Long working hours and busy social schedules are causing a national divide across the UK, with some people adopting unhealthy habits, such as skipping lunch breaks and failing to get enough sleep, as a result and others turning to quick fitness hacks, according to research by Bupa UK health clinics.
The Bupa study found that 60% of UK employees are not taking a full lunch break each day and 34% do not get the required amount of sleep each night.
To compensate for these bad habits, 47% said they set themselves a goal or target to keep healthy, with 26% saying technology helps them do this.
Using the results of the study, Bupa has identified five types of people, each of whom, it says, has a key unhealthy habit or helpful life hack.
Individuals who are constantly in search of their next caffeine fix to get through the working day are ‘caffeine machines’, says Bupa. More than 55% of people across the UK fall into this group and among them, over 40% of people aged between 45 and 54 object to starting their day without a coffee.
The problem, though, Bupa says is that an overreliance on caffeine can lead to a number of health problems, including dehydration, anxiety, headaches, stomach pains and an increased heart rate. In addition, any caffeine consumed after 3pm can have a detrimental effect on a person’s sleep.
‘On the Go Junkie’
The 60% of respondents who indicated that they didn’t take a proper lunch break each day are referred to by Bupa as ‘on the go junkies’. A quarter of this group (25%) said they eat lunch at their desks because there isn’t enough otherwise to get all their work completed.
Regular breaks throughout the day are necessary for people to reset and even minor working position adjustments can help prevent muscle strain.
In contrast to the ‘caffeine machine’ and ‘on the go junkie’ groups, Bupa also identified three groups that manage to keep fit and healthy, despite their busy schedules.
Almost half (47%) of survey respondents fell into The ‘target smasher’ group, which includes professionals who set themselves goals or targets to encourage them to achieve what they want. Of these individuals, almost a quarter of 16-24 year olds said that apps and technology helped them exercise more.
The ‘small stepper’ group is for people who take small steps towards a healthy lifestyle. For example, workers who choose to take the stairs instead of the lift (50%); those who cut down their alcohol consumption (38%); and individuals who cycle or walk to work (24%) find themselves in this group.
People in the ‘healthy hero’ group are all-rounders who actively try to lead healthy lifestyles. Just under 30% go outside for a walk on their lunch breaks; 23.5% have regular check-ups at the doctor or dentist; and 12% start their day with a healthy breakfast, which gives them a bigger incentive to be healthier throughout the day.
Evidence has shown that a healthy workforce is a happier and more productive workforce. We can help our clients with their employee wellbeing to ensure they are getting the best out of their staff.
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