We’re not as fit as we would like to be – quelle surprise

57% of over 55s do not think they are as physically fit as they would like to be; 63% of 55-64yo and 54% of 65+

Published by Andrew Stark on Sep 26, 2021

[Savanta ComRes](https://comresglobal.com/polls/ukactive-uk-fitness-post-covid-19/) recently interviewed 2,087 UK adults aged 18+ and launched their results this week. The premise of their survey was to look at our fitness “post pandemic”. I’m not going to get on my soap box with their use of “post pandemic” – in the UK on the 24th of September we’re still recording 184 deaths: that’s the equivalent of 1/3 of a 747. It’s not over.

The main question that Savanta asked was whether the respondents agreed with the statement “I am as physically fit as I would like to be”. I envy the people who can answer this question in the positive. I don’t think I would ever be able to answer with a yes given the pressure nowadays to always be doing more, to be more. Across all respondents 50% disagreed with the statement. That’s 50% of our total population who “know” they are not as fit as they should be. What impact is this having on our health now and in future?

A subsequent question in the survey shows the risk of not doing something right now to combat our lack of physical fitness. 14% of 55-64yo and 11% of 65+ are not fit enough to do gentle activities – such as showering or getting dressed. Let that sink in – not fit enough to get dressed or have a shower. But what about all that additional walking we did during lockdown? Hasn’t that had a positive effect? Apparently not. 30% of 55-64yo and 28% of 65+ are doing less physical activity now than pre-pandemic (March 2020). That rings true with me actually – the first lockdown I was quite conscientious about doing my hour a day; the second lockdown I struggled to get out the door. I still struggle and have to force myself to get on the bike or go for a walk, I always feel better for it afterwards though which shows the positive effect it has both on physical and mental health.

So, what can we do differently today to make sure that we’re not responding that we don’t feel fit enough to get dressed? Personally, I’ll be giving up alcohol for October and making sure I do 10,000 steps per day (if only I was able to do them along Christies Beach in South Australia which you can see in the photo!). I was going to say I’ll give up eating sweets, but then I’d be just like one of the 20% of people that make a New Year’s resolution to become more fit and don’t stick to it.

A further insight from the survey is the question about what would help people be more active. For 55-64 year olds it was having more time to themselves at the weekend. I personally found the biggest mistake was thinking I had to work out or do exercise for an hour for it to be effective. Start with 15 minutes. We’ve all got 15 minutes.

For the 65+ it’s having support from family and/or friends. Is there someone in your circle of friends and family that might be wanting to get out and do something but haven’t asked? Be the first to ask.

What are you going to do today? and who are you going to do it with who might just need that little bit of support from you to get out and do something?