UK Trails in Global Fitness League

UK Trails in Global Fitness League
Yareah Magazine

Fitness. We’re unlikely to keep our New Year Resolutions, says new study

Few Brits achieve their fitness goals

Few Brits achieve their fitness goals

A global report by TomTom into attitudes towards achieving fitness goals shows Britain is trailing in the exercise league. The study, across eight Western countries, reveals that fewer Britons set targets than any other country – just 61 per cent. It means nearly four in 10 people in the UK never plan a new exercise regime.

Of those who do set fitness goals, just six per cent ‘always’ achieve them and only another 17 per cent claim they ‘almost always’ do.

The research showed that 48 per cent of Brits may make New Year Resolutions about improving their fitness levels in January, but few will manage to stick to them. Over half of Britons (54 per cent) give up an exercise regime within six months – or have never even had one in the first place.

TomTom looked at exercise and ambitions in the UK, US, France, Spain, Holland, Italy, Sweden and Germany. Britain emerged poorly from the study of 1,000 people in each country. It showed that, not only do many people not exercise at all, but more than one in ten (11 per cent) plan to do less exercise in the future.

Corinne Vigreux, TomTom consumer managing director said: “With people now thinking about their New Year Resolutions, understanding the goal and the motivation is the first step to achieving them – which is why we have launched our new range of GPS Sport Watches to help runners, swimmer and cyclists hit their fitness targets”.

Across the countries surveyed, an average of 72 per cent of people set fitness goals. While nearly a third (29 per cent) claim to hit their target most of the time, five per cent always fail.

Good intentions seem to lag well behind actual behaviour. Four in 10 (39 per cent) of Brits polled claim they will increase exercise in the coming year. Yet only a quarter (26 per cent) say they have actually done so over the past 12 months.

When asked which exercise goals people had set for themselves in the last 12 months, just 44 per cent of British respondents cited getting fitter in general compared with the survey average of 54 per cent. 40 per cent of Brits wanted to lose weight versus 44% elsewhere; and only 11 per cent had a specific performance goal (such as beating a certain time or being ready for a race event) as against the global average of 16 per cent.

The study showed that nearly a quarter of people in the UK (23 per cent) exercise two to three times a week, while 11% do so at least once a day but 22 per cent never take any exercise at all.

Americans lead the fitness league, exercising 135 days a year compared with a global average of 112, while Britons exercise for an average of just 108 days a year.

Losing weight, a sense of accomplishment and how much fun an activity is were the biggest motivators to keep exercising for 75% of people across the study – whilst improving their looks and making sure they had the right equipment to train effectively also ranked highly.

Weight loss is the biggest motivator for women to exercise, spurring on 41% – but just 28% of men. Twice as many women (33%) worried about how they looked in certain clothes compared with men (16%).

Table 1

Average number of days exercise/participation in sport per year (average 112 days)

US 135 days
Spain 131
France 116
Sweden 115
UK 108
Germany 101
Italy 96
Holland 93

Table 2

Percentage of people setting an exercise related goal in the past 12 months (average 72%)

Spain 82%
Italy 81%
US 75%
Sweden 75%
France 70%
Germany 70%
Holland 62%
UK 61%


One thousand people were interviewed in each of eight countries – US, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain and Holland, with 8000 respondents in total.

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