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Mental health the main motivation for exercise but three-quarters of Brits don’t know recommended activity levels

Two female swimmers swimming past each other in a pool

Mental health has become a stronger motivation for Brits to exercise than staying in shape, but three-quarters vastly underestimate how much activity they need, according to a new poll released on National Fitness Day (20/09/23).

In a survey of 2,271 people, commissioned by ukactive and conducted by Savanta, more than half of UK adults (54%) reported that their main motivation for keeping physically active was to help their mental health, while 49% said it was getting in shape.

National guidelines from the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) state that adults should undertake 150 minutes or more of ‘moderate-intensity activity’ each week, but three- quarters (75%) of respondents thought it was much less – with 38% thinking that less than 90 minutes is sufficient.

More positively, the findings show people are increasingly aware of the physical and mental benefits of being active, with 86% agreeing that keeping physically active can help prevent various illnesses and injuries from occurring.