New research reveals turning 30, 40 or 50 pushes millions of Britons into a lifestyle overhaul
13 August 2018.United Kingdom
Taking part in a Tough Mudder style event, a 10k run or a marathon has replaced the stereotypical convertible sports car, that marks a milestone birthday, new research has revealed.
Half of Britons change their attitudes to health after hitting a milestone birthday
13 million Brits sign up to a Tough Mudder style event as they approach a new decade
Women make positive changes when they reach 30, a decade earlier than men
The research by Bupa Health Clinics found that almost a quarter (24%) of Britons - that’s 13 million people - sign up for a competitive event, such as a 10k run, marathon or Tough Mudder style event to mark a significant turning of age. Meanwhile 53% of us cut down on alcohol or give it up completely, and half (50%) of us are booking in for a health MOT, following a new trend dubbed ‘The Zero Effect’.
The turn of a new decade prompts around half (47%) of us to make a positive lifestyle change, but the point at which we do it is different for men and women. On average, women are more likely to make changes a decade earlier than men. Women take stock of their health when they reach 30, while men are more likely to make health and lifestyle resolutions at 40.
For a fifth (20%) of women, they see a milestone birthday as an opportunity to reassess all areas of life and think about what’s really important, adopting a new healthy eating plan (67%) and joining the gym (48%).
For men, becoming a vegan (24%) and signing up to a competitive event (31%) seems to be key indicators of a midlife turning point – motivated by more than one in 10 feeling the need to get fitter to keep up with a younger partner (6%) and wanting a new challenge (5%).
Tracey McAlpine, 58, author of lifestyle blog Fighting Fifty,explains why she changed her lifestyle at 50: “As 50th birthday cards came through the post, so did details of a walk-in bath, a chairlift, and funeral planning. Was that really my future?
“Hitting my fifties made me immediately think differently about my health. I realised that I wanted to make some changes. I wanted to ensure I remained fit and healthy to avoid needing any of the services I was being shown. I looked carefully at what I ate and added more fruit, vegetables, and pulses into my diet. I started to train with weights to retain muscle mass and took up Pilates to help with flexibility. I’m now 58 and feeling great.”
Other big lifestyle changes include giving up smoking (40%) with men (46%) being more likely to choose this than women (34%). Seeking a better work / life balance is something both men (38%) and women (37%) agree on according to the report by Bupa Health Clinics.
Jake Williams, Lifestyle Health Adviser atBupa Health Clinics, says: “Entering a new decade is one of many triggers that can prompt us to think about our health. In our clinics, we often see customers coming in for a general health check shortly before, or after turning, an age ending with a zero.
“This is supported by our research which found many of us book a general health assessment and get specific health concerns checked - a third (32%) see a physio and almost a quarter (24%) visit a dermatologist.”
However, while a significant birthday prompts a health and lifestyle overhaul the study shows the changes last on average three years, although a quarter of Britons (25%) relapse within the first 12 months. Only a handful (5%) maintain their new regime for eight years or more.
Jake Williams, Lifestyle Health Adviser atBupa Health Clinics, continues: “While taking stock of our health is something to be embraced and encouraged, it’s important we don’t ignore health for the other nine years. One of the most alarming stats in our report showed that 54% saw a medical professional about a symptom they’d been ignoring when they hit a milestone age. Anything unusual or concerning should be checked and dealt with as soon as it comes to our attention.”
The research, which polled just over 3,000 adults, also found the psychological effect of a new era made almost half of Britons (47%) feel much older and aware of the importance of their health. Over a quarter (27%) said they worry about ill health in later life and moving into the next decade made it feel closer.
The top 11 actions following a milestone birthday for Britons are
Starting a new healthy eating plan
Getting a niggling symptom checked
Cutting down or giving up alcohol
Getting a health MOT
Joining a gym
Giving up smoking
Seeking a better work / life balance
Seeking help with a mental health problem
Signing up for a competitive event such as a 10k race, marathon, Tough Mudder.
Going vegan or vegetarian
About the research
The research surveyed 3,000 people over the age of 16 and was commissioned by Bupa Health Clinics and carried out by Censuswide in April 2018.
About Bupa Health Clinics
With more than 50 Bupa health centres across the UK, we offer a range of trusted health services close to where people live and work.
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Bupa clinics are on the high street across the country and offer: health assessments, health services like GP appointments, dental appointments including orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry, dermatology, physiotherapy, osteopathy and podiatry.
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