Brits 70 percent more motivated to change post-Covid lifestyle as ‘ancient brains’ wake up

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Earlier this month, the Government said almost half of the UK population – around 43 percent – feel “more motivated” to change their life compared to last year. This includes plans to eat more healthily, lose weight, and exercise more.

The figures are the result of a survey conducted by Public Health England, which involved over 5,000 adults.

It also showed that as many as 70 percent of UK adults are motivated to make lifestyle changes because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, former England national cricketer Jeremy Snape has told the urge to become healthier in 2021 has been prompted by the ongoing pandemic and may be linked back to our “ancient brains”.

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Mr Snape said: “The key point from these statistics is the shift from intentions to actions and as ever, our mental and physical health will be determined by our habits in 2021, not our hopes.

“Our ancient brains were primed to avoid danger rather than to strive for excellence. Wellbeing was seen as aspirational rather than essential, but the elevated risks of Covid-19 complications have brought it into much sharper focus.

“Exercise gives us the triple impact of physical, psychological and emotional benefits combined which are all crucial for us to cope through the adversity of lockdown.”

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The PHE survey showed that over a third of people were snacking on unhealthy food and drinks “at least once a day”, marking an increase of 26 percent from the previous year.

In addition, 30 percent said they were exercising less in the second half of 2020 than in the first half.

Mr Snape, who is now a sporting psychologist and host of the ‘Inside the Mind of Champions’ podcast, added “small steps” would be key for building exercise confidence for many.

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He suggested that ‘jalking’ – a combination of a walk mixed in with “a few seconds of jogging” – could be helpful.

Meanwhile, the Government said the lifestyle changes went further than food and exercise for some survey respondents.

Nearly half of those who increased their alcohol consumption during the second lockdown – 45 percent – said they wanted to drink less in 2021.

It is thought around 28 percent of adults in England are living with obesity while around 36 percent are overweight.

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