Help for those with long-term health problems to be active

29th August 2019

Help for those with long-term health problems to be active

An inspiring new campaign - We Are Undefeatable - is being launched to support the one in four (15 million) people in England who live with one or more long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis and Parkinson’s. By recognising the unique barriers people with health conditions face, the campaign aims to help people build physical activity into their lives, by hearing from others who have become more active through the ups and downs of living with their condition.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England said: “You’re twice as likely to be inactive if you have a long-term health condition. We believe we can change that, because our research shows the majority of people with a condition would like to be more active. That might be strengthening activities, walking, going to the gym or playing a sport. We are very proud to support our charity partners in delivering this new campaign because we know with the right support, sport and physical activity has the ability to change the lives of people living with long-term health conditions for the better.

Individuals living with a long-term health condition are twice as likely to be inactive despite evidence that being active can help manage many conditions and help reduce the impact and severity of some symptoms. Even small amounts of activity can make a significant difference to overall health and wellbeing.
New research released today reveals that the majority of people with a long-term health condition do want to be active, and are aware of the health benefits. We Are Undefeatable has been launched to inspire, reassure and support people to be active by showing people living with a variety of conditions – both visible and invisible – on their own journeys to being active. One day, a short walk might be all that’s manageable. For others it might be swimming or getting active at home. It all helps.

The research showed that:
• 69% of people living with long-term health conditions would like to be more active.
• 66% say it would help manage or improve their condition, with improved mood and wellbeing seen as the biggest benefit (52%).
• Nearly a quarter (24%) of people with a long-term health condition feared that physical activity would make their health issues worse and two in five (44%) would like more help and advice on how to be more active.

The survey of over 1,000 adults also revealed that people with long standing health concerns feel they face some unique barriers.
• Over a third of people (36%) cited lack of energy as the main barrier to increasing physical activity, two in five (40%) reported that pain caused by their health condition prevented them from increasing the amount of physical activity they do.
• Over a quarter (28%) of people with a long-term health condition reported that the unpredictable nature of their condition made it hard to commit to a routine.

We Are Undefeatable recognises these unique barriers and it is the first time a campaign has shown the emotional stories of men and women living with a variety of conditions getting active in ways that suit their needs.

Led by a collaboration of 15 leading health and social care charities, the campaign is backed with expertise, insight and National Lottery funding from Sport England, the organisation behind the award-winning This Girl Can campaign.

This includes hearing from people like Simone, 33, who was born with a congenital heart defect that led to a stroke at 19. She now tries to walk two miles every day after being encouraged by her doctor, and plays ‘Just Dance’ with her partner, which is often challenging, but always fun. Simone has seen a real improvement to her health and wellbeing.

The campaign will run across TV, radio and social media, encouraging people to visit www.weareundefeatable.co.uk and use #WeAreUndefeatable for inspiration and tips on how to get active in ways that suit them. Campaign support packs are also being distributed to every GP surgery and community pharmacy in England as part of a wider programme to support healthcare professionals to promote physical activity to their patients.

Help for those with long-term health problems to be active