Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Too many Brits are putting off exercise

Published by Arthritis Research UK | 15 March 2017

Too many Brits are putting off exercise

Results of our survey have revealed that only half of people in the UK (53%) exercise more than once a week.

Over 2,000 people were questioned about their attitudes to doing exercise, such as walking, stretching, running or cycling, for at least 20 minutes. Results showed that:

  • There's a clear intention gap – 75% said that they wished they exercised more than once per week, but just 53% of people do.
  • 18% said that they do some form of exercise every day.
  • 17% admitted that they never do any form of exercise. This is despite Government guidelines recommending that adults should aim for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
  • The top three reasons given for putting exercise off were not having enough time in the day (33%), feeling too tired (32%), and cold weather (28%).
  • Nearly one in 20 people (4%) said that they don't do any exercise because they don't own the appropriate exercise clothes.

Joint pain was also revealed as a barrier to exercise. A significant number of respondents – 49% – said that they have had, or do have, joint pain. Of those people, half of them (51%) said that the joint pain had put them off doing exercise. Yet research has shown that regular safe, simple and effective exercise can actually reduce pain and stiffness in joints.

To help people with joint pain keep moving, Arthritis Research UK is today launching the Everyday exercises for everyday lives programme, in partnership with Voltarol Emulgel P*. This includes short, easy to follow exercise videos that have been specially designed by the experts at Arthritis Research UK, for people with joint pain, so they can be easily incorporated into everyday life.

Dr Tom Margham, GP and Arthritis Research UK spokesperson, said: "Joint pain can limit a person’s ability to live their life to the full, and stop them doing everything from playing in their local sports team, sitting comfortably at work or climbing the stairs. I see many people who are troubled by joint pain, but few of them know how important exercise is for both managing and preventing joint pain.

"I personally have seen that a little bit of the right kind of exercise can make a big positive difference to joint pain. I would encourage people with joint pain to have a look at the exercise programme from Arthritis Research UK, and give it a go."

Nora Boswell, aged 68 from Yorkshire comments: "The first joint pain I experienced was in my early 40s which made going down stairs painful. Now in my 60s, the simple exercises I do at home concentrate on helping my knees and back and also aid general fitness and mobility.

"I use everyday items such as a tennis ball on pressure points to relieve tension and I can manage my pain though exercise and without the use of painkillers."

To explore these simple exercises, which have been developed by experts, please visit

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Posted on Wednesday 15th March 2017