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People too tired to lead healthier lifestyles, UK survey finds | Health

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It’s the question many of us ask ourselves: why don’t I exercise more, eat better food and generally lead a healthier lifestyle?

For many who want to, but just can’t seem to make it happen, it turns out the answer to that question is – feeling just too tired.

A survey has found that tiredness is why 35% of people don’t make changes to their diet and physical activity levels that would help them close the gap between good intentions and concrete action.

The results, from a YouGov poll of 2,086 UK adults for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), illustrate the barriers many people face in their desire to adopt and stick to healthy habits.

When asked what was stopping them from eating more healthily and exercising more often, 29% of men and 40% of women cited “feeling too tired”.

Even more put it down to “lack of motivation” (38%). Other common reasons given include the cost of food (30%), lack of time (26%) and work/life balance (25%). Others cited the cost of exercising (25%), such as buying a gym membership or equipment, lack of confidence (16%) and “not knowing where to start” (12%).

Only one in four (24%) in the representative sample of the British population surveyed online said nothing prevented them from making healthy changes to their lifestyle.

Matt Lambert, the charity’s health information and promotion manager, said: “People have busy schedules and we know that, for many, the last thing they might want to do when they are tired or lacking in motivation is to start cooking from scratch or going to the gym.”

WCRF is launching an eight-week healthy living plan which it hopes will enable people to build healthier habits into their routine.

It said eating well and taking exercise were important ways of reducing people’s risk of getting cancer and other diseases. One in two people will get cancer at some point in their lives.

The charity, and Cancer Research UK, estimate that 40% of all cases of cancer could be avoided if more people lived healthier lives, for example by eating more healthily, being active, maintaining a normal weight, avoiding sunburn and not smoking.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was promoting healthier lifestyles to boost physical and mental health, for example through its “better health – every mind matters” campaign launched last week. It encourages people to use free apps, such as Couch to 5k and Active 10, to boost their activity levels.