The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recently advised that cycling and walking should be the norm for all short journeys. They have stated that people should shun their cars if a trip could be done in 15 or 20 minutes on foot or bike. It was said that this approach is needed to combat the “silent epidemic” of inactivity posing a risk to health.
NICE have called on the councils to do more to make walking and cycling an easier option for people. They have argued that councils should look to introduce bicycle-hire schemes, car-free event and better cycle-route signalling and maps. Further recommendations are to highlight walking routes more effectively and put up signposts indicating the distance and time it takes to walk to local destinations. Schools and workplaces should also be encouraged to get more pupils and staff cycling and walking.
The statistics relating to our nation’s inactivity are scary. The latest figures suggest that six in 10 men and seven in 10 women are not doing the recommended levels of physical activity. Only 11 minutes a day on average is spent cycling or walking. These poor levels of cycling and walking mean that we are falling well behind other European countries such as the Netherlands.
Dr John Middleton, vice-president of the Faculty of Public Health said that cycling and walking need to be made an “easy option.” He stated that: “It’s not necessarily about spending more money on transport, but investing existing money in our health by rethinking the way in which budgets are being spent.”
Councils need to do more to make walking and cycling an easier option to help to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.
I am still in awe at the feat just completed by Scottish Doctor Andrew Murray who has just run 7 ultra marathons on 7 Continents in 7 days. Absolutely incredible. As the Physical activity Champion for the Scottish Government, his goal is to encourage the Nation to be more active. If his achievement doesn't encourage you to get out and walk or go for a ride on your bike, then nothing will.