Is Your Health Above Average?

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? 

Sleep

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!

Water

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.

Cardio Fitness

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.

Weights Workouts

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.

Alcohol Consumed

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.

Smoker

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!!

BMI

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! 

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4 Comments

  1. September 19, 2014 / 9:23 am

    Interesting! I definitely need to work on the weights part of this too, and could probably do with upping my fruit/veg intake as well! Although I don’t really drink and always have a glass of water on my desk at work, so not too bad overall 🙂

  2. September 19, 2014 / 9:59 am

    An interesting piece, I think I manage to just about scrape above average on most things, although my occasional binge drinking is far in excess of 13 units in one night out! Luckily that only happens once or twice a month at most, and not the three times a week it used to (back when I also smoked 10-15 cigarettes a day, what was I thinking?!?)

    One thing to point out though; whilst it’s not quite as healthy as water, tea is a perfectly acceptable way to get your fluid intake as acknowledged by the NHS. “All drinks count, including hot drinks such as tea and coffee, but water, milk and fruit juices are the healthiest. It is best to avoid alcoholic drinks.” (from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/water-drinks.aspx) I always thought tea as a diuretic might have an adverse effect, but “The caffeine in tea is a mild diuretic. However, the British Dietetic Association has suggested that tea can be used to supplement normal water consumption, and that “the style of tea and coffee and the amounts we drink in the UK are unlikely to have a negative effect [on hydration]” (from Wikipedia).

    So, I’ll stick the kettle on, how’d you like it? :o)

  3. goldilocksrunning
    September 20, 2014 / 5:27 pm

    Liking the new look site Charlie!

    I found this piece really interesting- thanks for sharing! Apart from my low water consumption on days where I don’t have a big exercise session, and my lack of weights workouts, this has made me realise I’m pretty healthy compared to a lot of the population.

  4. September 21, 2014 / 11:09 am

    What a great, well written, and inspiring post. Being healthy should be a lifestyle, it’s about decisions. Thanks so much. Keep it coming! All the best!

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