Keeping fit - but not for fun

August 22, 2011, 10:33 PM GMT+0

Over three quarters of British adults say they exercise regularly, but fewer than one in ten cite their main motivation as ‘because it’s fun’, our poll has revealed. Instead, most say that they exercise to control their weight.

The survey, on behalf of the National Lottery, which helps fund sports initiatives across the country, has also revealed that the Norwich area is the fittest capital of the UK, with more than four out of five residents exercising regularly. Plymouth is the least fit city in the country, where almost one third of adults has no regular exercise regime.

  • Over three out of four adults (76%) in the UK say they regularly exercise
  • The most popular reason for getting active is trying to control weight (37%)
  • For just 8% of those who exercise regularly, the main reason is that it’s fun
  • The highest proportion of adults not exercising regularly is in the 45 to 54 age group (26%)
  • Unemployed adults are much more likely to exercise to combat stress than those in work (15% v 9%)

Men vs. women

  • Twice as many men as women regularly go running (10% compared to 5%)
  • Four times as many women as men regularly go dancing (8% and 2%)
  • Adults who’ve never married are more likely than others to be exercising to ‘look good’ (7%)

Regional differences

  • The Norwich area is the fitness capital of the UK, with 83% saying they exercise regularly
  • 4 in 5 adults in Northern Ireland regularly exercise, the highest rate in the UK
  • Adults in Northern Ireland (42%), Wales (38%) and Scotland (40%) are most likely to be exercising to control their weight

Health and wellbeing

Sam Murphy, fitness expert and author, explains how Lottery-funded gyms and exercise centres can help people get active. £1.4 billion of National Lottery money has been invested in projects to boost the nation’s health. Over £600 million of Lottery funding is improving the nation’s parks.

‘Projects and venues to get us moving benefit from the £28 million of Lottery money invested in Good Causes every week. I know this from experience – I received Lottery funding to help set up a community gym where I used to live.

‘Regular physical activity is often seen as a lifestyle choice, but it’s essential for safeguarding people’s health and wellbeing. Even small amounts of exercise – like a walk in the park - can get you fitter, healthier and you’ll enjoy life more.’