Almost 80% of adults don’t do enough exercise

exerciseNearly eight out of every 10 adults in England may not be getting enough exercise each week and putting their health at risk.

This worrying statistic comes from a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and conducted by the University of Bristol, where researchers looked at data from over one million adults in England from the Active People Surveys (APS).  It was discovered that 80% were not adhering to governmental targets of engaging in moderate exercise at least 12 times in a four-week time period.

The APS analyses an individual’s socioeconomic position in addition to factors such as the weather and availability of sports facilities to them.

According to the researchers, the study demonstrates a clear association between a person’s education, household income and local area deprivation in accordance with the amount of physical activity they engage in.

It was found that better educated and wealthier individuals were more likely to exercise, whilst the poorer and less educated were more likely to not bother with much exercise. However on the whole, the majority of adults are seemingly way under the recommended levels of activity required to keep healthy.

Those with a degree apparently only had a 12% chance of being inactive but those without any qualifications were in fact three times more likely to not exercise.

Other findings from the study were the fact 8% of people physically capable of walking had not done this for even a mere five minutes continuously in the previous four weeks. Involvement in the most common activities was found to be ‘very low’.

In addition, researchers said nearly half (46%) had walked for less than 30 minutes continuously during leisure time, whilst 88% had not been swimming and a staggering 90% had not even been to a gym in the last four weeks.

Unsurprisingly, the study findings suggested that warm weather provided people with more motivation to exercise and rain decreased the amount of physical activity.

Carol Propper, professor of economics at the university’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation, said: “Physical inactivity is the most important modifiable health behaviour for chronic disease, so knowing who is physically inactive is important for designing cost-effective policy interventions.”

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum and honorary chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, hit out at the figures and said: “No-one should be at all surprised by these woeful statistics,” and blamed the government for not  doing enough to use the London 2012 Olympics as a springboard for more participation in grassroots sport.

To stay healthy, NHS guidelines state that adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This can include fast walking, hiking, volleyball, rollerblading or basketball. However, on top of this the NHS recommends to engage in muscle-strengthening exercises on 2 or more days each week. This can include heavy gardening (such as digging and shovelling), lifting weights, yoga and exercises that use your body weight for resistance (such as push-ups and sit-ups).

It is apparent that many of the population are simply not doing enough to stay active and this in conjunction with poor diets are causing more and more people to become overweight or obese. The good news for those overweight or obese is that it is never too late to make positive changes and a healthy, balanced diet in conjunction with exercise and a weight loss aid such as Xenical, Alli, or XLS-Medical will provide you with the tools to live a much healthier life.

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