Running
Comments 8

Exercise or the pub? What did the nation choose?

Man cycling exercise

Anyone else getting the feeling that more and more people are exercising? I know lots of women who are starting to run, the numbers of cyclists streaming past my house at the weekend has risen dramatically and I’m sure there’s more people wandering round the supermarket in trainers and lycra! Looking on-line, the exercise forums are flourishing, #thisgirlcan is everywhere and more and more decent kit is tempting me. I was hoping that as a nation we’re starting to make a change but I wondered if it was just my own view of the world; a bit like when I was shopping for my first pram, I saw them everywhere! Wouldn’t we rather just go down the pub? Well, fear not, a new survey hasn’t burst my bubble, only blown it a bit bigger!

An on-line survey of over 2000 people carried out for Breast Cancer Care in May this year showed that Brits are twice as likely to exercise as go to the pub! Yep, that surprised me too. 65% of the people surveyed donned trainers and exercised every week but only 34% made their way to their local hostelry.

52% of people are exercising between 1 and 10 hours a week. The current exercise guidelines recommend at least 2 and a half hours a week so many of them are doing enough and plenty are doing way more than the guidelines. Great news.

Can you guess the commonest reason for wanting to exercise? I thought it would be ‘to get fit or lose weight’. No, 52% just wanted to spend time outdoors and get some fresh air. Perhaps a reflection of the time we now spend indoors staring at computer screens craving a blast of mother nature.

Men v women? (Not that I’m competitive of course!) Men were almost twice as likely to go to the pub each week (44% v 25%) and won by a nose on the amount they exercise (67% v 65%). I call that a 1-1 draw.

I was encouraged that more than half (56%) of 55 to 64 years olds are exercising every week and jubilant that nearly 80% of 18 to 34 year olds are doing the same.

I know this is only a survey of a small proportion of the population but it’s interesting and it made me feel proud. There are so many volunteers out there spending their free time helping and encouraging others to get active for all the benefits it can bring them. One of these benefits is a reduction in the risk of breast cancer. Whilst the biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are being a woman and getting older (which we can’t alter) we need to be pro-active about changing the ones we can. Adding regular exercise to your week can help minimise your risk of developing breast cancer and also helps women cope with the treatments once they’re diagnosed.

Breast Cancer Care are holding a ‘London at Night’ pink ribbon walk on Saturday July 4th. See the city at night with routes from 5 to 20 miles and help to support women facing breast cancer. Click here if you want to sign up.

In the meantime I’m cheered by the fact that my tiny bit of volunteering may be helping to make a difference. Keep it up Britain!

Breast cancer care

Featured image courtesy of Gratisography

8 Comments

  1. I definitely agree that more are exercising, and that’s great. However, I’m more likely to not be in the pub because I’ve got kids – doesn’t stop me having a few glasses of wine at home though (after my run, obviously!)

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    • I know exactly what you mean. I thought the same thing about drinking, not going to the pub might mean that more people are drinking at home however I was encouraged that perhaps there is some shift in what everyone is doing and the survey was men and women of all ages. It would have been interesting if they’d added an alcohol intake question too.

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  2. Certainly looking at my local Parkrun the numbers just seem to be growing and growing, even with another local Parkrun starting a few months back. Seems there are plenty of runners to go round, and more starting all the time.

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  3. Really interesting survey results, and as you say encouraging! I’ve been reading a bit of the women in sport stuff this week and had been under the impression there was a greater disparity in activity levels between the genders. I wonder if perhaps ‘sport’ is referring to team based exercise, whereas maybe more women prefer independent exercise such as running? Or perhaps just slightly different survey populations. I’ll have to do a bit more reading! Really interesting post, and I also totally relate to the seeing the things you’re interested in all the more.

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    • There’s been so much interesting stuff to read this week, hasn’t there. I know the limitations of a smallish survey but with all the negative athletics/FIFA stuff around I wanted to share something positive. Thanks for reading x

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  4. It’s great that more people are running. My parents used to run a lot in the days before mass participation marathons. My mum told me that people would start packing up to go home if the men took longer than 3 hours!!! Any longer and you were considered really slow. I’m really pleased that so many people are taking up the challenge of running now and finding the benefits. Events like parkrun are really helping too and people are finding that there is a great social side to running that they didn’t know about. Anyway, just to let you know, I mention you in my blog today https://runmaggiecooper.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/power-failure/

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    • Oh, that’s kind, thank you for the mention. We do have a lot in common, even the number of kids although I don’t have such cool work clothes! I totally agree that the social side of running is really important and one of the things that makes it sustainable in the long term. Wow! Weren’t those men fast, everyone would’ve packed up waiting for me!! Have a good run tomorrow and thanks again for the mention. J

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