Almost half of women have done no vigorous exercise in the past 12 months with a majority saying they lacked motivation, a survey has suggested.
The percentages are lower for men, with just over a third saying they had not exercised in that period and half citing a lack of motivation, according to the data from healthcare charity Nuffield Health.
The results of an online survey of 8,000 adults across the UK in February suggested that 38% of women said they had got out of the habit of exercising during lockdown.
One in 10 (11%) said they got into good exercise habits but struggled to maintain them, and 14% gave up exercising completely, the organisation’s Healthier Nation Index showed.
More than a third (37%) reported that their physical health got worse in the previous 12 months and 47% said they failed to do any vigorous exercise.
When it came to men, 28% said their physical health had declined in the same period and 34% admitted not doing any vigorous activity in that time.
More than two thirds of women (67%) cited a lack of motivation compared with 51% for men, and 35% of women said they felt they did not know where to start when it came to exercise compared with 28% of men.
More than half (55%) said a lack of time due to work was a barrier, compared to 46% of men.
Tennis coach Judy Murray, mother of Wimbledon champion Sir Andy and ambassador for the Healthier Nation Index, said the data shows a “really big challenge” ahead in terms of “getting the nation active” especially women, who she said are “struggling to find the time to focus on their wellbeing”.
She added: “I hope everyone can spare a few minutes to find something active they enjoy doing, as well as finding someone that they can do it with.
“Exercising with friends helps me find both motivation and routine as well as providing an extra boost for my mental health, so I encourage everyone to gather friends and get moving together.”
Nuffield has launched a Find Time For Your Mind campaign which aims to encourage people to do five extra minutes of exercise a day to boost boost mental and physical wellbeing.