It might be the season of love but Brits are neglecting one of the most important relationships in their life – the relationship with their body.
Over half1 of the population admit to having a bad relationship with their body and 38% know they could do more to look after themselves, according to research from Bupa UK.
The report commissioned by Bupa Health Clinics to understand attitudes to maintaining wellbeing found that a fifth of people ignore signs that they’re playing or working too hard all the time and 49% do it occasionally.
Overall, men are much better at finding time for themselves than women, spending two hours more relaxing each week than women do. Men also socialise with friends for 1.5 hours longer than their female counterparts, and spend seven hours doing something just for themselves every week, compared to women who spend just five hours doing the same.
When asked how they’d react to seeing a friend looking or behaving a little off-colour, 75% of participants said they’d check if they were okay, 40% would suggest they see a doctor and 22% would advise making time to relax.
However, when it comes to their own bodies, Britons are failing to show the same level of care. Half of people deal with stress by ‘powering through’, a third have worried about an ailment but not got it checked and nearly a third2 never make time to review their lifestyles and make changes for the better.
Almost half of the population ignore signs that their body needs a rest because they’re concerned they’ll miss out on something exciting.
Philip Luce, Bupa UK’s Health and Dental Clinics Director said: “Many of us are good at making time for our loved ones but too-often we forget to give the same care and attention to ourselves. Our bodies are our most loyal and lifelong companions so it’s important that we take time to look after it.”
This Valentine’s Day, make some time to work on the relationship with your body:
- Listen to your body: take note of how you are feeling and focus on what feels good, making healthy changes might be easier than you think
- Set some health goals: establish some health goals that will help you work towards creating the lifestyle you want and improving your self-esteem. This could be a fitness challenge or a change you want to see in your body
- Ditch the diet: focus on creating a long-term sustainable healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet, high in fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates, and low in fat, sugar and salt
- Change your mindset: stop thinking negatively about your body or comparing yourself to others. When someone compliments you, accept it rather than negating it
Philip Luce continues: “Think about your relationship with your body as a bank account; if you keep making withdrawals and don’t make any deposits, at some point, your bank account will be overdrawn.
“The risk of not making any deposits - not making time to check in with your body - is that something may be doing damage without causing symptoms. Examples are things like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can quietly damage the body's organs and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes without causing any symptoms early on.”
Bupa offers health assessments that give the body a full MOT, looking at a variety of factors including fitness, weight, musculoskeletal, blood sugar, liver function and more. Prices start at £176 – less than 50p a day (spread across the year). Read more about Bupa's health assessments.
1 52% of participants
2 28% of participants