Half of UK workers say their job stops them from keeping fit

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Date: 6 February 2024

A woman is running on a treadmill at her workplace gym

Despite good intentions - especially at this time of year - many Brits lack the time or energy to exercise after work, according to a new report.

Research conducted by Censuswide for PureGym has found that 56% of British workers say their job stops them from keeping fit. The survey of 2,000 Brits has investigated how work impacts wellbeing and which professions are exercising the most outside of work.

Lack of energy and not enough time are the key reasons that employees don't exercise outside of work according to the report:

  • 41% of those polled say they're too tired to exercise after work;
  • 34% say their job means that they don't get time to exercise.
  • 24% of people who don't exercise in their spare time say they get enough exercise through work.

The results suggest that a wide range of job types are affected, especially those where staff are on their feet for much of the day. Currently, workers in retail, hospitality and transportation exercise the least outside of work. People working in accountancy, IT or marketing exercise the most.

"Having a healthy work-life balance that allows for exercise is beneficial for both wellbeing and productivity. Allowing employees to work out during work hours, encouraging teams to get out on their lunch break, and fostering a culture that allows the time and energy to lead a healthy lifestyle, is key to removing barriers to staying active." Stephen Rowe, chief marketing officer, PureGym.

However, at least 50% of the workforce across all professions believe that their job negatively impacts their ability to exercise and keep fit, with some industries more affected than others. A staggering 90% of those in the hair and beauty industry said their job holds them back from exercising, perhaps unsurprisingly as this career is known for long hours, often spent standing up.

People working in HR (80%) and the arts (69%) are next most likely to feel that work gets in the way of exercising, while those in healthcare (50%), manufacturing (51%) and travel (53%) are the least likely to feel this way. Almost half (47%) of those in retail jobs, a sector where being on your feet for long periods is the norm, say they don't work out at all; 57% of retail workers said they're too tired to exercise after their working day.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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