New research suggests that physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of death in the UK.

Our lives are so busy. There’s work, home life, housework, errands, children and god-willing a social life. So when you have some much needed free-time to exercise, it might be the last thing you want to do.

However recent research has worryingly uncovered that 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive. This is thought to increase the risks of heart disease whilst costing the NHS around £1.2bn each year.

Wales had the third highest percentage with 42% of the population classed as inactive.

[Source BHF]

You may be thinking that if you have a busy life surely this would count as ‘being active’ – however according to South Wales NHS Physiotherapy technician Drew Scard, this kind of thinking is part of the problem.

“There is a huge difference between being active and being active with a purpose. If you’re not achieving an increased heart rate for a prolonged period of time, then your body is not seeing the physical benefits and you may actually still be considered as inactive.

Think of someone who walks briskly to the shops for 30 minutes, versus someone who plays an 18-hole golf course for 3 hours. When you break down the activity – walking for a short period of time but at a pace that increases and sustains your heart rate at a higher level than ‘resting’ is ultimately better than someone who spends a longer period of time leisurely walking around a gold course, stopping and starting as they do so.”

Some people believe they haven’t got the time to spare to include exercise in their day-to-day life but as Drew points out, it doesn’t always have to come at a cost.

“Many people believe they have to make time that they simply don’t have to exercise and if they can then it can only be done at the gym or in exercise classes but this isn’t the case. You can incorporate activity into your everyday routine by making a few small changes. As long as you’re getting your heart rate up for at least thirty minutes a day, for five days a week you’re benefitting your heart, lungs and muscles and ultimately your overall health”

Want to find out more? Read our tips on how to incorporate exercise into everyday life.