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Muffle of movement: The majority of Germans live unhealthily


Too little exercise: Many Germans live unhealthily

Health experts repeatedly emphasize the importance of regular sport for our bodies, but the majority of Germans exercise far too little. A lack of exercise not only favors numerous diseases, but also has a negative impact on subjective well-being.

Lack of exercise promotes illness

Medical professionals repeatedly emphasize the importance of regular exercise for our body. Lack of exercise and long periods of sitting make you sick. Among other things, this supports chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system such as high blood pressure. Other health consequences: an increased risk of type II diabetes, obesity, musculoskeletal complaints due to physical underuse and one-sided attitudes, but also psychological effects such as depressive moods or lack of drive. But despite all these risks, many Germans are not moving enough. This is clear from the DKV report “How healthy is Germany living?” 2018.

Minimum level of physical activity

As stated in a statement by the Ergo Insurance Group, lack of exercise is becoming an ever greater problem in Germany.

Because, according to a survey commissioned by DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung, only 43 percent of those surveyed achieved the recommended minimum level of physical activity.

In 2010, the figure was still 60 percent.

"Since the first edition of the 2010 report, Germans have been moving less and less - physical activity is of central importance for our well-being. This applies to all age groups and starts as a child, ”said Clemens Muth, CEO of DKV in a press release.

Almost 2900 Germans were interviewed for the current DKV report, which can be downloaded from a media library.

Effects on subjective well-being

A lack of physical activity not only has a negative impact on physical health, but also on subjective well-being:

"Sufficient exercise in your free time is a good way to reduce stress," said Ingo Froböse, professor at the German Sport University in Cologne and scientific director of the DKV report.

"So if you are not physically active enough overall, you may not be able to adequately compensate for your everyday stress and therefore be more susceptible to psychosomatic ailments."

Particularly alarming in this context: a total of ten percent of those questioned said they had no physical activity at all that they had been doing for more than ten minutes at a time - neither during work, during transport nor during leisure time.

Germans sit too much

In addition, the Germans are sitting longer again: after a slight improvement in 2016, the sitting time increased by 30 minutes a day to 7.5 hours.

"Research results indicate that long and uninterrupted sitting times can increase the risk of developing numerous civilization diseases," said Froböse.

Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can damage your back very quickly and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

"These negative health effects can only be compensated for by a very high level of physical activity."

"Healthy relationship to exercise"

According to the DKV, the combination of frequent users (more than eight hours a day) with the physically inactive persons in the survey made it clear that almost one in three of them exacerbated the negative effects with regard to a healthy lifestyle.

A total of 28 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as both multi-seaters and those lacking in exercise and missed the minimum activity recommendations.

Almost every third person spends between four and six or more hours a day during work. This mainly affects younger people.

“A healthy relationship with exercise begins in childhood. In kindergartens and schools in particular, we have to shape activity behavior, ”said Clemens Muth.

"The large multiplication table of physical activity is in no way inferior to the knowledge of the laws of gravity."

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults exercise at least 150 minutes a week, for example when cycling, jogging, playing football or swimming - at least ten minutes at a time. It is important that an increased breathing and heart rate is generated.

More non-smokers in Germany

The DKV report also comes with a positive message: Apparently there are more and more non-smokers in this country. According to the information, only 21 percent of Germans still smoke.

However, there are strong regional differences here.

Most non-smokers live in Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg, where 82 percent of the people are cold-shouldered.

People smoke the most on the German Baltic Sea coast: In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, 28 percent take a cigarette.

The survey also found that 82 percent do not drink alcohol at all or only occasionally. The Hessians lift the glass most often, the least alcohol is drunk in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

Many cannot adequately compensate for their stress

"A healthy handling of stress is also extremely important," said Froböse. "According to the results, almost half of all respondents (43 percent) fail to adequately compensate for their stress."

The people of Baden-Württemberg are best at it. Here 62 percent achieve the benchmark for dealing with stress in a healthy way.

People from Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse and Brandenburg have the highest stress level: only every second resident states that they can compensate for the stress well. (ad)

Author and source information

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