Is your lifestyle active enough? If you live in the UK, the answer is that unless you’re an aerobics instructor, professional sportsman or other keep-fit fanatic, you probably aren’t!
For despite the fact that couch potatoes are up to 50% more likely to run the risk of chronic major disease, we the great British public certainly aren’t falling over ourselves in our attempts to run, swim or dance our way to a healthier future.
So what will it take to make people change their paradigm where physical activity is concerned? What will encourage them to factor more exercise into their daily routine? How can we motivate ourselves and our family and friends off the sofa and into the gym?
Well, the first thing that we need to understand is the reason why people don’t exercise. Excuses generally range from the perfectly reasonable (a punishing work schedule or responsibility for elderly relatives who can’t be left alone) to the ridiculously feeble (I can never find my trainers…).
Time is certainly a major – and effective – deterrent when it comes to being more active. However, lack of motivation is possibly an even bigger one.
It’s not that people don’t realise that exercise is good for them. As Bridget Hurley, a spokeswoman for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, points out: “Most people know physical activity is good for their health, but when it comes to doing it, exercise simply isn’t a priority.
“Regular physical activity is as important as eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and people need to understand that you can’t keep putting it off.”
The truth is that many of us are chronic procrastinators. Our intentions are good, but we need something – or someone – to give us a kick-start. If you’re one of those who struggle to get motivated, a spa break offers the perfect chance to psych yourself up ready for your get active campaign.
And findings of a recent poll carried out by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy would suggest that this is a move we should make sooner rather than later.
According to the report, which investigated the fitness habits of 2,084 adults, 63% of those interviewed admitted that they didn’t take enough exercise – and that translates into nearly two thirds of UK adults risking their health through lack of exercise
A surprising statistic, perhaps, when you consider the frequent publicity given to the role of fitness in reducing the risks of life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. In other words, the sort of serious health problems that you’d think anyone with an ounce of common sense would want to avoid like the plague…
One solution to the motivation problem might be to book yourself in for a long-term (lifetime?) spa break.
Living healthily would undoubtedly be so much easier if you could draw on the expertise of a team of health professionals to guide and encourage you from dawn to dusk. Better still, if only healthy food was available, you’d have no choice but to eat well!
Sadly – for most of us, at least – the “live at a spa full-time” solution is a tad impractical. The prospect of enjoying a spa visit a couple of times a year is readily achievable though – whether to relax after a particularly stressful period in your personal life or to re-galvanise your resolve to pursue a healthier way of life.
But what really matters is what we do on our return to “the real world” after our inspiring spa experiences. That’s when the hard bit starts… eating “five a day”, not allowing the stresses of work and family to get to us, exercising more (or even at all) – and all this on a daily basis.
It’s only when you contemplate the effort involved in doing all these commendable things that suddenly the statistics don’t appear so surprising after all…