WHAT a difference a walk makes. That was the message from health experts in Blackpool after it was revealed Britain has one of the most inactive populations in the world.
According to the World Health Authority, 63.3 per cent of the UK population fails to meet the recommended levels of physical activity – increasing their risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
In Blackpool, 55.7 per cent of adults do not take part in any sport or physically active recreation. It costs the primary care trust more than £2m every year to deal with problems caused by lack of exercise.
The Chief Medical Officer for England recommends adults aged 19 to 64 take part in at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity activity every week.
And Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health for Blackpool, said getting more active could be simple and there were many opportunities in the resort for walking, cycling, swimming and exercise at the three council-run leisure centres.
He said: “Breaking the time down into 10-minute bursts, building up towards 30 minutes each day makes it easier to do.
“Moderate activity means moving enough to make you breathe harder than usual and increase heart rate, but still able to talk.”
Blackpool personal trainer Richard Knock said he was not surprised by the figures and the current economic climate was contributing.
He added: “These days we have hundreds of TV channels to watch, and apps on your phone to order food – everything is minimal effort.”
But he said activities like walking and cycling were cheap, fun and easy for the whole family to do.
David King, operations manager at De Vere Village Heron’s Reach health and fitness in Blackpool, said his club tried to make fitness fun and educational.
He said: “Working with our members it is obvious many people have psychological barriers and pre-conceived ideas about exercise and the possible benefits.
It is essential people are educated in more practical terms, and enticed into exercise using a variety of fun activities which would appeal to a wider range of the population.”