2 October 2013
Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support launch Walking Works –calling for action to combat physical inactivity
The Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support launch Walking Works, an extensive overview of the mounting research into the life-threatening consequences of inactivity, which concludes that walking is the answer. Supported by Public Health England, this new report demonstrates walking is the solution to getting the nation active, and shows how England’s largest network of health walk schemes, Walking for Health, is already changing people’s lives.
In the most extensive overview of its kind, the Ramblers and Macmillan have compiled research and evidence that shows why we need to take action now to combat the inactivity epidemic.
The report highlights the severe impacts of inactivity:
Physical inactivity tops smoking as one of the nation’s biggest health problems and is one of the top four global killers
It is responsible for 10.5% of heart disease cases, 13% of type 2 diabetes cases and 17% of premature deaths in the UK
Being inactive shortens lifespan by 3–5 years
The associated health problems of inactivity in England are costing the economy up to £10 billion a year
If everyone in England did enough walking to meet recommended guidelines¹ 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
The report also highlights how physical activity can help prevent certain type of cancers, help manage the consequences of cancer treatment, and even help reduce the chance of some cancers returning.
The Ramblers and Macmillan know walking is the simple solution to getting people active. Walking is a free, low-impact activity that requires no special equipment and almost everyone can do it, wherever they are. The Walking Works 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, they are helping everyone – including those affected by cancer – discover just how good walking can make you feel. 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.
Benedict Southworth, Chief Executive of the Ramblers said: “We’re facing a serious crisis of inactivity, but there is a simple solution, Walking for Health is already changing people’s lives in such a positive way, and it has the potential to change many more. 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: “It is sad that so many lives are put at risk each year due to inactivity. 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. Healthcare professionals need to ensure that they prescribe physical activity, such as walking, as an intrinsic part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Download a media version of the report or view the full version from www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkingworks
For more information:
Ramblers press office 0207 339 8531 or 07584 848083 (out of hours) firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ramblers.org.uk
Or contact Cora Bauer at Macmillan Cancer Support on 0207 091 2016 or at email@example.com
Follow us: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/healthywalks and Twitter https://twitter.com/healthywalks
Notes to editors:
1. The Chief Medical Officer guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.
The Walking Works report was commissioned by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support to provide an extensive overview of the variety of evidence and research that supports the multiple health benefits of walking.
Walking for Health is England’s largest network of health walk schemes, offering free short walks across the country to help people lead a more active lifestyle. They’ve done this with great success for over 10 years, and in this time improved the lives of thousands of people. Now the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support are working together to ensure Walking for Health gets even more people active and healthy in the years to come.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
More than one in three of us will get cancer. For most of us it will be the toughest fight we ever face. And the feelings of isolation and loneliness that so many people experience make it even harder.
But you don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way.
We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you’re entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The community there for you online, any time. The supporters who make it all possible.
Together, we are all Macmillan Cancer Support.
About the Ramblers
The Ramblers is at the heart of walking in Britain; working to promote walking and protect the places where people walk. For over 75 years it has helped build and protect Britain’s 140,000 mile long path network, it runs over 45,000 walks a year, and campaigns for better walking routes and more walking opportunities