Britain is on a mass health-kick with the average adult now doing twice as much exercise as they did 12 months ago, a study revealed today.
The typical Brit enjoyed two fitness sessions a week, such as running, swimming, dancing or cycling this time last year – but now they are working out around four times.
Researchers found a burning desire to shed unwanted excess weight is the main reason for the new wave of keep-fit fanatics up and down the country.
Ballroom dancing like Gavin Henson in Strictly Come Dancing is a great way to keep in shape (BBC Pictures)
The study of 3,000 adults found around one third decided to raise their exercise levels after seeing an unflattering photograph of themselves.
A similar number had been inspired to lose weight after catching a glimpse of an unpleasant reflection of their body shape in the bedroom mirror.
Karl Elliott, at Engage Mutual, which commissioned the report, said: ”It is fantastic to finally hear a positive story about the health and well being of British people.
”This survey shows an increased commitment to exercising and keeping fit, and it is incredible to see the difference in just 12 months.
”Regardless of people’s motivations, it is great that we are now exceeding the levels of physical exercise recommended by the government for general health.”
The study also showed more than half of us are exercising ‘just to keep fit’, but 37 per cent are doing so due to concerns about their long term health.
One in six said the realisation they had gone up a one size in clothes was the motivation.
Other deciding factors for upping the exercise include having a baby (13 per cent), getting married (11 per cent) and booking an exotic holiday (14 per cent).
The most common form of exercise is walking, while almost a third hit the gym regularly and 29 per cent jog.
Home exercise videos are also a popular choice for 14 per cent of people.
And it appears the hard work is already paying off.
Just under half reckon they are happier with their body than they have been for years, while 47 per cent are now enjoying compliments from other on how much better they look.
Interestingly, 18 per cent of people are thinking about prolonging their life expectancy as much as they can, while eight per cent of women are exercising to get back into pre-pregnancy shape.
The Engage Mutual spokesman added: ”We’re used to hearing about the beneficial effects of exercise; for the heart, for improved muscle strength and flexibility, and for helping with weight management.
”But it’s also a great stress buster and people find that when they up their exercise levels, they have more energy for life in general.”
TOP 10 REASONS FOR EXERCISING MORE
2. Keep fit
3. Worried about long term health
4. To be fit and healthy for the sake of the kids
5. Prolong life expectancy
6. To ward off / reduce a beer belly
7. To set an example to the children
8. Keeping fit to play sport
9. Get back to pre-pregnancy shape
10. Single again