“Prioritise active travel”, urges Sustrans as Gov paper shows 41% barely exercise

Sustrans’ Policy Director Jason Torrance has called on the Government to prioritise active travel in the wake of findings showing 4 in ten adults walk less than ten minutes a day.

Representing some 6.3 million 40 to 60 year olds, the findings of Public Health England’s ‘Everybody Active Every Day’ paper reveal that the UK is 20% less active now than it was in the 1960s and on average walk 15 miles less than 20 years ago.

Taking at least 1 brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%. A 10 minute walk can contribute to meeting the CMO’s physical activity guidance of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. This can 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%).

“The findings from “Everybody Active Every Day” is a much-needed call to action for Government to prioritise investment in cycling and walking as part of wider support for Local Authorities who urgently need to put in place solutions to tackle the inactivity crisis,” said Torrance.

“Increasing investment in cycling and walking that helps local authorities deliver the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy must be a priority for Government. 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.”

At the present rate, the UK’s physical inactivity is costing the NHS over 0.9 billion annually and is attributed to one in six deaths.

Public Health England has now launched an app dubbed Active 10, which it hopes will encourage people to track their daily exercise patterns to ensure they’re getting an adequate work out.

Want to read more about cycling’s health benefits and the potential for economic gain if active travel is catered for? Head over to our data library here.