Brits missing NHS exercise targets, with women aged 40-54 the worst offenders.

Ben TobinYouGov PR Manager
August 13, 2015, 8:41 AM GMT+0

In conjunction with Simply Health, YouGov has launched an everyday health tracker, with the aim of painting the broadest picture yet of UK health and well-being.

One major finding the first wave of research has unearthed is that UK adults are falling well below NHS exercise targets, with only a minority meeting current recommendations on aerobic activity.

The NHS aerobic activity target is 150 minutes moderate intensity per week (e.g. fast walking/cycling) or 75 minutes vigorous intensity per week (e.g. running, tennis).

31% say that they are aware of the NHS aerobic activity target, but only 40% assert that they met the target over the last three months. 39% are doing less than one session per week. Only one in seven (14%) know about the muscle-strengthening activity target.

Women perform worse than men on this front, and this is true across all age groups. Women aged 40-54 are the least likely to exercise the recommended amount, just 32% do. 25-39 year old men are most likely to (51%).

What explains the disparity between the recommendation and the reality? Almost one third (32%) say the lack of time is the reason, while the same number say it is lack of willpower to blame.

Among those that do manage to do regular aerobic exercise, the most popular reason for doing so it simply ‘to feel better overall’ (50%). 47% want to raise the general fitness while 41% say their motivation is to lose weight. Other reasons include ‘to increase energy levels’ (20%) and increase attractiveness to others (8%).

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