One in ten adults has not taken any “real” physical exercise for more than a decade, while a fifth has been inactive since leaving school or college, according to a new report.
A survey of 2,000 people by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that the pressures of modern life, including long working hours, were having an impact on fitness levels.
Long hours was given as the main reason for lack of exercise, followed by having children, and getting married.
The optimum age for physical fitness was 26, while most wanted to stay physically active into their mid-50s, said the report.
Nancy Prior, head of events at the BHF, said: “It can be difficult to prioritise physical activity with family and work getting in the way.
“However, with over a third of Brits rating good health as the number one attribute to have, we would encourage everyone to make time for regular physical activity.”
One in ten of those polled said they had been inspired to go for a bike ride by the success of British team in last year’s Olympics.
Those surveyed said they walked and cycled 16 miles a week when in school, compared to six for their children.
The study was published to mark the opening of registration for June’s London-to Brighton-bike ride.