20% of UK Workers Struggle to Exercise Because of Their Job

20% of UK Workers Struggle to Exercise Because of Their Job


  • Date: Tuesday 24th September 2019
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A recent survey of UK employees by AXA PPP found 19% of respondents said work was their “main excuse” for not exercising.  A further 32% said a lack of time prevented them from getting to the gym or having an active lifestyle.

The survey also showed that 29% of those polled showed evidence of burnout which can act as a barrier to exercise.

The least active worker group were found to be public sector employees with 13% admitting to not undertaking any daily exercise and only 45% managed 30 minutes of daily exercise.

The fittest sector was found to be agriculture, as employees spent an average of 115 minutes per day engaging in some form of exercise, just ahead of hospitality, which had an average time of 105 minutes per day.

Media and journalism came in third, with employees spending an average of 98 minutes per day exercising. 

The survey also found an increased recognition (up by 8% from 2018) amongst workers of the benefit of exercise on mental health indicating how workers are now more aware of the role physical activity plays in enhancing wellbeing.  Aligned to this was the finding that 46% of respondents linked exercise with stress relief.

The results follow on from a report by Slater and Gordon (issued in August 2019) which showed that employees took an average of four ‘mental health’ days a year for reasons including stress, exhaustion and depression but when reporting an absence to their manager more than half of these employees lied about the true reason for being off work.

What can Employers do to enable employees to exercise?

  • Organise lunch time walking groups and running groups
  • Set up after work groups or clubs e.g. cycling, running, rambling or swimming
  • Set up a sports league e.g. squash league
  • Offer discounted gym membership
  • Provide changing facilities and showers to make the opportunity to exercise more practical
  • Pay entry fee for sports activity places e.g. charity walks, running races, triathlons
  • Encourage leaders and management in your organisation to lead by example in exercising at lunch time and after work
  • Set up a Wellness Council comprising of employees to plan and organise events

Source: People Management


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