One in three risk early death due to lack of exercise - Juice Daily
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One in three risk early death due to lack of exercise

One in three Britons is putting themselves at risk of an early grave because they do hardly any exercise, a report has suggested.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) warns today that swathes of the population are needlessly increasing their chances of developing potentially fatal cardiovascular diseases by as much as 35 per cent.

The research also finds that there is a significant risk of illness even among those who do exercise sufficiently, due to the length of time many of them spend sitting down at work.

The Government recommends that adults undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, such as cycling or fast walking, as well as exercises to strengthen the legs, torso and arms on at least two days a week. But the BHF’s Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour Report 2017 finds that in some parts of the country nearly half of adults are not meeting the official guidelines.

Levels were worst in the North West of England, where 47 per cent of adults, around 2,640,000 people, were failing to do the bare minimum, while in Northern Ireland the proportion was 46 per cent, in Wales and the North East 42 per cent, and in London 40 per cent. Physical inactivity in Scotland was found to be relatively low at 37 per cent, just ahead of South West England and South East England at 35 and 34 per cent respectively.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, said reluctance to exercise was “one of the most signific-ant global health crises of the moment”.

“Levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in the UK remain stubbornly high, and combined these two risk factors present a substantial threat to our cardiovascular health and risk of early death,” he said.

The report also sets out evidence showing that, regardless of how much they exercise, people who spend a lot of time sitting down are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

The BHF estimates that the average man in the UK spends a fifth of his lifetime sitting, the equivalent of 78 days each year, while for women it was 74 days a year. As well as increasing numbers of people working in sedentary jobs, the average UK adult spends almost 30 hours a week watching television, equivalent to 64 days a year, according to Ofcom.

However, the charity’s warning contradicts other recent research which suggests that people who exercise only at the weekend can lower their risk of early death from heart disease, as well as cancer.

The BHF report also found that women are 36 per cent more likely to be classed as physically inactive than men, and that in some parts of the country 97 per cent of patients referred for cardiac rehabilitation after suffering a heart attack or undergoing heart surgery took barely any exercise.

“Making physical activity easier and more accessible for all is of paramount importance if we are to reduce the burden of inactivity-related ill health,” said Dr Knapton.”

To promote exercise, the BHF is today launching its MyMarathon challenge, whereby people of all fitness levels are encouraged to run 26.2 miles in whatever chunks they choose.

The Telegraph, London

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Henry Bodkin

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