Top 18 activities those with a physical condition struggle to do – including sleep

Millions of Brits are unable to exercise, sleep or endure long journeys in the car – due to constant and debilitating pain.

A study of 2,000 adults found 52 per cent report some kind of regular, physical pain, such as back troubles, arthritis or skin conditions.

Of these, 35 per cent can’t comfortably exercise, and three in 10 find it impossible to get a full night’s sleep. 

Even walking up the stairs proves to be an almost impossible task for 23 per cent, while a fifth need help getting up off the sofa.

 Being away from home, attending long meetings and enjoying a soak in the bath are also a major feat for many.

Gareth Lucy, spokesman for hygiene and health company Essity, which commissioned the research. said: “It is staggering how many people feel unable to do everyday tasks such as climbing the stairs or even walking, due to the pain they are experiencing.

 “Our research revealed 18 different kinds of activities – some relatively stationary such as reading or watching TV – which can be difficult for some.

“We were keen to highlight these issues to help raise awareness and develop a level of understanding from those that might not realise what others are going through.”

“I’m fine” – the common response

 The research found 44 per cent of those with a condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes or peri-menopause are affected daily, and the ‘average’ sufferer loses up to three nights’ sleep every week.

 Other tasks considered a real challenge for some include driving, eating, talking to others and socialising.

And 56 per cent admit they would rather not talk to others about their physical condition, with a fifth of those in employment refusing to let on to the boss or colleagues.

 Saying “I’m fine” to others, even when the opposite might be true, is a common occurrence for 86 per cent of sufferers.

Key reasons for remaining tight lipped include wanting to forget about things as much as possible (45 per cent), being thought of as incapable (41 per cent) and being treated differently (38 per cent).

18 activities those with a physical condition struggle to do

  1. Exercise
  2. Sleep
  3. Long journeys
  4. Sit on the floor
  5. Walk up the stairs
  6. Movement in general
  7. Get up off the sofa
  8. Be away from home for long periods of time
  9. Attend long meetings
  10. Have a bath
  11. Ride a bike
  12. Socialise
  13. Go to work
  14. Drive
  15. Talk to others
  16. Eat
  17. Watch TV
  18. Read 


Chris Price