NHS exercise advice sought every 12 seconds at new year

The number of visits to the NHS website’s running programme is expected to quadruple in the first week of January as people attempt to achieve their new year’s resolutions.

Figures from NHS England, which runs the NHS website, show that visits to the Get running with Couch to 5K page received 51,900 visits in the first week of January this year – an increase of 260% compared to the weekly average in December 2022 (14,400).

This equates to an average of one visit every 12 seconds across the week as many people challenge themselves to get fit and healthy in the new year.

The NHS Couch to 5K programme is a running plan for absolute beginners which helps you gradually work up towards running 5km in just 9 weeks.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director said: “Setting yourself healthy and sustainable new year goals can be a good source of encouragement to make positive changes to your lifestyle.

“It’s great to see an increase to the NHS Live Well pages at any time of the year, as NHS advice is there for everyone to support with information about healthy living, exercise, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol – goals which are much easier to maintain when done gradually and safely.”

A Health Survey for England report published last year found that 64% of adults were overweight in 2021, with 26% classed as obese.

The NHS website highlights the benefits of taking up physical activity as a new hobby, such as helping to relieve stress and enhance your mental health and wellbeing, improve the health of your heart and lungs, as well as helping you to lose excess weight – especially if combined with a healthy diet.

Visits to the NHS advice pages about eating a healthy, balanced diet and how to manage your weight also increase in January, almost doubling at the start of the year. The healthy weight page received over 20,000 visits during the first week of January 2023, and the eat well page over 11,000.

Other NHS Live Well pages also see an increase of visits at the start of the new year, including the quit smoking advice page which saw a 230% rise in visits at the start of January 2023 (41,200) when compared with the December weekly average (12,600).

The quit smoking section of the website provides information and advice to help you stop smoking as well as how to access NHS stop smoking services.

The NHS website is the UK’s biggest health website, with an estimated 2.6 million visits a day in 2022 from people seeking information and advice. It includes over 4,000 pages and provides information about 990 medical conditions.

Find out more about how the NHS Live Well pages can support you with advice about healthy living, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol.