Busy Lifestyles Cause A Death Every 15 Minutes

Every 15 minutes someone dies as a direct result of physical inactivity. Yet just 30 minutes of activity a day will help stave off heart disease and other illnesses, the British Heart Foundation says today as it launches a new poster campaign.

Almost a third of people asked give lack of time as a reason for their inactivity, a new YouGov poll reveals. But three out of four would choose a sedentary activity such as using their computer, watching TV or reading if they had a spare 30 minutes in the day.

The survey results are published today as the BHF launches its celebrity-backed 30 a Day campaign featuring light-hearted billboard adverts showing combinations of every-day ways to be active such as washing the car, gardening or swimming.

With a growing ageing population in the UK, the campaign urges people who are 50 or over to get active now, in any way that suits them, to keep healthy and independent in their later life.

Dr Mike Knapton, Director of Prevention and Care at the BHF, says: “It’s an alarming thought that inactivity kills someone in the UK every 15 minutes. These deaths are avoidable and the solution is simple and achievable.

“We can all make excuses, but at the end of the day it’s up to individuals to make the change, to get up and to get active. Just 30 minutes a day can make all the difference, and it can be fun! Keeping fit doesn’t have to mean sweating it out at the gym and it’s never too late to start.”

As part of the campaign, the BHF is sending 2.5 million leaflets to households across the UK and the campaign poster will go up on over 2000 billboards across the UK.

People are urged to visit the campaign website, bhf.org.uk/30aday for practical, fun ways to be physically active, or to order a free campaign booklet by calling 0808 156 5630.

Top Tips

The BHF recommends adults take 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on at least five days of the week. The 30 minutes can be broken into 10 or 15 minute sessions. As long as the activity makes you feel warm and breathe harder it will benefit your health.

All sorts of every day activities can count towards your 30 a Day:

  • Walking is the easiest way to keep fit, and it’s free! Just try upping your speed to a brisk walk
  • Vacuum cleaning the house keeps your heart healthy, your carpets clean and earns you brownie points at home
  • Tossing a Frisbee this summer is a fun, sociable and cheap way to get your 30 a Day

The Facts

  • People who take regular physical activity have twice the protection against coronary heart disease as those who are inactive
  • Just 30% of UK 50-64 year olds take the recommended amount of physical activity. And it gets worse as people get older – only 6% of 65-84 year olds in England get enough exercise
  • Three out of five 50-65 year olds know what the recommended amount of exercise is, but they still choose to shun the health advice
  • Over half this age group are worried they are not getting enough physical activity

With regular, frequent exercise, people can dramatically improve their heart health as well as their mobility, balance and mental well-being, setting them up for a long and fulfilling later life.
The Celebrities

Health conscious celebrities who are backing the campaign include world darts champion, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, broadcaster Angela Rippon, comedian and world traveller, Michael Palin, actress Lesley Joseph, actor Brian Blessed, TV personality, Gloria Hunniford, Olympian Tessa Sanderson, actor Christopher Timothy.

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor says: “I was determined to get fitter – not only to improve my stamina in darts but also so I could enjoy being with my family, especially my grandson. I feel 100 times better since I started to exercise and know I will keep it up because it has given me a new lease of life”.

Michael Palin reveals how he keeps fit: “For the past 25 years I’ve tried to run regularly, say three times a week. I only run against myself, so I don’t have to be too competitive. It keeps me in shape and clears my mind as well.”

Angela Rippon gives her tips: “Finding your own way to enjoy being physically active is key – be it dancing, swimming, long country walks – or whatever suits you. It’s an investment in your future health, which you will never ever regret!”

The Politics

Promoting good health among older adults must be a national priority. The BHF, working with the National Coalition on Active Ageing, are urging the government, health professionals, employers and the fitness industry to work together to help over 50s get active.

MPs will be presented with a policy ‘blueprint’ outlining the challenges and recommended targets at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (25 April).

The BHF calls on:

  • Government to run campaigns to get over 50s active
  • Doctors to routinely refer patients to physical activity programmes
  • Local authorities to build safe and ‘walkable’ towns
  • Businesses to invest in activity schemes for older staff
  • Fitness industry and sports clubs to run sessions for over 50s