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A new ‘FIT-SE’ Index by AXA PPP healthcare has ranked the UK’s fittest industries ahead of the Flying Start campaign – an initiative encouraging businesses to push back the start of the working day to mark National Fitness Day on Wednesday 26 September, so employees can exercise before they get to work.

According to the FIT-SE Index, 42 minutes’ daily exercise makes estate agents Britain’s least physically active workforce, while farmers are the UK’s fittest workers, undertaking two hours and 44 minutes of daily exercise. IT workers, despite having office-based jobs, claim to exercise for one hour and 58 minutes per day.

The research was conducted on 2,000 UK employees across 18 UK industries, which were ranked as follows:

The FIT-SE Index:

  1. Agriculture/farming – 2 hours 44 minutes
  2. IT – 1 hour 58 minutes
  3. Hospitality – 1 hour 40 minutes
  4. Construction – 1 hour 26 minutes
  5. Law – 1 hour 25 minutes
  6. Healthcare – 1 hour 23 minutes
  7. Manufacturing – 1 hour 22 minutes
  8. Retail – 1 hour 22 minutes
  9. Marketing/advertising/PR – 1 hour 21 minutes
  10. Finance – 1 hour 20 minutes
  11. Education – 1 hour 17 minutes
  12. Transport – 1 hour 16 minutes
  13. Recruitment – 1 hour 13 minutes
  14. Charity – 1 hour 12 minutes
  15. Arts & recreation – 1 hour 7 minutes
  16. Media & journalism – 1 hour 7 minutes
  17. Public sector – 1 hour
  18. Property/estate agents – 42 minutes


According to the research, 48% of Brits say the main benefit of working out is to control their weight. But the reasons for exercising appear to be more than just physical – over two-fifths of those surveyed (43%) say it’s for stress-relief and 40% claim it improves their mental health.

Chris Horlick, distribution director for AXA PPP healthcare, told FitPro, “While it’s great to see agricultural workers doubling the national average for daily exercise, the findings of our new FIT-SE Index are a clear indication a lot more needs to be done to get the UK workforce active on a daily basis. The benefits both to businesses and employees in terms of productivity, mental well-being and energy are huge and we’re thrilled to see so many organisations signed up to our Flying Start campaign on National Fitness Day, giving their employees an hour off in the morning to get active.”

Where to next? Watch the documentary released for World Suicide Prevention Day.