According to the latest research by PruHealth, Britons will be tightening their shoe laces as well as their purse strings in 2009 as 20.5 million* intend to take up walking to get healthy and shed unwanted pounds.
PruHealth, the health insurance provider that rewards people for engaging in healthy behaviour, found that nearly two thirds of Brits (61%) planned to begin a new diet, health or fitness regime in the New Year. Of those, almost three quarters (70%) said they plan to walk regularly as part of their healthy start to 2009. However, the majority of those who want to exercise by walking (15.3 million - 75%) are far off the mark when it comes to knowing exactly how much they will need to do each day to benefit.
Currently the average Brit walks for 43 minutes a day (approximately 2.9 miles**), but acknowledges they need to do more and believes stepping this up to 57 minutes (or 3.8 miles) will provide the physical benefit they need. In reality health advice recommends everyone should in fact be taking 10,000 steps a day***, equating to nearer 5 miles or 75 minutes of walking. Encouragingly, 17% of Brits say they already walk around 10,000 steps a day, but a quarter (26%) feel they would need to dramatically change their lifestyle in order to achieve this.
PruHealth's chief executive officer, Shaun Matisonn commented: "Walking is a great form of exercise so it's very encouraging to see so many people wanting to incorporate it into their daily lives.
"There does, however, seem to be a misconception as to how much walking one should ideally be doing each day and the answer that it's 10,000 steps is sure to come as a big surprise to many. It would be hard for anyone to hit this target immediately, but small changes such as getting off the bus a stop early, shopping locally without taking the car, or taking the dog for a longer walk, are all ‘steps' in the right direction."
PruHealth knows that it has never been more important for people to lead healthy lifestyles and PruHealth's Vitality Programme encourages people to do so. Vitality Index covers five areas - education, exercise, nutrition, screening and smoking cessation - and members could earn points by participating in healthy activities related to each area. By earning points, members can move up to different status levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum) and earn lifestyle rewards, as well as potentially lowering the cost of their PMI premiums in the process.
Notes to Editors:
* Research conducted by Opinium Research LLP 23rd - 30th December 2008, polling 2,233 British adults. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria (based on there being 48 million adults in the UK).
61 per cent of 48 million British adults intend to start a new diet, health or fitness regime = 29,280,000 adults.
70 per cent of these adults say regular walking will be part of this regime = 20,496,000 adults.
** The average respondent said they walked for 43 minutes per day. At an average of 4 miles
per hour this equals 2.9 miles.
*** According to British Heart Foundation
PruHealth was launched in October 2004 as a joint venture between Prudential and Discovery Holdings from South Africa. Since launch, PruHealth has grown quickly. It now provides medical insurance for more than 190,000 lives and in a sample of its individual customers, one third said they had changed their behaviour for the better because of its Vitality reward scheme which encourages policyholders to look after their health.
Prudential UK Insurance Operations
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