Brits risk unhealthy lifestyle as half the population walk less than an hour a day

Cancer Research UK
  • Almost half (45%) of GB adults are sedentary for at least six hours every day
  • Almost half (46%) of GB working adults walk for less than an hour every work day
  • Around a third (34%) of office workers sit for nine hours or more every day
  • Lack of time cited as the primary reason for not walking more
  • Dog-owners are more active

Almost half (45%) of GB adults sit for six hours or more every day and might not be getting enough exercise, according to new research by Cancer Research UK’s Walk All Over Cancer campaign published today. Almost half (46%) of GB adults in employment walk for less than an hour every work day.

“While our hectic lifestyles can make it hard for people to find time to keep active, the best thing to do is build it into your everyday life. Any level of exercise is better than none, so building some moderate activity into your daily routine can really make a difference."Katie Edmunds, Cancer Research UK

The research, conducted by YouGov, also shows 28% of GB adults walk 35 minutes a day or less when they are not working, with lack of time cited as the primary reason for not walking more (17%).

The study highlights that your choice of profession has a big impact on the amount of walking you do, with manual workers clocking up more steps than professionals. Almost half (45%) of manual workers like plumbers and electricians walk for more than an hour and a half each working day, whilst only 13% of professionals such as accountants, or analysts walk for the same length of time each working day. Office workers are the worst offenders, with around a third (34%) sitting for 9 hours or more every day.

The study also found that dog-owners are more likely to be active, with over half (54%) walking for an hour or more each day compared to only 44% of people who don’t own a dog walking the same amount of time. On average dog owners are walking their dog for 35 minutes each day.

Whether it’s walking the children to school, walking to the shops, or taking your dog to the park, everyday changes can help you or your family stay healthy. Being more active can have many health benefits, including reducing cancer risk. Regularly doing exercise that gets you warm and slightly out of breath, like brisk walking, can help people maintain a healthy weight, and in doing so, reduce this risk of 13 different types of cancer.

Katie Edmunds, health information manager at Cancer Research UK said: “It’s worrying to see that almost half of UK adults are sitting for more than six hours per day, as being physically active comes with many health benefits, including helping you keep to a healthy weight and reducing the risk of cancer. The government recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

 “The main reason people gave for not walking more is that they don’t have enough time. While our hectic lifestyles can make it hard for people to find time to keep active, the best thing to do is build it into your everyday life. Any level of exercise is better than none, so building some moderate activity into your daily routine can really make a difference.

“For many people, walking is probably the easiest way to start being more active as you don’t need any special kit or to join a gym. There are lots of simple ways to rack up daily steps, and if you usually commute to work then walking as part of your usual journey is a great way to squeeze in some extra physical activity to your day, alternatively you could take a quick stroll around your local park at lunch. Signing up to our Walk All Over Cancer campaign, is a great way to kickstart a change to your physical health and wellbeing.”

The research has been released as Cancer Research UK calls on people across the country to take part in Walk All Over Cancer by taking 10,000 steps every day this March to help raise money for life-saving research.

Walkers pledging their support can take part on their own or challenge family, friends and work mates to join them.

Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured, and all money raised through the challenge will fund ground-breaking research into more than 200 types of cancer.

To sign up and receive your free fundraising pack visit www.cruk.org/walkallover.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on +44 203 469 8300 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on +44 7050 264 059.

Notes to Editor

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,110 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th and 15th February 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)