A busy worklife lays bare to unhealthy habits

07 September 2016
  • Busy work divides the nation between bad health habits and fitness hacks
  • Bupa is encouraging people to find a few moments in the day to take a look at their health and wellbeing
  • Repetition is key to changing habits, along with other tips from Bupa experts
Woman running
Research carried out by Bupa UK health clinics reveals the national divide between the unhealthy habits and the quick fitness hacks that people adopt due to working long hours and busy social schedules.

The study shows 60% of workers aren’t taking a full lunch break and 34% don’t get enough sleep. On the other hand, a large group take a more measured and thought-through approach with 47% setting themselves a target or goal to keep healthy and 26% say technology is key to this.

The research has identified five types of people, each of whom has a helpful life hack or key unhealthy habit.  As everyday bad habits can build up to have a significant impact on our health and fitness, Bupa’s health experts are encouraging people to take a few minutes out during the day to take a look at their health and general wellbeing.  The experts have also identified how each of these five groups can be improve:

55% of people across Britain that were surveyed are a ‘caffeine machine’, workers that constantly reach for a coffee or a caffeine fix to get through work. Amongst the group, over 40% of people aged 45-54 object to starting the day without a coffee.  Bupa health experts advise that too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, dehydration, headaches, an increased heart rate and stomach pains.  Sleep can even be disrupted due to caffeine after 3pm.

The second key group is the ‘on the go junkie’ with 60% of respondents not taking a proper lunch break.  Employees find they rush through their lunch, eat on the go or miss it altogether.  Amongst this group, over 25% admit to eating at their desk due to being too busy.  Breaks throughout the day can help people reset and tiny adjustments like changing your working position can help posture and muscle strain.

On the other hand, the research identified three groups that work around their schedule and manage to keep fit and healthy.  Topping the list is the ‘target smasher’ with 47% of professionals setting themselves a target or goal to help them achieve it.  The target smasher is supported by the fact that people are more likely to reach their goal if they share it with a colleague or friend.  As a result, within the target smasher group, nearly a quarter of 16-24 year olds reported they exercise more than they used to because of technology or an app.

Research revealed the small adjustments people make to stay on track to leading a balanced lifestyle.  The ‘small stepper’ is the champion of taking the stairs instead of the lift with half of workers opting for this, 38% cut down on alcohol to help lead a balanced lifestyle and 24% occasionally opt for cycling or walking to work instead of driving or taking public transport.  Our experts recommend keeping on top of your health before you let problems become a big issue.

Finally, ‘Healthy Hero’ is the all-rounder group that seeks out the latest quick tips and technology to stay on top of their fitness, 29% get out for a walk at lunch, 23.5% get regular check-ups with the doctor and / or dentist and 12% find starting the working day with a healthy breakfast encourages them to be healthily throughout the day.  We should be looking up to this group as this is a great approach to feeling healthy and reaching the recommended two and a half hours exercise a week.

Philip Luce, Director of Bupa Health and Dental Clinics said: “We all set out with the best intentions when it comes to our health but hectic schedules mean bad habits creep in.  We’re encouraging people to take a few minutes out of their day to take a look at their health and wellbeing, it’s a simple first step to changing our habits and introducing a small change to the working day.”

Bupa wants to help people make small changes that can help us feel fit and healthy:

Take a look – Bupa is encouraging people to take time out during the day to think about their health and general wellbeing.

Take the scenic route to work one day, block time out to get a proper lunch or check out a niggle or ailment you might have   We have the top health and fitness tips from our clinics managers across the country: 

-       Preparation is key to everything – plan your meals in advance so you don’t skip meals or snack on junk food, or book in to an exercise class to help you commit 

-       Use an app or wear a stepometer to keep track of your movement – this is a great motivator as well as monitor 

-       Make small changes to help you stick to it, if it’s too ambitious it won’t last 

-       Celebrate your success – no matter how small the task, completing it fuels success and motivation to do it again. 

We’re encouraging people to take the healthy habits quiz online to see what type of person you are.  See if you’re an on the go junkie or small stepper? /health/health-assessments/is-your-lifestyle-making-you-unhealthy

Notes to editor

About Bupa Health Clinics

With more than 50 Bupa health centres across the UK, we offer a range of trusted health services close to where people live and work. Bupa clinics are open to everyone, whether you have Bupa insurance or not.

Our health and dental clinics offer a range of everyday health services from GP and physiotherapy appointments and health assessments to general, cosmetic and specialist dentistry.

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

At Bupa, we have no shareholders. Our priority is looking after you... through our care homes, health insurance, health centres and dental centres. Bupa. Our focus is your health.

We have 15.7 million health insurance customers, provide healthcare to around 14.5 million people in our clinics and hospitals, and look after over 23,000 aged care residents.

We directly employ around 80,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland, and many more through our associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

Health insurance is around 73% of our business. In a number of countries, we also run clinics, dental centres, hospitals, and care homes and villages.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com

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