Thursday, 5 May 2011

Free 'Get Walking Day' Event to be held on Saturday to Promote Healthy Living

Get Walking, Keep Walking Birmingham are holding a free event on Saturday 7th May 2011 for the Ramblers' Get Walking Day to promote everyday walking for everyday people. The event will take place at Sarehole Mill and Recreation grounds from 12-4pm. Everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy this beautiful site. There will be stalls with a variety of activities, and healthy lifestyle information. Birmingham Friends of the Earth will at the event, holding a stall and discussing our campaigns.

Walking is a brilliant way to get and stay healthy, and is easy to fit into everyday life. Walking is a 'lifestyle exercise' - which means you can make time for it without much change to your daily routine. Walking is the easiest, most accessible, cost effective, and enjoyable way for most people to increase their physical activity. It requires no special expertise, and no equipment other than a reasonable pair of shoes. It is generally safe for individuals with medical conditions and those who have never exercised because it is possible to start gently and increase capacity over time. Walking needs little preparation; it can happen at any time by stepping out of your front door. It can be fitted into lifestyles, such as using stairs rather than lifts and getting off the train a stop earlier. It is one of the forms of exercise that will be most appealing to women — as well as being social rather than competitive, it fits into a busy day.

Regular walking can also improve your health. Walking can burn 500-1000 calories a week by walking 6-12 miles for an average weight person, which can reduce the risk of premature death by 20-30%. Other health benefits of walking include reducing: cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and stroke), as well as ‘risk factors’ such as high blood pressure and cholesterol; cancer (particularly bowel cancer, and breast cancer in post-menopausal women); type 2 diabetes; and obesity. Walking also improves musculoskeletal health (for example osteoarthritis and lower back pain); and mental health, happiness and well-being.

The UK’s Department of Health guidelines state: For general health, adults should do 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity, on five or more days of the week. Children and young people need to exercise for at least an hour each day.

Not only does walking improve people’s health, but as a sustainable way of travelling short journeys it also helps the environment. It is integral to a large range of policies, such as social inclusion, community engagement, sustainable transport, safe routes to school, climate change, biodiversity and tackling obesity.

So now that you know what you need to do, why not find your walking shoes, come to the 'Get Walking Day' on Saturday and start walking your way to a longer, happier and healthier life?

Also, come and talk to us about our campaigns to make the streets safer for everyone who wants to walk, cycle or just enjoy their local area. As we said in our response to the Birmingham core strategy, "We agree completely that pedestrians should be “at the top of the road user hierarchy and ensure that in centres and residential areas, the public realm environment reflects this priority” . Levels of public funding should reflect this above providing extra capacity for cars, air travel or High Speed Rail."

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