Most adults don't exercise enough, research finds

 
Generic pic of cyclist The government recommends people take moderate exercise at least 12 times in every four-week period.

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Most adults in England are risking their health by failing to get enough exercise, research suggests.

A University of Bristol-led study found 80% failed to meet the government target of taking moderate exercise at least 12 times in a four-week period.

Better-off and better-educated adults were most likely to exercise, while the poorer and least educated were most likely to be inactive.

The study analysed exercise data for more than a million adults in England.

It found about 8% of adults who were physically able to walk had not walked for even five minutes continuously during a four-week period, while 46% had not walked for leisure for more than 30 minutes continuously.

Researchers said 88% had not been swimming, 90% had not used a gym and around 20% of people over the age of 16 had done only minimal amounts of physical activity.

Warm weather

They say the findings provide evidence of a direct correlation between an individual's education, household income and local area deprivation and their level of physical activity.

Start Quote

Physical inactivity is the most important modifiable health behaviour for chronic disease”

End Quote Prof Carol Propper

Those with higher socioeconomic status were more physically active and people with a degree only had a 12% chance of being inactive. However, those with no qualifications were three times as likely to not exercise.

Those living in areas with more sports facilities and higher local authority spending on new facilities were also less likely to be inactive.

The study also found warm weather made people more likely to exercise, while rain reduced levels 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."

She said the findings suggested that "financial as well as cultural barriers need to be overcome to reduce the prevalence of physical inactivity".

The NHS recommends people exercise at moderate intensity for at least two and a half hours every week. This can include cycling, fast walking, hiking and basketball. Experts also recommend muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week to work major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Olympic legacy

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum and honorary chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, said: "No-one should be at all surprised by these woeful statistics."

He blamed successive governments for failing to ensure that the London 2012 Olympics inspired people to participate in grassroots sport.

The Economic and Social Research Council-funded research analysed data from Sport England's annual Active People Surveys, which included details on an individual's gender, education, income and local area deprivation, physical activity levels and local geographical factors such as weather and access to sports facilities and green spaces.

The World Health Organisation estimates physical inactivity causes 1.9 million deaths a year worldwide, including 10% to 16% of breast cancer, colon cases and diabetes cases and about 22% of coronary heart disease cases.

 

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  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 205.

    One of the advantages of living a modern, 21st century existence is that we can take advantage of our spare time to do what our forebears could only dream: absolutely nothing.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 204.

    191.As-If
    182 "Just take a look at the self-righteous comments..etc"

    Perhaps your comment is the reason why a medical HYS never gets many posts compared to other topics.
    -
    And you've ignored my point. Its easy to say something is easy without knowing personel circumstances of the person your judging. And doing so will likely have the opposite effect and discourage exercise

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 203.

    I take it that the people who 'don't have time', never watch TV, never browse the Internet, never spend hours sat on Facebook, never have lie ins, never go to the pub, never sit around lazing in the sun.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 202.

    More nannying. These 'researchers' would be better employed doing a proper job. They could probably do with more exercise themselves.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 201.

    The people that equate exercise with misery are those that clearly don't do it enough: those who tried running once, got tired, so didn't bother doing it again. From my own experience, the more you run the better it feels and the more you enjoy it. Plus you feel much better in yourself when you're resting between exercise sessions.

    Yes it does take drive and motivation, but that is down to you!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 200.

    if I had time after work, and wasn't already exhausted I would probably be fitter. But after a long day there's not much more that you want other than sleep really.

    Sure I could cycle to work, but I'll live longer taking the bus considering some of the antics cars and lorries get up to. (Not that all drivers are bad, just a minority that cause all the problems)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 199.

    With a 25 min walk to work I could do more.

    86.Peter_Sym
    "Funny how these genes didn't seem to express themselves in our grandparents though isn't it?"

    Doesn't rule out the genetic factor though does it. If our grandparents had the same diet & lifestyle as the average today, they might show the same genetic traits too.

    Wow. Diet and Lifestyle. We must have stumbled on to that by accident!

    Duh!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 198.

    Peter Sym, you are partially correct with the usual calories in/out argument but the reason many otherwise fairly slim people cannot get rid of fat from their waists is because their diets are high in carbohydrates. These are turned into fat and stop the fat cells releasing fat. If you eat the same number of calories, but more fat and protein and fewer from carbohydrates, you will be slimmer.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 197.

    I agree with many posters that its about activity in life rather than focussing on sport or gyms. When I see people driving to the gym near us I think why not walk there or go on your bike?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 196.

    I joined a gym a couple of years ago, and was given a punishing circuit of heavy exercise. I soon dumped that and opted for a more moderate regime. If someone doesn't go to the gym or play a sport etc, they should do simple things in order to keep fit - not using the car for small journeys, taking the stairs not lifts, stop buying sweets, cut the processed food, have fruit in the house etc.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 195.

    #183 The drivel is that the obesity crisis is caused by fructose. Large quantities of ANY sugar are best avoided. The idea that people are 40 & 50 stone while eating 1,500 calories a day all because of the magic properties of high fructose corn syrup (which is extremely uncommon in the UK BTW- its an american thing) IS drivel & something you won't find in Nature or Science (you will on the BBC)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 194.

    Its awful the way people don't look after themselves. It's the kids I feel sorry for. I heard an obese woman yesterday saying " If you don't shut up your not getting a pastie" to her kid who was about 3. These parents feed their kids on greggs pasties and sausage rolls and it's disgusting. What sort of example is this for our kids?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 193.

    Each morning when I cycling to work I pass an elderly man cycling the other way. This morning he was pushing his bike so I stopped to check he was okay. I asked him about his daily journey and he told me he cycles 17 miles each day. He also told me he will soon be 82 - more than twice my age. I only hope I am like that when I am in my 80s.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 192.

    Motivated and driven people are more likely to exercise. They are also likely to have better education and better incomes.

    Being poor is not the cause of being inactive.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 191.

    182 "Just take a look at the self-righteous comments..etc"

    Perhaps your comment is the reason why a medical HYS never gets many posts compared to other topics.
    The "poor me" posters all pop up whining why they can`t possibly do anything about their condition.
    As if we are to believe all illness just happens to you out of the blue, nothing you can do about it, nothing you should do to prevent it,

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 190.

    13.Atheissimo Lucky you to have time to walk - you obviously don't drop kids off on the way to work or have to pick them up in the evening nor do the shopping (no on line ordering) and have to carry it home. If I had had time between other things that had to be done I would have been fitter in my 30 and slimmer maybe. Things changed as kids grow up and income improves. Time and money helps

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 189.

    This is a disgrace - people are soo lazy to prefer a car seat to 2 legs - a crime against humanity ! - does money buy health ????

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 188.

    Excuses, excuses, excuses...

    If you REALLY want to exercise and be fit you will be. Exercise can be taken in so many various ways that money, work, time, family, injuries etc can not be used as an excuse. Gym membership does not hold all the answers!

    If there is something in life that you really want, you try as hard as you can to make that happen.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 187.

    @116 "poorer people lack initiative"
    @133 "What an extraordinarily bigoted comment! Poorer people lack MONEY!"

    Actually, poorer people (on average) spend a greater proportion of their money on gambling, smoking, and alcohol. It's not money they lack, it's the ability to make correct decisions. They prefer instant gratification at the expense of the longer term benefits.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 186.

    The route cause ofa lot of this is that old word "choice" in years gone by we all walked to the nearest school, the nearest shop, the nearest park.

    Now parents drive their kids to the "best" school, so the rot sets in early.

    We are 10 mins walk from school and some kids get driven, which is madness

 

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