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Exercising and keeping fit

Your BMI (body mass index) is a measure of relative weight based on an individual’s height and mass, and is commonly used as an indicator of your overall health and fitness.

According to our National Health Report, more than 4 in 10 people in the UK have a BMI which falls within the healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9 (42%). People with a BMI in this range are most likely to be found in Northern Ireland (47%) and Wales (45%). A further 38% of those in the UK have a BMI of 25-30.9, which classes them as overweight. People with a BMI in this range are most likely to live in the North East (46%).

A BMI measurement of 31-35, which classes a person as obese, is most likely to be found in Yorkshire (14%). Those with a BMI of over 35, which is classed as morbidly obese, are most likely to be found in Wales (9%) and the South East (7%). When asked what they thought their BMI was, nearly 1 in 3 (29%) underestimated what range they were in, illustrating a lack of understanding and knowledge of BMI.

Do we exercise enough?

Physical Activity MapAccording to established national health guidelines, we should be undertaking cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) per week. People from the South East are most likely to follow this advice, with 8% exercising for between 2 and 2.5 hours. Those from Yorkshire are most inclined to exceed this minimum requirement, with 15% exercising for more than 3.5 hours per week, along with 13% of people from Scotland.

At the other end of the spectrum, 35% of people from Wales and 32% of people from the South West and the North East admit to exercising for less than 15 minutes per week.

Although we should undertake muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days a week, barely 1 in 10 people in the UK (11%) actually manage to do so. Those who live in Northern Ireland and Scotland (16% for both regions) are most likely to meet these guidelines.

More than 6 in 10 people from the South West (62%) say that they don’t do any muscle strengthening activities at all.

Below you can find out more information about our exercise and training habits, and other related content.

Download the report

Download the full National Health Report 2014 here.

Download report

Mr and Mrs Average

Find out just how healthy Mr and Mrs Average are.

Mr and Mrs Average

Nutrition & Diet

Are we getting our five-a-day and enough water? Find out here.

Nutrition & Diet

Are we getting enough exercise?

Exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% – significantly lowering your chance of a premature death. But are we doing enough?

Read more

Essential exercise kit

If you are thinking about getting active by trying out new sports or hitting the gym, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of exercise kit and accessories that are available on the high street.

Read more

Fit for work

A study published last year suggested that 70% of adults are not getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, with four in 10 blaming work commitments for not being regularly active.

Read more

Cardio versus strength training

How we exercise depends on our ultimate goal: whether that's improving overall fitness levels, or preparing for a half-marathon. Here are some handy pointers.

Read more

Easy ways to exercise as you get older

It can be easy in later years to resign yourself to the fact that you can’t do quite as much as you used to. However, by exercising, you can actually retain your independence for longer.

Read more

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As a mutual friendly organisation we have a long and trusted history dating back over a century.  We are dedicated to offering our members affordable, discretionary healthcare that works in harmony with the NHS, so why not find out more about us and our offering. 

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