Only 35.5 percent of about 17,000 respondents in a latest survey are working out regularly and the biggest barrier is lack of facilities.
A total of 87.7 percent of the respondents said there is no free fitness facility around, according to the survey report published Thursday.
The majority of the respondents in this survey are below 44 as about 36.3 percent of them were born in the 1990s, 37.7 percent in the 1980s and 18.8 percent in the 1970s.
The survey was conducted by the research department of the China Youth Daily, a major newspaper.
Besides lack of facilities, about 14 percent of the respondents said they are too busy to keep up exercise while 12.9 percent said the cost of working out is too high.
About 83 percent of them agreed that the government has not spent enough resources on public fitness facilities while only 5.3 percent said otherwise.
Recently there are many media coverage on "square dancers", mostly mid-age and senior females who take up their group dancing practice in open areas of their residence buildings or some shopping centers.
While complaining about loud music and inconvenience these square dances cause, many have argued that there should be more proper facilities for people to carry out their exercise.
Prof. Tan Jianxiang, with the School of Physical Education and Sports Science of South China Normal University, told the China Youth Daily that the government spending on public fitness has in fact increased these years.
The reason why the public does not feel it is that the money has not gone to the right place, Tan said.
Most local governments prefer building big stadiums and hosting sport events, which the public benefit little in their day-to-day exercises, Tan said.
The government should shift their resources to small fitness facilities in the neighborhood, he added.