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Lazy Britain – Worrying statistics show few of us do enough exercise

Lazy Brits‘Cut down on your pork pies mate and get some exercise’, famous Britpop band Blur once sang – but even now, decades on, studies show the nation is simply not taking the advice.

In fact, a massive 80% of us are failing to hit government exercise targets according to a study carried out by researchers at Bristol University.

According to government health experts, adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (such as walking and cycling) as well as muscle strengthening activities two days a week.

In one month adults should walk or cycle for around 600 minutes in total. The survey revealed that one in 10 UK adults has not even walked continuously for five minutes in the past month.

All in all the study, taken to examine the lifestyles of millions of Brits over a number of years, paints a shocking picture of the nation’s health. The authors believe bad lifestyle habits can be pinned down to socioeconomic factors such as income and ethnicity. For instance, people with low levels of education are three times less likely to get the recommended level of exercise than those with degrees. Only 12% of people with degrees are considered inactive.

One study author Professor Carol Propper described the results as “staggering … The level of physical activity is shockingly low.”

Researchers also discovered, perhaps unsurprisingly that people in areas with more sports facilities were more physically active than those who live in an area with few facilities.

The results will be used to work out strategies for improving the nation’s health. It is thought financial as well as cultural barriers need to be overcome to get people moving.

The low levels of physical activity is reflected in health and obesity statistics. Over a quarter of the adult population is obese, while 33% of women and 44% of men can be classed as overweight.

Finding the time, money and motivation to exercise can be a struggle. Heavy workloads, chaotic family life and of course a dislike of sport can prevent people from doing the activity necessary to stay healthy.

Life coaching can help people overcome these barriers by re-organising priorities and teaching self-motivation techniques. There are so many different forms of exercise to try – you don’t have to be a fast runner or a football fanatic to stay healthy. Anything from a 20 minute walk every morning, to 10 minutes of vigorous housework a day can help you keep in shape. It’s about finding the right activity for your lifestyle. Find out more by visiting our Health 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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