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Calls to employ fitness coaches at GP surgeries

10 November 2015 06:39

Too few Britons get enough exercise, a new report says

Too few Britons get enough exercise, a new report says

GP practices and Jobcentres should have personal trainers stationed in them to help get the nation exercising more, a new study says.

A report by ukactive, a group which aims to combat inactivity by encouraging more people to take up exercise, says the move would help improve people's physical and mental health.

The Blueprint for an Active Britain report claims inactivity is one of the biggest social challenges that has ever been faced in Britain.

It is estimated that a third of all Britons fail to take part in even 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.

Medical problems

Inactivity is associated with a number of medical problems, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.

Holidaymakers with those conditions can cover themselves with a medical travel insurance policy while using their break to get active.

Ukactive's report says it is vital that physical activity should reclaim its place in people's daily routines. Achieving that, it adds, needs help from the NHS, public services and employers.

Personal trainers on duty in doctors' surgeries, the report says, could intervene when required and help patients get fitter.

It suggests the Department for Work and Pensions could also put personal trainers in Jobcentres to encourage the long-term unemployed to e xercise more. That, the report adds, would reinforce positive behaviour and help people get back into work.

The study is also calling for every government department to develop a strategy designed to help its workers to get more active.

Employee incentives

It suggests they should offer incentives to employees who keep themselves fit and healthy and introduce new practices - such as walking to meetings and using stairs instead of lifts - to nurture physical activity.

Ukactive's study says small firms could be given access to low-cost loans to implement similar schemes.

And it suggests older people should be given free or affordable exercise sessions by local councils and care homes.

Ukactive's members include local authorities, charities, leisure centres, gyms, exercise companies and lifestyle firms.

Its report is supported by the Royal Society for Public Health, the Royal College of General Practitioners , Age UK, mental health charity Mind, the Nuffield Trust and Lord Ara Darzi, the former health minister.