On the face of it, fast food chains and exercising seem like the left and right, the fire and ice, the protons and electrons, the Starks and Lannisters of the fitness world. The exact opposite of one another. You wouldn't expect an avid exerciser to eat fast food and you wouldn't expect an avid eater of fast food to exercise much.
But a new study by consumer research group BIGInsight shows that you'd expect wrong.
According to BIGInsight's data, just 34.3 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 claim to exercise regularly. When the firm asked regular patrons of eight major fast food chains whether or not they regularly exercise, though, they found significantly higher rates.
There are a couple possible explanations. Perhaps survey respondents were more likely to lie about their exercise habits to pollsters after admitting to unhealthy eating habits. Maybe people who eat fast food are eager to burn off the calories they consume when downing a Big Mac. It could even be that picking up fast food cuts time spent eating and preparing food, freeing up regulars' schedule for Zumba classes.
Whatever the explanation for the broad trend, it's interesting to note that customers at different chains reported exercising regularly at wildly different rates. Click through the slideshow below to see which chains' customers are the most active -- and which are the most sedentary.
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