Struggling To Get Up From The Sofa? You're Not The Only One

Up and at 'em!
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When was the last time you worked out? I’m not talking about a walk to the shops, I mean a full-body workout. Well, it turns out 1 in 3 Brits are unable to perform basic exercises with half of the population struggling with getting up from the sofa or walking upstairs.

The new comes comes after previous research found that a third of the population doesn’t exercise each week. PureGym has taken a further look at the nation’s relationship with strength, mobility, and endurance in their new study, and the findings paint a bleak picture.

The results looked at how many people are unable to complete bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and squats, as well as the number of Brits struggling with daily activities such as walking to the shops, or finding they get out of breath while walking upstairs.

Working with PureGym Portsmouth PT Phil Carpenter, the budget gym has created a set of benchmarks that outline an ideal basic level of fitness applicable to people of all ages and genders.

Seven basic exercises (tricep dips, push-ups, squats, slow squats, deep squats, a 1.5 mile (2.4km) run, and a toe touch), were analysed. The results from the 2,000 people were involved in the study show how many people fall short of these ‘base level’ benchmarks, which affects day-to-day movement as a result.

“The average person who works in an office spends most of their time sat or laid down. We wake up after a night of lying down, sit down to eat breakfast, drive to work, get a lift to the right floor, and sit at a desk until 5pm, often with lunches spent at our desks,” Carpenter says.

On Average, 1 in 3 Are Unable to Perform Basic Bodyweight Exercises

Running seems to prove the most difficult exercise amongst Brits. So much so that nearly 4 in 10 people stated that wouldn’t be able to complete a 1.5-mile run, regardless of how much time they had to do so.

Strength was another issue as a third of people are unable to complete a single tricep dip, with 5.63 being the average number of reps completed - which is the minimum benchmark expected for someone aged 60 or above.

Whilst nearly a quarter of the population can’t complete a single squat, with the average person only able to complete 9.58 squat reps before failure - which according to benchmarking, is equivalent to a ‘poor’ effort for men aged over 56 years old, or women over 36.

More Than Half Struggle With Walking Up The Stairs

Have you ever run up the stairs and noticed you’re out of breath? Well, it seems like you’re not the only one. In addition to the 50% of us that struggle to get up from a chair or sofa, more than half said that they get out of breath when walking up a flight of stairs, which is a huge number considering how many of us need to walk up and down stairs on a regular basis in our own homes.

Worryingly, it’s those aged 16-24 who find climbing stairs the most difficult, with nearly three-quarters admitting to struggling with this, in comparison to just 46% of those aged over 55.

How Can People Turn Their Fitness Around?

For anyone struggling with day-to-day movement looking to improve their physical fitness, Carpenter recommends starting by following these three simple tips:

  • Set small, achievable goals: “Start by setting SMART goals and recording these down. It’s better to start with small, sustainable changes and build on these. Something as simple as having a step goal or working out twice a week is a great place to start,” Carpenter says.
  • Aim to do some form of physical activity everyday: “Whether it’s walking, gardening, housework, or more vigorous exercise such as gym based or sports such as swimming, tennis, we need to be raising our hearts rates within safe limits, at least twice a week to benefit from reducing the risk of chronic diseases and sickness such as heart disease, stroke,” he adds.
  • Become more active throughout the day: “Lifestyle changes are just as, if not more, important, as working out. If you work out for 45 minutes a day but spend the rest of the day completely inactive, you’re fighting a losing battle! Small ways to increase activity and improve mobility include taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking while talking on the phone, and sitting on the floor instead of the sofa,” he shares.