Brits typically didn’t see daylight for two days each week during last winter

The average Brit didn’t see daylight for two and a half days each week during the winter months, a study has found.

A poll of 5,000 UK adults found bad weather (46%), long hours on the job (38%) and working from home (28%) have been the top reasons to stay inside since last November.

A quarter said they don’t get any time to take quick walks during the day, while 19% reckon their day is always too busy to take a break.

More than one in five (22%) admitted to only experiencing one hour outside per day, with 69% claiming their mood is affected negatively.

In addition, most individuals identify with having “less get up and go” in the darker months (59%) and feeling more tired and drained (57%), with one in three (32%) feeling they achieve less.

More than a third (37%) said low motivation gets in the way of them looking after themselves, whilst 28% felt their mood affected their selfcare, and one in four blamed a lack of time for not being more active.

AXA Health, which commissioned the research, teamed up with celebrity broadcaster Jo Whiley to show the nation how short bursts of activity can make a positive impact on our physical and mental health.

Jo Whiley said: “It seems the same for a lot of people, that when the skies are brighter and days are longer, it puts us in a better mood.

“It’s important to keep on top of your health and wellbeing, even if you’re not feeling quite up to it, and a few short minutes doing something active or being outside can really help.

“A couple of star jumps while the kettle boils or belting out your favourite ballad while hoovering can do wonders for your physical and mental health.”

The study found over half (59%) dread when the darker months get closer – but 61% have a boost of energy when the winter sun comes out.

Going for a walk (49%), speaking to or seeing friends (35%), and a quick workout (22%), were the top ways adults looked after their health and wellbeing through the darker months.

And with lighter times on the horizon, many adults have already taken steps to help them feel good – including getting an early night, only working the hours they’re paid to, and doing short bursts of exercise.

Taking breaks away from the desk and buying a SAD lamp also made the list.

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Encouraging the nation to become more active, AXA Health is installing three larger-than-life table lamps fitted with SAD bulbs in London, Manchester, and Glasgow, to help alleviate winter blues and provide a little feelgood sunshine for passers-by.

AXA Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Annabel Bentley, said: “The shorter days can feel draining, especially if you are seeing very few daylight hours.

“Every day, however, we’re gaining a few minutes of daylight, and with the clocks set to go forward in March, there are plenty of small changes we can make to take advantage of the increase in daylight and help us feel good.

“Getting outside for 10 minutes when taking a phone call, or cooking up a new dish, or even being indoors but with the windows open, can help boost your mood without you even realising.”

With spring and summer approaching, two-thirds (67%) said they will make the most of it by going outside more, with 59% planning to walk more and 43% planning to visit more places.

On top of this, 71% of those polled, via OnePoll, agree that short bursts of activity such as going for a five-minute walk or meditation can make them feel better.

A sunny day (56%), having a good night’s sleep (51%), and learning a new hobby (15%) are also things to put people into a good place mentally.

AXA Health’s giant SAD lamps will be at London’s King’s Cross (24-25 Feb), Spinningfields Square in Manchester (27-28 Feb), and Fort Shopping Centre in Glasgow (3-4 March).


  1. A sunny day (more daylight)
  2. Getting things done
  3. Having a good night's sleep
  4. Meeting family and friends
  5. Your favourite music
  6. A quick walk outside
  7. Cooking/baking
  8. A good day's work
  9. Getting up early
  10. A home workout

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