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42 per cent of Britons left out of breath walking up stairs, new research reveals

CSP press release published on 8 September 2011

Four in ten people get out of breath walking up stairs or running for a bus, according to new research from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Some 46 per cent of women polled by the CSP admitted these simple activities left them out of puff, as did 39 per cent of men.

To encourage people to take breaks and become more active during their working day and outside of work, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is launching Workout at Work Day today (Sept 8) across the UK.

More than 150 physiotherapists are going into a diverse range of work places, from John Lewis stores, offices and hospitals to a power station, to show how people can adopt healthier habits and build more activity into their daily working lives.

The event is being held to coincide with World Physical Therapy Day.

The CSP believes the poll results underline the importance of the Workout at Work Day initiative.

Chartered physiotherapist Ann Green, chair of the CSP, said:

“Physiotherapists see the consequences of inactivity every day and it’s a real concern that so many people are left out of breath by relatively simple tasks.

“Time and financial pressures obviously prevent many people from taking exercise but Workout at Work Day is about showing people the cheap and easy ways that it can be built into any daily routine.

“Adopting some of these healthy habits can help us tackle the obesity crisis facing the UK today.”

Among the activities being led by physios on Workout at Work Day are Pilates classes, lunchtime walking clubs, cycling challenges and table tennis.

The CSP believes both employees and their bosses will see the benefits of activities like these and is urging employers to make them a regular feature of the workplace.

A report produced by the CSP, called Sickness Costs, showed time taken off work due to  musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as neck and back pain, costs society £7.4 billion a year.

Employers can greatly reduce these costs by encouraging better working habits, such as  flexible hours and regular breaks and also by providing early access to services such as physiotherapy for people who do develop MSDs.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said:

“Some employers might still question why they should play a role in supporting employee health and wellbeing however the business case is extremely clear in terms of reduced levels of employee ill health and absence.

“There is strong evidence showing that exercise can help to manage and prevent common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and recent research by Macmillan highlights the benefits of exercise for people with cancer.

“There are plenty of low cost and no cost exercise at work initiatives which employers can support, for example, pedometer challenges, running groups or netball and football sides. This is not about employers driving this, it is simply about employers supporting their staff in making healthy choices about exercise and lifestyle.”

Retailer John Lewis is supporting the campaign with events for Partners (staff) at branches around the UK. John Lewis has a dedicated physiotherapist and occupational health adviser in each of its shops and encourages its Partners to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

Head of physiotherapy at John Lewis, Catherine Fitzgerald said:

“Ensuring the health and happiness of our Partners is key to our way of working at John Lewis. But this is a two way approach; we know that when Partners are happy and healthy this is a benefit to the business. By providing physiotherapy and occupational health services, Partners are fitter and healthier and take fewer days off due to sickness.”

For more information about Workout at Work Day or to access a range of free leaflets,  including the Easy Exercise Guide, about building effective exercise into your daily routine, and Fitness Profits, with advice for employers on how to keep staff healthy and productive, visit



For further media information and details of events please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 1111, email Out of hours please call Becca Bryant, head of press and PR (job-share) on 079172 40819, Jon Ryan, media and PR officer on 07917 091200 or Paul Marston, media and PR officer, on 07966 994141.



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