Walking more 'would save thousands' of lives in the UK

 
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Tens of thousands of lives could be saved each year in the UK if people got off the sofa and stretched their legs more, say charities.

The "Walking Works" report by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support said walking was a free activity which could transform people's health.

Being physically active decreases the odds of heart problems and stroke.

But it also makes a difference in other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and many cancers.

Last week a British Medical Journal study showed that exercise was as good a medicine as pills for some conditions including heart diseases and another study showed walking at least an hour a day significantly cut the risk of breast cancer.

What is moderate physical activity?

UK chief medical officers recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.

That's enough to make the heart beat faster while still being able to readily have a conversation.

It includes walking, cycling and gardening.

The latest report said that if everyone, in England alone, did the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise every week it would:

  • Save 37,000 lives each year
  • Prevent 6,700 cases of breast cancer
  • Stop 4,700 people getting colorectal cancer
  • Lead to nearly 300,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes.

The two charities run the Walking for Health programme in an attempt to get more people up on their feet.

Benedict Southworth, chief executive of the Ramblers, said: "We're facing a serious crisis of inactivity, but there is a simple solution,

"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."

Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "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.

"Inactivity is a nationwide epidemic that must be tackled now before it is too late."

Public Health England said inactivity had "life threatening consequences".

Its director of health and wellbeing Prof Kevin Fenton said: "Inactivity increases the risk of serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

"It makes it more likely that people will be overweight or obese. Supporting people to get active through walking can be a major part of the solution."

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 344.

    At 52 (kid is now able to stay home alone while I walk at 6am...) I do 3-5 power walks of 50 minutes each per week. It's only been 5 weeks, but I feel better and do make an effort to eat less. I hope I drop those 20 kgs like my sister did doing the same thing! Just trying to live longer and healthier. You have to take matters into your own hands at one point. But I do miss late nite TV...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 343.

    339.Sally the Rothbardian

    Going into it, I am coming from this perspective:
    http://libertariananswers.com/what-should-we-do-about-the-tragedy-of-the-commons/
    ===
    Thx. I'll view it later, as I'm off for a walk up the hill, where I'll pick some blackberries. BTW, they grow on common land that's been there from way before anyone can remember. Can't image why it's still there ;-)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 342.

    294.Sally the Rothbardian

    "You are either free or you are not"

    In that case no-one can be free. I am not free to kill or torture you. If I am, you do not have freedom. If I'm not free to do so, I'm not free. There have to be constraints on individual freedoms to infringe the freedoms of others. Those constraints need agreeing, codifying, enforcing and arbitrating. That's called government.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 341.

    Isn't this just intuitive? How much did this pointless report cost to produce? How much did this story cost the taxpayer to publish? All to tell us something that everybody already knows: Exercise is good for our health. Shocker!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 340.

    Our urban society is too sedentary. Parents won't let their kids play outside; cars in many parts of the country are the only way to get around; but we are always in such a rush that walking four miles to work is difficult to fit into our time-poor existance.

    It's obvious walking would improve our health, but a four day week would improve our health more. Maybe we'd have time to walk then?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 339.

    322.fuzzy
    Thx. I'm listening now. I am always open to new ideas. Going into it, I am coming from this perspective:
    http://libertariananswers.com/what-should-we-do-about-the-tragedy-of-the-commons/

    332.Alaric
    Why would that be the case? Surely, road owners have a financial incentive to come to much uniformity. Local businesses who own local roads want as many customers as possible.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 338.

    Excellent. What do you do if you've got two arthritic hips?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 337.

    326.
    Margaret

    Sorry to hear about your mum. Exercise decreases the risk of illness and early death. It doesn't eliminate it. So there will still be some like her who exercise and die young and some 'couch potatoes' who reach their century.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 336.

    332.Alaric the Visigoth

    So, you'd advocate each of us negotiating our own passage through everyone else's property? a) won't that get very expensive and time consuming for anyone travelling? b) who gets to decide how that property gets allocated in the first place? c) isn't exactly conducive to economic efficiency is it?
    ===
    I can only assume you didn't view the link I posted? It's only 15mins.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 335.

    Walking has always been recommended, as has exercise. So why do we need expensive reports to tell us what is generally considered to be common sense? Or am I missing something??

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 334.

    This effort is promoting walking and not really analysing the reasons why poeple don't do it in the first place. A detailed analysis of this would be more valuable than publishing a bunch of highly speculative statistics on how many people will die sitting on their sofa. The public are less and less impressed with these sort of "do it or die" statistics and are more suceptable to honest advice

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 333.

    Personally, I don't mind if people walk or not. We all have the right to choose and all choices are provided through the various forms of information available to all. I like to walk. The UK and its people are wonderful but you have to get off the sofa to enjoy them. If you wish to retard and die early, that's your choice. Walking for charity is also a way of helping those who can't.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 332.

    "fuzzy
    I was discussing communal roads and their divisive nature they create between their users"

    So, you'd advocate each of us negotiating our own passage through everyone else's property? a) won't that get very expensive and time consuming for anyone travelling? b) who gets to decide how that property gets allocated in the first place? c) isn't exactly conducive to economic efficiency is it?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 331.

    I walk everywhere put on my backpack carry ny bottle of water Some of the areas I have to walk through are a bit on the dodgy side but I never make eye contact with anyone Glasgow has some mean streets I love walking got strong boots for winter claws to put on them in the snow but I love any kind of exercise make you feel good to be alive

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 330.

    walking is excellent exercise, especially as you get older as provides about the right strain on your joints. This however does not mean strolling with multiple stops- more walking with purpose. Having said that, any exercise is better than no exercise at all, and those with limited ability ( e.g. through arthritis) should do whatever they are able and not made to feel bad:)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 329.

    315.longshotkickdebucket
    You have strong views of Rothbard, have you read any of his books at all?

    I really comment you try his book: "For a New Liberty". The audiobook is free on iTune from the Mises Institute.

    *Fascinating BBC link though, thnx.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 328.

    314. MrGoggle
    "I'm wondering whether some people who use mobility scooters do actually NEED them."

    Nope, that's why they have the nickname "Calorie Chariots", and some of them are a serious danger to the pedestrian public too. There is some kind of sick irony in being put in hospital by one while getting the exercise the driver should be having.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 327.

    294.Sally

    'I was discussing communal roads and their divisive nature they create between their users'

    There isn't space for us to each have a personal private road. So it's either a shared road to which we subscribe and vote on the rules or a privately owned one where we pay and the owner makes the rules. I prefer the former - even with its conflicts.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 326.

    My Mum walked and cycled Monday to Saturday every week doing a post round throughout the village where we lived. She dropped dead aged 54!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 325.

    I'm lost 2.5 stone and it's staying off, gave up car, walk 6 miles to and throw work each day and Sundays is a day of the 4 hour walk sometimes more. Love it now, you have to push yourself out of the lazy ways a lot of us seem to slip into, always making excuses I was, oh it's raining! so what. I walked to Marlborough yesterday,bought 5 bags of shopping at Waitrose and got bus to Swindon hard yeah

 

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