How a healthy lifestyle could save the NHS money
20th November, 2019
Uncategorized

We all know that exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, but do you know how much exercise you should be getting?

According to our recent survey, two-thirds of Brits aren’t getting enough of the right type of exercise.

Survey data also revealed which is the most active region in the UK, with London coming in first and the South West ranking the worst. Scotland was the second most active area, whilst East Anglia was placed as the second-worst.

How much exercise should I be getting?

The NHS recommends that adults aged 19 to 64 should do strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles and at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week [source].

However, our survey found that 65% of Brits aren’t getting enough strength exercise and 60% don’t do enough cardio.

When quizzed further about their exercise routines, a shocking 50% of the 2,000 survey respondents revealed that they never do strength exercises and 29% never do aerobic exercise.

Almost half of Brits believe they should do more exercise, yet 1 in 3 don’t know how much exercise they should do a week.

Brits are aware of the direct health benefits of exercise such as positive impacts to heart health (49%), mental health (42%) and life expectancy (35%), however very few (7%) recognise the impact that exercise could have on the NHS.

Could a healthier population save the NHS money?

The survey was commissioned by Patient Claim Line to understand attitudes towards exercise and the NHS.  

“Many people don’t realise the connection between your individual health and NHS resources,” Susan Healey, Senior Solicitor at Patient Claim Line, comments.

“Generally speaking, a healthier population will need less medical attention and so will have less strain on the NHS. By keeping yourself healthy and active, you could improve your recovery time from common illnesses and surgery, and indirectly impact waiting times at your GP, which will save the NHS money. This means more resource for people with more serious conditions.”

“Instead of the usual focus on the NHS not having enough funding, society could focus on the small changes the individual could make to save the NHS money.”

Leading an active and healthy lifestyle can help to reduce strain on the NHS and free up resources for more serious medical conditions. It could also impact the likelihood of medical mistakes being made.

“Everyone can take part in good health care by fully acknowledging the indirect contribution to making the NHS healthcare budget stretch further, through engaging in good physical and mental health practices. It’s important to make the connection between maintaining your own good health and how that can preserve healthcare for yourself and society at large.”

However, Healey acknowledges that more may need to be done to encourage active fitness levels.

“The NHS has taken on a new approach to healthcare called ‘Patient Activation’, which aims to empower patients with the confidence, knowledge and skills to manage their own health. However, time pressure, family commitments and a lack of access to good and consistent healthcare resources are real and credible barriers to maintaining your health.”

How can I improve my exercise levels?

The NHS recommends a great range of free activities that can help improve your fitness levels, including:

  • Walking
  • Taking part in the Couch to 5K challenge
  • Trying simple body weights sessions at home
  • Cycling to work

View the full survey report here.

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