A third of all Brits admit to being left gasping for air – after walking up a flight of stairs, a study has found.
Researchers revealed the average adult will be left feeling breathless six times a week, often as a result of ‘light-to-moderate’ exercise.
Four in 10 have had to take a breather after running for a bus while one quarter get out of breath during sex.
Another 16 per cent admit playing with a child is enough to leave them puffed out and nearly one in 10 struggle to pick something up off the floor without needing to catch their breath afterwards.
More than a fifth of employees have even felt light-headed during the course of a workday, when the pressure and stress became too much.
Mike McKevitt, Director of Patient Services for the British Lung Foundation, said: “It’s worrying that so many people found themselves out of breath performing simple actions.
“Breathlessness doing everyday tasks could be a symptom of lung disease and is something that shouldn’t be ignored.
“There are many people in the UK who may have a lung disease but do not have a diagnosis – who feel breathless daily – but have not been to the doctors.
“Even though more than four in 10 people think they’re fit and healthy, you can see from the results this may not be the case.
“If you’re breathless doing every day tasks that’s not right. Lung health is so important to our overall wellbeing.”
The British Lung Foundation wants to encourage people to take their simple online breath test to see if they might need to see a GP.
The study, of 2,000 adults, found more than 25 per cent exercise less than once a week, with just one quarter saying they’d be comfortable to play a game of football or netball at their current level of fitness.
Worryingly, a third of the population say they wouldn’t be able to run a mile ‘if their life depended on it.’
One in four Brits has even had a friend or colleague comment on them being completely out of breath after a moderate amount of exertion.
And after running out of steam, it takes an average of 38 seconds to get it back – with one in 20 adults needing more than two minutes to collect themselves.
It also emerged that while 44 per cent of respondents believe their current level of fitness has a negative impact on their lives, there are myriad excuses as to why they haven’t done anything about it.
Fifteen per cent say they have an injury that stops them from doing any exercise, and the same amount find they’re always too tired to work out.
And a tenth enjoy a sedentary life too much to get up and do some exercise to improve their lung health.
McKevitt added: “We shouldn’t be getting out of breath when playing with our children. That’s a warning sign that you should think seriously about getting advice.
“No matter your circumstances, it’s possible to make yourself a little bit fitter and your lungs a little bit healthier.
“Small changes like walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift or getting off the bus a stop early can make a real difference.”
To take the British Lung Foundation online breath test visit: www.blf.org.uk/breathtest.
Participants are asked to answer ten questions based around the Medical Research Council breathlessness scale.
This test will help people decide if they need to see a GP. The aim is to reassure people who don’t have a problem and guide those with significant breathlessness to make an appointment with their GP.