Prioritizing Mental Well-Being: The Primary Driver for Exercise Today


London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Enhanced mental well-being has become a more compelling incentive for Britons to engage in physical activity compared to simply maintaining physical fitness. According to a survey of 2,271 individuals, where more than half (54 percent) of the respondents participated, the primary reason for staying physically active was to support their mental health. In contrast, 49 percent cited getting into good physical shape as their main motivation.

This survey was released in conjunction with National Fitness Day on September 20th, which featured numerous free activities offered in gyms, leisure centers, sports clubs, schools, and workplaces throughout the UK, both in-person and online.

Maintaining an Active Lifestyle

These findings underscore the growing recognition of the physical and mental advantages of maintaining an active lifestyle. A significant 86 percent of respondents acknowledged that staying physically active can contribute to the prevention of various illnesses and injuries. Among those surveyed, a significant one in four individuals (23%) disclosed that they were presently awaiting treatment within the NHS

This heightened awareness can be attributed in part to the messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the vulnerability of individuals with underlying health conditions, including obesity, to severe illness from the virus. Additionally, exercise emerged as one of the few activities that enabled people to leave their homes during lockdowns, further emphasizing its importance.

Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew has revealed something interesting: ‘’Physical activity is hugely beneficial to our mental and physical health, which is why we are aiming to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030.’’

“We’re determined to drive up participation and that starts with 150 minutes of exercise a week for adults and 60 minutes a day for young people’’. “Whether that’s at school, in a gym, on the pitch or court, you can make a huge difference to your health and the health of the nation by getting active.”

Advantages of Incorporating Physical Activity

Huw Edwards, the CEO of ukactive, emphasized, “More and more individuals are now acknowledging the remarkable mental advantages of incorporating physical activity into their daily routines, beyond just the physical benefits.”

He continued, “These findings highlight a substantial opportunity to address our nation’s mental and physical health challenges by increasing awareness of the significance of physical activity, in conjunction with improved nutrition, and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to be active.”

Edwards expressed that they are working alongside other prominent organizations in the field to make the UK the most physically active nation in Europe. Among those surveyed, a significant one in four individuals (23 percent) revealed that they were presently in line for treatment within the NHS.

National Fitness Day, initiated in 2011 by the late Jan Spaticchia, founder of Energie Fitness, was handed over to UK Active to manage for the benefit of the nation. In honor of Jan Spaticchia, UK Active has established the Jan Spaticchia award.

The results from the survey conducted by UK Active and Savanta also shed light on the mounting health crisis in the UK, as reflected in the increasing NHS waiting lists.

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Moderate Intensity Activity Every Week

Despite national guidelines from the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) recommending that adults engage in 150 minutes or more of ‘moderate-intensity activity’ each week, a striking three-quarters (75%) of respondents believed that a significantly lower amount sufficed, with 38% believing that less than 90 minutes was adequate.

On a more positive note, the survey results reflect an increasing awareness among people regarding the physical and mental advantages of staying active, with a substantial 86% of respondents concurring that physical activity can play a role in preventing various illnesses and injuries.

The theme for National Fitness Day in 2023 is ‘Your Health is for Life,’ underlining the significance of maintaining an active lifestyle throughout our entire lives.

The UK is currently grappling with a mounting health crisis, marked by increasing NHS waiting lists. Recent research has unveiled the alarming statistic that two in five inpatients in England experience substantial health deterioration while awaiting treatment within the NHS.

National Fitness Day serves as a platform to celebrate the integral role of physical activity in our daily lives. However, it also emphasizes the vital role of increasing physical activity levels in enhancing national health outcomes, overall well-being, and economic productivity.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.