Local Authorities urgently need to put in place solutions to tackle the ‘physical inactivity epidemic’, walking and cycling charity says.
Public Health England (PHE) have found over 6.3 million adults (41%) aged 40 to 60 do not achieve 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month.
The health body also discovered people in the UK are 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s and on average walk 15 miles less a year than 2 decades ago.
They described this as a ‘physical inactivity epidemic’.
Jason Torrance, England policy director at Sustrans, a walking and cycling charity, welcomed the PHE’s report as ‘a much-needed call to action’ for Government to prioritise investment in cycling and walking.
Mr Torrance said this would help build support for Local Authorities ‘who urgently need to put in place solutions to tackle the inactivity crisis.’
‘Increasing investment in cycling and walking that helps local authorities deliver the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy must be a priority for Government,’ he continued.
‘Liveable neighbourhoods with proper cycling and walking infrastructure will enable people to embed walking and cycling into their everyday routine and help fight the physical inactivity epidemic this country currently faces.’
PHE have launched a new physical activity campaign called One You in order to encourage adults to build 10 minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health.
This includes a new Active 10 app which allows the user to see how much brisk walking they are doing each day.
The current ‘physical inactivity epidemic’ — as the PHE describes it — among adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK and is costing the NHS over £0.9bn per year.
Taking at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%. It can also lead to health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%).
‘I know first hand that juggling the priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat,’ said Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE.
‘Walking to the shops instead of driving or going for a brisk 10 minute walk on your lunch break each day can add many healthy years to your life. The Active 10 app is a free and easy way to help anyone build more brisk walking into their daily routine.’