One in five Brits never exercise for 30 minutes or more during a typical week, a new poll from Health-on-Line and YouGov shows.
The research suggests a significant percentage of British adults could be falling short of the government’s recommended target of at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity* every week.
Some 20% of those polled said they never exercise for 30 minutes or more during a typical week, while a further 18% said they only exercise for 30 minutes or more once a week or less often. Only 21% of respondents exercise five times a week or more.
Of those who do exercise, the most common activity undertaken is walking at a fast pace (63%), followed by attending the gym (16%) and running outside the gym (12%). Swimming and cycling are regular exercises for 11% of those who ever exercise.
The research also revealed the key motivations behind exercise and the healthy habits linked with regular physical activity. Improving their health was the primary reason given by 26% of those who ever exercise; 17% said the exercise they do is part of their daily routine and 17% said their primary reason for exercising is to lose weight.
Respondents who ever exercise also said exercising led to many other health benefits; 37% said regular exercise encourages them to eat more healthily, 33% of Britons find regular exercise improves their sleeping habits and 33% said it encourages them to drink more water.
The survey also identified barriers to doing more exercise; 40% said lack of time is an obstacle, 17% said it is too expensive to exercise and 12% said not being confident or being too embarrassed is one of their barriers. A further 23% said they could not be bothered to do more exercise.
Fiona Carter of Health-on-Line said: “Exercise is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but our survey shows many of us are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity. In particular, lack of time was seen as a barrier to doing more exercise, but it can be simple to fit short bursts of exercise into your daily routine.
“The survey also identified some key regional differences, with Londoners most likely to head to the gym and Welsh people being the most likely to exercise to improve their looks and least likely to improve their health.”
*Further guidelines on recommended physical activity levels for adults can be found on the NHS Choices website http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx