LIFESTYLE

20 Million Brits 'Physically Inactive' And Risking Heart Disease, Study Reveals

The average man spends over one fifth of his lifetime sitting.

03/04/2017 11:56 BST | Updated 03/04/2017 12:16 BST

More than 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive, according to a new health report.

The findings, released by The British Heart Foundation, reveal such inactivity greatly increases the nation’s risk of cardiovascular disease, costing the NHS £1.2bn per year.

Women are 36% more likely than men to be classified as physically inactive - 11.8 million women compared with 8.3 million men. 

BHF analysis shows the average man spends over a fifth of his lifetime sitting – equivalent to 78 days each year.

More than 5million deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity. In the UK alone it causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall.

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The report defines “inactive” as not achieving the government guidelines for physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and strength activities on at least two days a week.

As a result the charity is launching MyMarathon challenge this year, urging people to kick-start a more active lifestyle to help improve their heart health.

It challenge encourages people of all fitness levels to run the 26.2 miles in their own time over a month, from as little as a mile a day, with money raised helping to fund life saving research to fight heart disease.

Here are 10 ways to get more active that won’t feel like too much of a chore. 

  • Make The Most Of Your Commute
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    Running or cycling to work is an easy way to squeeze a work out into a busy schedule - and it's also good for the environment. It's also a great way to boost your mood, especially when the sun is shining.

    If it isn't feasible for you to run or walk to work, but how about getting off the train a stop early or parking further away than usual?
  • Reclaim Your Lunch Break
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    No more eating lunch at your desk, grab your trainers and make the most of those sacred 60 minutes. 

    Whether it's a jog around the local park or encouraging your office to introduce lunch time classes, make sure you make that lunch break count.

    What's more, many London-based gyms are introducing short lunch-time classes to help fit in with your schedule. See here for more info.
  • Get A Workout Buddy
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    Not only is it nice to have someone to chat to and share fitness goals with, but it's harder to cancel when someone else is counting on you. 

    If that hasn't convinced you, here are 15 reasons you need a workout buddy in 2017.
  • Workout At Home
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    You needn't spend hours slogging away in the gym or spend a fortune on expensive equipment.

    Try a HIIT or body weight circuit at home to work up a sweat. Not sure what to do? Check out YouTube or follower personal trainers like Alice Liveing for some easy-to-follow workouts.

    If you want to push that little bit harder, get yourself some lightweight dumbbells or resistance band to feel the burn.
  • Go On An Exercise Date
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    If you've got a date night planned this week, skip dinner and a movie in favour of something that gets you off your rears.

    It doesn't have to be a trip to the gym or a jog -- it can be anything active you like doing together.
  • Go For A Brisk Walk
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    Exercising doesn't necessarily mean 20 burpees. Why not rab your trainers and hit the local park after work?

    A recent study revealed that just hour of walking after work could cancel out the negative effect of sitting at a desk all day.
  • Play Fetch
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    Man's best friend doubles up as man's best workout buddy. So spend a little time going on an extra long walk or playing fetch with your pooch for 30 minutes. 

    And if you don't have a dog - hook up with a dog owner pal or use BorrowMyDoggy to hook up with a local pooch.
  • Hit The Pool
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    You don't have to be Michael Phelps to get a water workout. 

    It's a great full body workout and way to keep joints mobilised. It's pretty inexpensive and if you're lucky, you could even splash around in the local lido (weather dependent).

    And next time you find yourself poolside on holiday, make sure you don't just spend a fortnight on a lilo, OK?
  • Join A Sports Team
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    Competition, camaraderie, commitment: all great reasons to get involved in a sports team.

    It needn't be serious - join a local league or rent a pitch for a game five-a-side with your mates.

    Keen to get started? Check out Be Inspired, a comprehensive site where people can look up sports they might be interested in starting, then find a club in their local area.  Be Inspired is run by Sport England and UK Sport and is funded by National Lottery money.
  • Have Fun
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    Embrace your inner child with the playground-inspired games at Rabble. Exercises include ultimate frisbee, British Bulldog, dodgeball and lots of laughing.

    Prices are £10 per class (or less if you buy a package) and sessions are available across many UK cities.Check out joinrabble.com to find your nearest session.