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Hectic lifestyles and winter weather negatively impact UK’s health and wellbeing, says Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation

Charity partnership urges adults to reclaim an extra ten minutes from their busy schedules to protect their long-term health this winter.

During winter, an average UK adult spends just one hour and 12 minutes a week doing moderate activity such as walking or cycling [1], with many reporting that household chores and work get in the way of being more active [2]. Now, a major health partnership is warning that such low rates of inactivity can contribute to rising levels of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

To help people get more active and cut their risk of serious ill-health, the National Charity Partnership, a partnership between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco, has produced a series of ‘Winter Warm Up’ videos to encourage more adults to reclaim an extra ten minutes from their busy lives to focus on their health and wellbeing. The partnership is also encouraging people to sign up to its online ‘Eight Week Challenge’ to help them stay motivated.

The government recommends that to stay healthy, adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week [3]. However, in a survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, almost half (46 percent) of UK adults said they simply don’t have the time.

Alex Davis, Head of Prevention for the National Charity Partnership, said: “As the nights draw in and the days get shorter and colder, it can be easy to put the heating on, turn to our favourite comfort foods and hibernate, especially when we already have busy lives. But making the time for some physical activity every day can help keep your energy and mood up over winter, as well as cut your risk of obesity and improve your overall health. Our winter warm up videos highlight simple, quick and free ways to stay active whatever the weather, which are easy to fit into your day.”

Rachel Hale, a mum of two boys from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire said: “As a mum, you're always doing things for the children, in the home you inevitably take on a lot of responsibility and there's often work to deal with as well. When juggling so many different balls, sometimes you feel you have to drop one of those balls to find time to exercise. This leads to that 'mum guilt' feeling that you're being selfish leaving your children just so you can have a run or bike ride. Of course, the reality is that you come back from the run or ride calmer and healthier and able to be an even better mum.”

According to the survey findings, 40 percent hardly ever or never get a chance to do what they want to do in their spare time and only 41 percent of people said they would like to go for a walk or jog in their spare time – the fifth most popular option. The most popular ways to spend free time were with family and friends (65 percent), watching TV or DVDs at home (61 percent), reading (58 percent) and eating out (52 percent).

Other common factors that stop people getting active during winter specifically are cold weather (61 percent), dark nights (39 percent) and feeling down and fed up (20 percent).

Alex Davis added: “We know seasonal changes can affect our mood, on top of our daily stresses, so whether you need to boost your energy, build your confidence, lift your mood or find ways to keep stress at bay, there are activities you can try to keep your health in good shape this season and in the future.

“Any kind of moderate  intensity activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling not only offers up some ‘me time’ but it can leave you feeling more positive and energised  and could also improve your heart health and overall physical health.”

With more than four million people in the UK already living with Type 2 diabetes, around seven million living with heart and circulatory disease and millions more at risk, being active is one way to help prevent these potentially life-threatening conditions. The National Charity Partnership between Diabetes UK, the BHF and Tesco is working to help millions of people look after their bodies and reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease by moving more and eating healthily through the Let’s Do This campaign[4].

For more information about Let’s Do This, please visit: http://www.lets-dothis.org.uk.

 

Notes to editors:

 

1.Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate level is if you can still talk, but you can't sing the words to a song. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx#moderate

2.

  • On average, adults spend 1.2 hours a week getting active in autumn and winter
  • 46 percent are likely to skip exercise because they couldn’t find the time
  • 39.89 percent of adults hardly ever or never get to do what they want in their spare time.
  • The top three reasons given for barriers to getting active outside in winter include cold weather (60.79 percent), dark nights (38.84 percent) and feeling down and fed up (20.30 percent).
  • Tops five things to do in your spare time included spending time with friends and family (65.07 percent), watching TV and DVDs at home (60.58 percent), reading (57.75 percent), eating out (52.35 percent) and taking a walk in the local park (41.2 percent).

3.The recommended minimum amount of physical activity for adults is 150 minutes a week (2.5 hours) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213740/dh_128145.pd

4.The Winter Warm Up initiative is funded by the National Charity Partnership as part of its Let’s Do This campaign. The campaign is working to help millions of people look after their bodies and reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease by moving more and eating healthily. The National Charity Partnership funds a number of physical activity and healthy eating programmes and has an online 8 Week Challenge to help people make small, positive lifestyle changes.