More than 20million UK adults are classified as physically inactive increasing their risk of heart disease and costing the UK health service as much as £1.2billion each year.
That’s according to a new report released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) today as it launches its MyMarathon challenge to boost the nation’s physical activity and improve heart health.
The Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour Report represents the most up-to-date analysis of UK adults and their level of inactivity – one of the most significant national health crises threatening people’s cardiovascular health today.
The report shows that more than 20million adults in the UK are failing to meet Government guidelines for physical activity, and that women are 36% more likely to be considered physically inactive than men.
New statistics obtained by the BHF shows the regions in England where people are most physically inactive, with the North West coming out worst as almost half of the adult population – 2.7million adults– are insufficiently active.
The report also shows that physical inactivity is high among people who have gone on to suffer a cardiac event. Three quarters of people in England (76%), when referred for cardiac rehabilitation after suffering a heart attack or undergoing heart surgery, are considered physically inactive. In some areas of the UK this figure is as high as 97% of patients.
Evidence is growing that also shows a sedentary lifestyle, regardless of how physically active you are, is associated with poor health. The BHF estimates that the average man in the UK spends a fifth of their lifetime sitting – the equivalent of 78 days each year. For women this is around 74 days a year.
More than 5million deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity. In the UK alone it causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall.
The nation’s heart charity is launching its MyMarathon challenge this year, urging people to kick-start a more active lifestyle to help improve their heart health. The challenge encourages people of all fitness levels to run the 26.2 miles in their own time over a month, from as little as a mile a day, with money raised helping to fund life saving research to fight heart disease.
Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Physical inactivity is one of the most significant 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.
“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. Our MyMarathon challenge is an ideal way for people of all fitness levels to increase their physical activity and improve their heart health. Every pound raised will help fund vital research in the fight against heart disease.”