Third Of Office Workers 'Too Busy' For Health And Wellbeing Activities (And It's Not Good News For Them In Later Life)

Frustrated Caucasian woman using laptop
JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images
Frustrated Caucasian woman using laptop

If you're too busy at work to take a loo break, let alone exercise, then you're not alone.

In fact, we're a nation of desk potatoes according to a startling new survey exposing office worker habits.

More than one in three office workers are too busy to take time out of their day for health and wellbeing activities that could benefit them in later life.

Meanwhile, 35% of office workers spend just an hour or less on exercise a week. And nearly one in 10 admit they do no exercise at all.

The research by Age UK and Bupa found that taking time out to manage stress comes at the biggest price for time-poor office workers, with over half (52%) admitting to spending no time at all on mental wellbeing activities such as practising mindfulness, meditation, or other stress relieving activities.

Despite the toll stress can take on the mind and body, now and in the future, just under a third of people make an effort to recognise the signs of stress and take action to deal with it.

But it's not all doom and gloom, the survey of more than 2,000 people revealed that office workers are trying to find ways to implement activities that improve health and wellbeing into their daily lifestyle.

These include taking the stairs instead of the lift and making time to visit friends and family.

The good news is that among the general public there's an appetite to prepare for a healthy later life, with 65% of those surveyed saying they would like to make changes to their current lifestyle in order to be happier and healthier when they're older.

Of those who are taking action to follow a healthy lifestyle, almost two thirds are doing so to reduce the risk of any future health conditions.

Major health worries people have about growing older include dementia, physical ill health and loss of mobility.

Age UK and Bupa have also reviewed existing academic studies and research to compile the top 10 factors that can help maintain healthy ageing. These are:

10 Tips For Healthy Ageing

Laurie Boult, head of fundraising at Age UK, said: “Research has shown that looking after our mental wellbeing is just as important as protecting our physical health when it comes to ageing.

"While genes have an effect, 75% of the factors that lead to longer life are within our own control, like lifestyle and nutrition.

"Everyone can take steps to help them age better and it’s never too early or too late to start. That’s why we’re working with Bupa to empower people to lead a healthy life now and support older people to do the same."

Richard Adams, chief nurse at Bupa UK, added: "It’s really important that we all take steps to think about how our everyday actions could affect our health when we are older.

"The good news is that it’s not difficult to make simple changes that can have a positive effect today and help us all live longer, healthier and happier lives in the years to come.

"As well as employees thinking about their health, we would urge employers to create an environment where their workforce can take time to lead healthy, active lifestyles, and lead by example.

"The risks of not thinking ahead are high – dementia and diabetes are just two examples of diseases that are potential outcomes of unhealthy lifestyles."