It is nearly impossible to look at the health news without finding constant references to the obesity epidemic. With good reason. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet reveals that obesity levels has nearly doubled for men and women over the last 20 years whilst the average British person will now sit for 8.9 hours each day (on average).
Therefore, any centralised initiatives to increase physical activity should be welcomed and over Easter, the government has unveiled proposals to encourage people to cycle and walk more in England.
A consultation asking for views on encouraging more walking and cycling began on Sunday. The strategy – part of a £300m commitment – has a clear ambition that by 2040 getting around by bike or on foot will be the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey. It includes ambitions to double cycling, reverse the decline in walking, reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured and increase the number of children walking to school.
But British Cycling and CTC, the national charity, have called for the objectives and funding proposals in the draft strategy to be strengthened. They point to the parliamentary Get Britain Cycling report, which called for investment in cycling of at least £10 per person annually, rising to £20, in order to boost cycle use to 10% of trips by 2025, and to 25% by 2050.
Chris Boardman, the 1992 individual pursuit Olympic champion and policy adviser for British Cycling, said “far more ambition” was needed if Britain was to create a cycling and walking culture to rival countries like Denmark and Holland.
Getting on your bike is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine because it’s also a form of transport. Cycling also:
- saves you money
- gets you fit
- helps the environment
It’s a low-impact type of exercise, so it’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities. But it still helps to get employees into shape.
The consultation ends on May 23.