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Walking and health

What we say

Human beings are designed to be active, but the average UK adult spends around nine hours a day sitting.

Physical inactivity is a public health crisis. It is linked to over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, and responsible for one in six deaths in the UK.

Increased life expectancy is not matched by the number of healthy life years lived – some of us can expect to live up to two decades in ill health.

As our ageing population increases, so too will the burden on our already stretched health services.

What we want

Any physical activity is better than none and walking is the easiest way to get started.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says walking ‘is the most likely way all adults can achieve the recommended levels of physical activity’.

We need our governments to start valuing walking as a form of transport. In response to this we want to see all transport projects assessed against their contribution to wider public policy objectives: to improve public health, improve air quality and decarbonise the transport sector.

It is time for our national and local governments to ‘decide to provide’ for more active and sustainable modes of transport.

Healthier streets are safe and welcoming for everyone, especially the very young, older and less able pedestrians.

Low traffic neighbourhoods are a great way to re-prioritise walking and cycling journeys – and healthy lifestyles and communities – at everybody’s doorstep.

The roll out of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans provides the opportunity to map walking networks and predict people’s propensity to walk.



Did you know?

1 in 6

premature deaths in the UK attributed to physical inactivity.


working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety every year.

Physically active people report being happier, less anxious, and have a stronger sense of social integration - and activity can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild depression.


of adults in England agree we should be reducing motor vehicle use to improve our health.