Feeling tired and not having enough time or motivation are the biggest obstacles to people getting fit and adopting healthier lifestyles, according to new research.

The poll saw more than 2,000 UK adults respond to a question about what prevents them from making healthy changes to their diet and being more physically active.

The results show that a lack of confidence, rising food prices and the price of gym membership were also factors as to why people find it difficult to maintain healthy eating and exercise routines.

However, around a quarter of people who answered the poll said that nothing stops them from keeping active and eating healthy foods.

The survey, carried out by YouGov for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), found that:

  • 38% said lack of motivation was the main barrier to them leading a healthy lifestyle
  • 35% said they are ‘too tired’ to exercise
  • 26% said they do not have the time
  • 25% said their work/life balance is a barrier
  • 25% reported that costs such as a gym membership prevented them from exercising, while 30% said food costs presented a barrier
  • 16% cited a lack of confidence while 12% said they did not know where to start when it comes to healthy living.

A free healthy living plan called Activ8 has been launched by the WCRF, which sees participants sent regular emails over the course of two months to encourage them to make healthier choices.

Matt Lambert, health information and promotion manager at the WCRF, said: “Living in a healthier way, whether that’s cooking from scratch more often or getting more active, can be easier said than done, especially when tiredness and motivation play such an important role.

“It can also be challenging knowing where to start, let alone motivating ourselves to make changes. That’s why, with the help of Activ8, we want to support and empower people on their journey towards being healthier.”

The survey found differences between age groups – almost half of people aged 25 to 34 said feeling too tired was a barrier, compared to 23% of older adults aged 55.

Fatigue was more likely to be a barrier for women, with around 40% of women saying tiredness was the main factor, compared to 29% of men.

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