ANNAPOLIS, Md. – January is usually the time of year when new sneakers are purchased online, gym memberships are re-activated, and workout gear is dusted off and removed from the bottom drawer. It has been widely reported that Google searches linked to exercise peak at the beginning of each year, and gyms are typically at their busiest as customers aim to burn off their indulgences of the festive season. However, 2020 was a year like no other. Numerous studies showed that as a nation, alcohol intake significantly increased due to a host of circumstances such as boredom and isolation. For many households, drinking was the default entertainment of choice. 

During a typical new year, it’s expected that many would be chomping at the bit to fulfil a common New Year’s resolution and begin a new exercise program. However, aside from life during a pandemic, our relationship with exercise is complicated. We know we should be doing more exercise, yet many of us are not. surveyed 3,000 Americans and asked: If you had to give up alcohol or exercise in January, which one would you choose? And the results of the survey appear to confirm what many health experts fear – that for millions of people, a strong bond with alcohol exists.

The survey revealed that 24% of respondents in Maryland admit that they would ditch exercise if it meant that they could continue drinking in January. It appears New Hampshire is the state least concerned with their fitness as 50% said they would choose a drink over dumbbells. At the other end of the spectrum is Arizona, which appears to be the state most set on maintaining a Dry January; 90% of respondents indicated they’d choose their health over a hangover. has created an infographic showing results across America

Regardless of the results, it appears that many at least try to kick the year off with the right intentions. Forty-five percent of respondents said January is the month they are most likely to start a new exercise regime, 1 in 5 plan to offset their alcohol consumption with more exercise, and, though a significant number of people attempt Dry January, more than 50% said they’ve failed the task. Unfortunately, 2021 may see a larger percentage of people who have an unsuccessful Dry January -a recent study found that half the country will forgo Dry January following a difficult year brought on by the pandemic.

And finally, when asked if they expect to spend more time drinking or exercising in 2021, 1 in 3 (34%) said drinking – presumably due to the expectation of another long period of lockdowns.