the first time it was conducted in 2010. In that year 60 percent of Germans were still getting the minimum amount of exercise.
“The study’s results are depressing,” said lead researcher Ingo Froböse.
Almost 2,900 people were interviewed for the study, which included questions not only on sport and exercise, but also on alcohol consumption, smoking, stress and general health. This was the fifth time the study has been conducted.
The study also revealed a gulf in the self-perception of participants in terms of their health and the conclusions of the researchers. Some 61 percent of participants said that they consider themselves to be either healthy or very healthy. But the researchers estimated that just nine percent of the people in the study actually had a comprehensively healthy lifestyle.
Researchers were particularly concerned about the fact that so few Germans get regular exercise. Only 43 percent of people in the study exercised moderately for 150 minutes, the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile every tenth person admitted to not getting any exercise at all.
Froböse said that two factors accounted for this trend: ever fewer are working in physically demanding jobs and people are less likely to participate in sport after work.
The lead researcher warned that getting exercise was an important means of regenerating after a tough day in the office.
“I don’t believe we have a problem with overworking in our society, I think the problem is that people don’t regenerate properly,” he said.