UK workers are out of shape, says Benenden study

The average British worker is so unfit they are left gasping for breath after running for a bus, latest research has suggested.

A study by the Benenden Healthcare Society also found that nearly one-third (31%) of the 2,000 people polled, felt “puffed out” after a quick trip up the stairs.

Three in five admitted that they were “left sweating” after running the vacuum around the house for just 15 minutes, while 37% said that they “needed a sit down” after mowing the lawn.

Society spokesman Neil Barnes said: “It’s clear that Brits are finding the simplest exercises a challenge and it’s quite shocking to see such relatively short distances putting people quickly out of breath.”

The study quizzed people aged between 18 and 65 on their levels of fitness including: how far they can run; how many are left feeling puffed out doing what; and how much exercise they do.

It found that eight people in 10 had been left gasping for air after trying to catch a bus to work, with the typical Briton walking up just 20 steps before needing to stop to gulp in air – and that they could only manage to run 88 metres before coming to an abrupt halt.

Three in 10 felt achey and breathless after lifting shopping in and out of the car or to the house.

More than half said they would always choose the lazy option of jumping in a lift or on to an escalator rather than face trudging up a set of steps, while seven in 10 would get the car out of the garage to drive one mile or less, distances that would take just 10 minutes to walk.

One in five admitted to avoiding any form of exercise if possible, with only a doctor’s warning (48%) or the inability to fit into clothing (43%) forcing people to overhaul their lifestyle or eating habits. Six out of 10 would only be sparked into action if they had a heart attack, added the study.

The average British person did just two forms of exercise per week, with each session lasting 37 minutes, totalling one hour and 14 minutes. But one in 10 had not worked up a sweat for one year or more.

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