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. Followers can hear from others who have become more active through the ups and downs of living with their condition.
- Over one in four (15m) people in England live with a long-term health condition, such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis and Parkinson’s, this figure is set to rise to 18 million by 2025 .
- New research shows that over two thirds (69%) of people with long-term health conditions say they would like to be more active. Despite this, they are twice as likely to be inactive.
- 15 leading charities have come together for the first time, with support from Sport England and the National Lottery, to launch the inspirational ‘We Are Undefeatable’ campaign to inspire people living with health conditions to get active in a way that’s right for them.
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.
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. Para Dance UK is happy to support this unique campaign in showing the opportunities that dance can offer to the wider community be it for fun, creative or competitive reasons and we happy to see that one such story being used as part of the Campaign is that of one of our Dancers Rebecca Fowler, from our group in Birmingham Freewheelin.
Rebecca was training as a physiotherapist when she was diagnosed with her Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As her condition progressed, she found it increasingly hard to be active – and impossible to do the job she’d trained for. Joining her Para Dance Group helped her turn how she felt about things around. Dance helped her manage the depression that came about after her diagnosis, and has become one of the activities she loves the most.
Rebecca said “there’s no better way to get moving than dancing. Being able to let loose and have fun, no matter the style of dance. It’s completely changed my life, and I always comes away from the sessions feeling much better than when I started it”. You can see Rebecca story on the site https://weareundefeatable.co.uk/our-stories/rebecca
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.
Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association and lead campaign spokesperson said:
“Whether you lose your breath from playing with the grandchildren or going for a brisk walk, this campaign is about enjoying being active on the good days and getting through the bad. As this survey shows, people want to be more active because it improves their mood and wellbeing. I’m hugely excited about helping more people living with a health condition feel that physical activity is possible, with lots of ideas about the ways that you can keep moving.”
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.
“This campaign forms part of a longer-term drive by Sport England to change cultural and social norms around long-term health conditions and physical activity. We will continue to work with everyone from healthcare professionals, coaches, governing bodies, gym operators and even town planners to ensure that people with long-term health conditions feel able and supported to get active or play sport in whatever way suits them.”
Patrick McGeough , Chief Executive of Para Dance UK said;
“We welcome this new campaign and look forward to actively supporting its development in showing the opportunity that Dance can bring to the physical and emotional wellbeing of the wider disability community. “
“We are also delighted that the campaign shows a wider range of activity including dance and the positive experiences that all the individuals have being active. We look forward to this campaigns approach in influencing disabled and non-disabled people alike to look at all areas of activity and have the opportunity to be active. The campaign also gives us all a unique opportunity to really show what opportunities dance can offer than just movement to music or just one style of dance. Dance is such a wide and interesting activity and is often taken for granted or misinterpreted, and we look forward to showing experiences like Rebecca’s that dance can have an impact and that if you want to dance like celebrities on Strictly Come Dancing, do Zumba or Bollywood dancing or want to do the Robot then why not? We want the Dance community to see that opening your style to the disability community as the norm to being active not just something good because you read this campaign.”
The charities behind the campaign include: Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma UK, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, British Lung Foundation, British Red Cross, Diabetes UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal Voluntary Service, Stroke Association and Versus Arthritis.
For more information on the campaign please go to www.weareundefeatable.co.uk if you would like to know more about being active through Dance then please get in contact with Para Dance UK www.paradance.org.uk
 Department of Health (2012). Report. Long-term conditions compendium of Information: 3rd edition
 Sport England Active Lives Survey November 17/18 shows that 42% of people with a long-term health condition are inactive, compared to 21% of non-disabled people.
 The UK Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines Start Active Stay Active 2011.
 DJS Research in 2019 surveyed 1,303 people aged 18+ in England living with long-term health conditions