Irish people exercising less and more stressed, research finds

Since the Covid pandemic, the number of people describing themselves as feeling lonely or isolated has almost doubled
Irish people exercising less and more stressed, research finds

Amy Blaney

People in Ireland are exercising less, socially isolated and more stressed in 2022, according to new research.

Since the Covid pandemic, the number of people describing themselves as feeling lonely or isolated has almost doubled, increasing to 34 per cent, while 76 per cent now say they enjoy spending time alone, up from 48 per cent in 2019.

This is according to Irish Life Health of the Nation research.

The research found that exercise is decreasing and the average weight has increased by half a stone since 2018, while people are more sedentary during the work day.

The number of people who exercise more than 3.5 hours a week has decreased by 7 per cent since 2020.

More than 1 in 4 of under 35-year-olds are “severely distressed”, with females more likely to be distressed.

Of those who classified themselves as being “severely distressed”, 19 per cent indicated that they undertook no exercise, compared to 13 per cent and 14 per cent in the mild and moderate group respectively.

Work-life balance

Almost half of respondents (47 per cent) now say the most important aspect of their current role is work-life balance, over double the amount (20 per cent) who say their salary is most important.

Irish Life’s Health of the Nation research measures indicators of the nation’s health as they fluctuate year-on-year, providing a picture of how physically, socially, and mentally healthy Irish people are.

“The data shows a decrease in the average Health Score which is mainly driven by reduced physical activity,” said Stacey Machesney, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Irish Life.

“This is consistent with other research that also observed a reduction in physical activity following the measures to prevent the spread of covid-19. The reduction in the Health Score that we’ve seen corresponds to an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.”

 

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