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Keep active to beat ‘January blues’, says National Charity Partnership

Partnership between Tesco, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) urges adults in the UK to take simple steps to protect their long-term health.

More than four in five UK adults (82 per cent) report feeling down in January, with many attributing these feelings to dark nights, lack of money and cold weather [1]. Three in ten (30 per cent) say going for a walk or a jog helps improve their mood, but only 14 per cent actually do it.

The National Charity Partnership - a partnership between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco - is urging more people to combat the 'January blues' by using its online motivational tool to get active, which will also help to protect their long-term physical health.

Research shows being physically active can help improve mental wellbeing as well as reduce the likelihood of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease.

The survey, which was commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, found that nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 per cent) said they would like to find more time to exercise. Nine in ten people agree that being active can help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease, but almost half (46 per cent) admit they lacked motivation.

Adults reported spending an average of 88 minutes a week on moderate exercise such as walking or cycling. This is substantially below the 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week recommended by government.   

Jenna Hall, Programme Director for the National Charity Partnership, said: “It's natural for people to prefer to stay indoors rather then get active during the winter, but those days where the sun does shine it can be great to get outside and take small steps to better health. It doesn’t have to be expensive either: our survey found that one in four people says the price of fitness classes is a barrier, but even just ten minutes of a free activity such as walking or jogging can help to make a big difference to your mental and physical health.”

According to the survey findings, three in ten respondents said a walk in park or going for  a jog makes them feel happy – the most popular way to beat the blues after the number one choice of spending time with family and friends. Eating chocolate or sweets was near the bottom of the list of things people turn to.

Ms Hall added, “More than four million people in the UK already have Type 2 diabetes and around seven million live with heart and circulatory disease. Millions more are at risk of these potentially life-threatening conditions, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

"Any kind of moderate exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling not only boosts endorphins leaving you feeling calmer and happier, but could also improve your general health.”

The National Charity Partnership’s online motivational tool allows people to set and monitor their health-related targets and encourages them to keep going and achieve their goals. It is part of the partnership’s Let's Do This campaign to support adults to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease by taking small steps towards healthier lifestyles.

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

 

Notes to editors:

1. Key findings include:

  • Dark nights (49 per cent), lack of money (47 per cent), cold weather (52 per cent) contribute to UK adults feeling down in January
  • Only 18 per cent of respondents said they did not feel down in January
  • 30 per cent of UK adults tend to do nothing and carry on as normal when feeling down or unhappy
  • 48 per cent of UK adults do no strength activities ( e.g. yoga push ups, sit ups)
  • 14 per cent of UK adults would opt to go for a leisurely walk or jog to help improve their mood
  • 26 per cent of UK adults say the price of fitness classes are a barrier to being more active.
  • 46 per cent of UK adults say lack of motivation is a barrier to being more active
  • 64 per cent of UK adults wish they could find more time to exercise
  • 90 per cent of UK adults agree that being active can help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease.
  1. The survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, which interviewed 2,000 people across the UK, discovered that spending time with family and friends (66 per cent), watching films at home (52 per cent) and eating out (49 per cent) are the best ways to feel happier.  The other top things that improve your mood include: payday (36 per cent), shopping (33 per cent), reading (42 per cent), walking, cycling or running (31 per cent), cuddling a pet (36 per cent), booking a holiday (30 per cent), and going on holiday (45 per cent), according to the survey findings.