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British exercising more

Posted in: Research Last updated: 10 Oct 2010

The British have doubled the amount of time they spend exercising since this time last year, it was revealed yesterday.

Twelve months ago, on average, Britons exercised twice a week, but this has now increased to four times a week, a new survey shows.

And six in 10 people say the main reason for exercising is the desire to lose weight.

Over a third said they had decided to ‘up’ their exercise levels after seeing an unflattering photograph of themselves looking fat and unfit.  Thirty four per cent of respondents decided they had to do something after looking in the mirror; and the trigger for one in six of those surveyed was the realisation they had gone up a whole clothes size.

But the hard work is already paying off.  Forty eight per cent of people reckon they feel happier with their body than they have been for years; and 47 per cent are enjoying compliments on how much better they look.

Karl Elliott at Engage Mutual, which polled 3,000 people for the study, said:

“It is fantastic to finally hear a positive story about the health and well being of British people.

“This survey shows an increased commitment to exercising and keeping fit, and it is incredible to see the difference in just 12 months.

“Regardless of people’s motivations, it is great that we are now exceeding the levels of physical exercise recommended by the government for general health.”1

The survey shows 53 per cent of people are exercising more just to keep fit, but 37 per cent are doing so due to concerns about their long term health.

Other deciding factors for upping the exercise include having a baby (13 per cent), getting married (11 per cent) and booking an exotic holiday (14 per cent).

The most common form of exercise taken by 52 per cent of Brits is walking; almost a third hit the gym regularly; and 29 per cent jog.

Home exercise videos are also a popular choice for 14 per cent of people.

Indeed, walking, jogging and exercise videos are preferred by 46 per cent of people due to money being tight.

A further 23 per cent say this type of exercise is more convenient because they can go straight from home or do it at home.

Karl Elliott continued:

“We’re used to hearing about the beneficial effects of exercise; for the heart, for improved muscle strength and flexibility, and for helping with weight management.

“But it’s also a great stress buster and people find that when they up their exercise levels, they have more energy for life in general.”

The research shows 25 per cent of parents would like to be fit and healthy for the sake of their children, and a further 14 per cent want to set them a good example.

Interestingly, 18 per cent of people are thinking about prolonging their life expectancy as much as they can, while eight per cent of women are exercising to get back into pre-pregnancy shape.

Top 10 reasons for exercising more

  • To lose weight
  • Just to keep fit
  • Worried about long term health
  • To be fit and healthy for the sake of the children
  • To prolong life expectancy as much as possible
  • To ward off/reduce a beer belly
  • To set a good example to the children
  • Keeping fit to play another sport
  • To get back into pre-pregnancy shape
  • Back on the dating scene