15 / 10 / 2013 11am
The Walking Works report, is an extensive overview of the mounting research into the life-threatening consequences of inactivity, which concludes that walking is the answer.
Physical inactivity has shown to be the principle cause of a large number of common health conditions, including:
- 10 per cent of health disease
- 13 per cent of type 2 diabetes
- 18 per cent of colon cancer
- 17 per cent of breast cancer
The report highlights the severe impacts of inactivity and shows that if everyone in England did enough walking to meet recommended guidelines it could prevent:
- 36,815 people dying prematurely
- 294,730 cases of diabetes
- 12,061 people going to hospital for emergency coronary heart disease treatment
Walking is a free, low-impact activity that requires no special equipment and almost everyone can do it, wherever they are. The report demonstrates that although this solution is simple, it can make an enormous difference to the nation’s health and wellbeing.
Walking for Health is already at the forefront of getting more people walking. Supporting 600 local schemes across England to organise short, free walks led by friendly, trained walk leaders. With evidence showing that walking is a cost-effective way for local authorities and healthcare providers to increase physical activity, the report highlights the need for continued and further investment in initiatives like Walking for Health to help get the nation active.
“We’re facing a serious crisis of inactivity, but there is a simple solution," says Benedict Southworth, Chief Executive of the Ramblers. "Walking for Health is already changing people’s lives in such a positive way, and we need to see greater investment in initiatives which support and promote walking as the most accessible and affordable way for people to get active.”
“It is sad that so many lives are put at risk each year due to inactivity," says Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support. "For cancer patients, being active can help manage some of the debilitating consequences of treatment and can even help reduce the chance of some cancers returning."
Kevin Fenton, director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England said that "reading the report brings us closer to understanding the kind of societal shift that needs to happen before we truly combat the pandemic of inactivity. The figures are alarming and show that we need to take action now. The good news is that there are steps we can take to help people get more active: life-changing steps."