Lazy Brits are not exercising enough, study finds
19th May 2015
lifestyle changesNew research has painted a damning picture of Britain’s adults…Almost half of us are simply never doing any exercise. The British Heart Foundation carried out a study and made the alarming discovery that a shocking 44% of adults do not engage in any form of moderate-intensity exercise, meaning British activity levels are shamefully amongst the worst across Europe. An estimated five million adults are sat down for over a third of the day (8 hours), whilst around one in ten Brits say they are never walking anywhere for more than ten minutes at a time. Britain is three times less active than our Dutch counterparts over in the Netherlands and overall ranks at a dismal 16th place in a table of 28 European countries for fitness levels. This means we are on an equal inactive level with Slovakia, Romania and Ireland. According to the NHS physical activity guidelines, adults aged 19-64 should be aiming for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per day to stay healthy, which includes cycling or fast walking every week and muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days each week that are making all the main muscle groups work. However, less than a third of women and less than half of men are actually reaching 150 minutes of the moderate-intensity exercise. The study has resulted in further warnings about an increasing problem of obesity, which needs to be properly tackled sooner than later. Catherine Kelly, director of prevention, survival and support at the BHF, commented: “The figures are a worrying indication of the overall picture of our nation's heart health. “Alongside funding research into improving outcomes for heart patients, we need to create environments that make it easier for people to better understand and cut their risk of heart disease. “Research has shown that even making small, more active changes to your daily routine can improve your heart health. “With the warmer nights and lighter evenings, the summer is the perfect opportunity for people to start making these changes.” The new worrying statistics were amassed by researchers at Oxford University, who analysed previously conducted national surveys covering exercise levels and sedentary behaviour. The surveys show that a mere 10% of UK adults are involved in a sport or physical activity on a regular basis or physical activity. This is in comparison to a slightly better rate of 15% in Sweden, Spain and Slovenia. In addition, 9% admitted to never walking for over ten minutes at a time. In 2014, NHS officials warned that an insufficient amount of exercise could be attributed to around one in six deaths – i.e. fatalities from conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease, this is comparable to the death rates from smoking. They stressed that inactive lifestyles are not only to blame for obesity, but for problems such as muscle and joint complaints, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, stroke and type 2 diabetes.