State of UK’s wellness revealed… and there’s room for improvement

A new study into the nation’s wellbeing has revealed that British people rank their wellness as “average”, with time spent outside and time spent sedentary being key areas for improvement nationwide.

  • On average, Brits spend over eight hours a week on ‘me time’, although one in five say they are “not content”

  • Almost half of the nation spend less than an hour outside every day, which doctors reveal contributes to lower levels of wellness

  • Industry experts reveal lifestyle changes that will improve wellness

The findings are from a new report by leading health and fitness app, MINDBODY. Working with health and wellness professionals, the study of 2,000 UK adults considered the wellness habits of the nation, using a five-point Likert scale. Respondents were asked to rate their hours of sleep, sedentary hours, stress and anxiety levels, headspace (or ‘me time’), eating and drinking habits, time spent outside, current physical and mental health, and level of social satisfaction.

On average, the UK scored 28 out of a possible total of 45. Each question was scored out of five, which breaks down as:

  • Hours of sleep – Score 3.5 (6 hours and 36 minutes per day average)

  • Sedentary hours – Score 3.2 (The nation is sedentary for 5 hours 13 minutes per day)

  • Stress/anxiety levels – Score 3.2 (24% of UK adults are ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ stressed/anxious on an average day)

  • Headspace / ‘me time’ – Score 3.6 (The nation gets an average 8hrs 46 minutes per week)

  • Eating/drinking habits – Score 3.2 (On average, Britons view their eating/drinking habits as “somewhat healthy”)

  • Time spent outside – Score 2.1 (On average the nation gets two hours outside per day, but almost half spend less than an hour outside)

  • Current physical health – Score 3.2 (Overall, Britons describe their physical health as just “average”)

  • Current mental health – Score 3.3 (One in five people say they are “not content”)

  • Social satisfaction – Score 3.3 (Nearly a quarter (23%) say they are not satisfied with their social habits)

Hours of sleep and ‘me time’ are where Brits rank their habits highest, although the average amount of sleep still falls short of the recommended seven to nine hours² at just over six-and-a-half (6hrs 36 minutes).

Overall, none of the factors ranked significantly highly, with time spent outside showing as one of the main areas that detracts from overall wellness. According to MINDBODY’s research, whilst the national average for time spent in the great outdoors is two hours per day, almost half of the UK spend less than an hour outdoors in an average day.

Dr Ment, a Consultant Cardiologist at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, said: “More exercise in the fresh air means more oxygen to the lungs. This can help our white blood cells to function properly –  fighting and killing bacteria and germs. It will also increase the amount of serotonin – the happy hormone – produced in your body, which is nature’s way of improving your mood.”

Dr Mark Silvert, Consultant Psychiatrist in London at The Blue Tree Clinic, added: “Exercise has many known benefits for good mental health. Studies have shown it can be as good for you as other treatments such as medication or therapy if you are suffering from things like ADHD, anxiety or depression.

“When we exercise we get a boost of endorphins which gives a feeling of happiness and well-being, we benefit from feeling better within our bodies, which can improve self-confidence and our physical health. Going to a gym or doing team sports can reduce isolation in an age where we can spend countless hours on our smart phones of tablets without leaving our homes for entire weekends.

“Getting outside into the fresh air is an almost forgotten past time. Get a dog, it will help you think of looking after “man’s best friend” and the bond between people and pets is also known to be healing when we are not feeling good.”

MINDBODY highlights in its corresponding report that all components of the Wellness Index are intrinsically linked, and the findings suggest there is room for development in all areas, which could ultimately boost the nation’s overall outlook on wellness.

Millennials (18-24s) had the lowest wellness score (26/45) and baby boomers (age 55+) had the highest at 29 out of 45. The average score did increase with age, with anxiety levels, mental wellness, sleep, and eating habits showing greatest improvement; suggesting that younger generations are feeling life’s pressures the most.

Kevin Teague, MD, commented on the research: “This (research) was key for us having a holistic view of the UK fitness market. MINDBODY has more data than any other entity in the world for what people do inside a studio, but we didn’t have a comprehensive picture of British wellness outside of the gym.”

Charlotte Newton, Senior Manager EMEA Marketing, added: “Wellness has become something of a buzzword in recent years, however the nation is now really beginning to sit up and pay attention to daily habits and how they affect overall wellbeing. It’s encouraging to see from the findings that, although the majority of the scores aren’t significantly high across the board, there are none that are worryingly low either, suggesting that we are moving in the right direction.

“The recent attention around wellness, both mental and physical, is hugely positive and we absolutely want to encourage more conversation and action around this topic. Hopefully our Wellness Index can form the foundations of conversations nationwide around how the UK can embrace wellness.”

To read the Wellness Index in full, and find out more about the nation’s fitness, wellbeing, health and social habits, please email: eupress@mindbodyonline.com

 

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