The most recent National Health Report has recently been released, alongside recommended guidelines for sleep, water, exercise and fruit and veg consumption, are the real statistics given by 4000 Brits on their real life habits. The statistics aren't brilliant, and explain a lot about the UK as an unhealthy nation.
How do you compare to Mr and Mrs Average?
We should be getting between 7-8 hours of sleep a night- I would say I'm pretty good on this. I try to get to sleep by 10.30pm most nights, and wake up around 6.30am, averaging 8hrs a night.
I'm not surprised that most people get less sleep than this, but I can't understand how they function properly and don't feel exhausted all the time. I love going to bed early and getting up early, and am a wreck if I don't get enough beauty sleep!
Portions of Fruit and Veg
I strive to eat between 7-10 portions of fruit and veg a day, so I'm sure that I normally score well above average on this. I can see how juices and smoothies are a great way for those with below average numbers to boost their consumption. The average woman consumes 3.5 pieces of fruit and veg, whilst men eat 3.3 portions.
It's actually really interesting what makes up a portion of fruit/veg, for example two dried apricots or dates equals one portion. How easy is that to add to your daily routine!
According to the NHS website, women should be drinking 1.6litres, while men should be consuming 2litres a day. I probably fall down on this on days where I don't exercise- I drink a lot of tea, which doesn't make up for this (infact it probably makes it worse). It seems I'm not the only one, with both men and women needing to double their water intake. We should be carrying water bottles around with us, and drinking water with meals.
Marathon training means I probably have this one nailed.
Although we should be doing 2 and a half hours of cardio exercise a week, the average man and woman gets well under this. However, considering how many people I know that do no cardio exercise, I'm actually surprised that the average man does 73 mins of cardio a week, whilst the average woman achieves 69mins.
Another area that I am average or even below- I don't think I get the recommended 2 weights workouts in a week, an area I can definitely work on after the marathon. Unsurprisingly, men were closer to this target with 1.4 workouts than women, with 1.2 workouts.
This is something I always used to lie about when visiting the doctor, massively underestimating my alcohol intake. Now I would say I probably only drink about 6 units a week, but they're definitely still consumed on one or two nights, and therefore it's classed as binge drinking (not ideal). Women shouldn't drink more than 2-3units a day, with men peaking at 3-4 units, however with men drinking over 13 units a week, and women drinking 8.4 units it's clear I'm not the only one drinking more than I should.
None. Although, confession- I did actually used to smoke when I was at University. I am so glad I stopped, and now can't believe I ever smoked!! Gross.
I was actually a little horrified to discover the average person smokes over 3 cigarettes a day!!
I don't love BMI as an indication of health and fitness, especially for athletes or those that exercise a lot, with that said it can be a quick way to recognise a problem. A healthy BMI is 18.5-24.9, so with a BMI of 21.3 I am more than OK on this scale.
How do you fare against the average? Has this highlighted a few things that you could work on? I know for me it's brought to my attention the fact that I have to ensure that weights workouts are a priority, and that I swap out a least one cup of tea for a bottle of water!
This post is in collaboration with Benenden.