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.

Related Stories

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.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 345.

    @335. Unfortunately it does. They tend to achieve more in life, marry similarly betted educated people, have fewer & more intelligent/better educated children etc. Meanwhile those at the bottom end of educational achievement don't do so well, have more children, get into debt etc.etc. Sad but a simple fact. Worse still dependency breeds dependency as it's all the kids know.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 344.

    341.
    nagivatorjan

    "Can we have a few more hours in the day to fit all this in please? Commuting to work and actually working when I get there uses some 13 hours of my day, I still have to eat, sleep and get ready for work, When, oh when can I fit exercising in? Weekends are for housework!"

    Yes, I do all that too and still find time to exercise. You find a reason or you find an excuse.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 343.

    #331 NOOOOO! The exact opposite. Its the people who do claim a special case for fructose I have a problem with. As you say sucrose is one fructose molecule attached to one glucose & its the main sugar in fruits. The BBC "documentary" " the men who made us fat" was one of the worst bits of "science" I'd ever seen & seems to have promoted 'its not my fault, its the fructose" to greater heights.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 342.

    I can't understand why people drive to the gym to get on treadmills - if they wanted to get fit, why not walk there?

    I put music with a good steady beat on my mo3 player - now I exercise every time I go out, even to the local shops for a pint of milk!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 341.

    Can we have a few more hours in the day to fit all this in please? Commuting to work and actually working when I get there uses some 13 hours of my day, I still have to eat, sleep and get ready for work, When, oh when can I fit exercising in? Weekends are for housework!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 340.

    My local sport centre closed down du to the cuts. I used the stairs more, walked to work and dont use the lift at work. I have lost weight, income is just another excuse for people not to use their bodies more, look at all the fat (lets stop using PC terms like obese its fat) rich Eric Pickles, Prescott hardly an advertisment for healthy people!

  • Comment number 339.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 338.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 337.

    Gym memberships are the biggest rip off out there, spend 3400 a year on something you may use religously for 3 months then scrape ice off the car with in winter. buy a pair of trainers, walk jog if able too. ive done this 3 times a week tipically 15km per run, can eat/drink what i like in moderation with no worries

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 336.

    It would have been nice to have seen more details from the research? Many poorer people do manual jobs, and are therefore physically active; though perhaps not gym members, or cyclists. There are exceptions, the same one's you might find among the wealthier.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 335.

    So natural selection favours the better educated. That is excellent news.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 334.

    Excercise seems like a lot of hard work for a few more years lying on a urine soaked mattress in a care home while the council empties my bank account to pay for it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 333.

    329.
    paulmerhaba

    Off topic, Go away.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 332.

    328
    also the rubber surface is very springy so its kinder on the knees, you can vary the speed and angle you run up (its been ages since I ran on one but I used to set it to a variety of hills) and my old gym had the BBC news on a big screen & headphone jacks in the treadmills.

    To be honest running outdoors is much harder work, but in winter (or a rare red hot summer day) its more pleasant

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 331.

    Peter Sym #195. I was not elevating fructose above other sugars in undesirability, and I agree that much nonsense is talked about corn syrup. After all, table sugar is half fructose, so no different to corn syrup. I had got the impression you were pleading a special case for fructose as it is contained in fruit, which we we are told to eat a lot of.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 330.

    Not perfect by any stretch but a thirty-minute people-watching session whilst sat outside my favourite town centre coffee shop makes me feel positively immortal!

  • Comment number 329.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 328.

    305.
    Hugo Grotius
    36 Minutes ago

    I have never really understood why someone would make a five mile round car journey to the gym just to go on a running machine.
    ____________

    1) Maintain certain speeds
    2) Incline monitoring
    3) Heart rate sensors
    4) Standardised fitness tests
    5) General distance statistics
    6) Nice after a knackering heavy session to shower and get in the car

    ....etc

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 327.

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

    I think the BBC's own Andrew Marr would beg to differ.......

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 326.

    Driven peope tend to be more active about achieving things in all aspects of their life. Therefore they are more likely to push themselves on in their jobs and careers. Similarly they are more likely to actively work on getting their desired level of health / fitness / strength / body etc. So no real surprise there is a correlation. It's all down to priorities and making things happen for yourself

 

Page 6 of 23

 

More Health stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.