The UK Government recommends that adults take 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week, but many people find it so impractical to fit this into their busy working lives that they are being put off even trying.
Dr Mike Loosemere, head of exercise medicine at the Institute of Sports Exercise and Health at University College London, says that on the face of it these guidelines seem very undemanding considering the considerable health benefits they will bring, but research shows that barely 7% of men and 4% of women were carrying out enough exercise to meet them.
Dr Loosemere cites the inherently sedentary nature of modern working life to be at the root of the problem. It seems that we are spending so much time sat in our cars, or at our desks, or in front of our televisions, that we are getting just a fraction of the exercise that we really need to stay healthy. The fact that most people believe they can’t find the time to fit 30 minutes of exercise into their hectic routines, means that the public simply aren’t engaging with the government’s message.
“Most of us do not have the time, energy or inclination to make the effort, so the recommendations are not just failing to engage the population, but are positively discouraging people to participate at all” explains Dr Loosemere, who has been involved in the development of commercial exercise programmes which encourage simple activities such as standing up to take a phone call in the office.
“There is now enormous evidence that simply standing up for a few seconds can put you on a positive path to better health. It is estimated that being on your feet for just three hours a day can extend your life by two years! It’s time to stand up for yourself. Literally.”