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And the gold medal for ‘laziest country in Europe’ goes to…

physical inactivity With the arrival of 14,000 super-fit and sculpted athletes storming our television screens this summer, and 75% of the world planning to sit on the sofa to watch them, it’s hard not to feel a little guilty – shouldn’t we be out there keeping fit, too?

According to research published in the Lancet today, two-thirds of Britons are not doing enough exercise to keep themselves healthy. If slothfulness was a sport, we’d get the bronze medal. We are the third most inactive nation in Europe, and the seventh most inactive in the world.

The Olympic gold medal for laziness goes to Malta – where apparently the lure of the Mediterranean heat and beach culture prevents a massive 71% of the nation from undertaking enough exercise.

So just how much is ‘enough exercise’ and where do you come in to the scale?

‘Physical inactivity’ is defined as not doing 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week OR 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times a week.

In the UK, 63.3% of adults do not meet the recommended amounts of exercise per week. Inactivity causes 6-10% of the four ‘major diseases’:

  • coronary heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • breast cancer
  • colon cancer.

Inactivity was responsible for 5.3 million of the 57 million worldwide deaths in 2008.

Keeping fit and active is important for a healthy, happy lifestyle. Exercise is beneficial for mental health, as well as helping prevent a huge range of illnesses.

If health reasons prevent you from exercising, try some more low-impact activities such as a gentle breast-stroke in the swimming pool, a short cycle ride on flat ground, or a yoga/pilates class.

Often it can be difficult to fit a healthy lifestyle around a sedentary office job, or a busy schedule.

A life coach could help you to make sensible, beneficial changes to your life so that you can finally find the time to exercise and get fit.

Find out all about life coaching by visiting our Life Coaching Areas page.

View and comment on the original Guardian article.

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Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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