Walking to boost health

Members of Blackpool Victoria Hospital Walking Club on one of their monthly outings.
Members of Blackpool Victoria Hospital Walking Club on one of their monthly outings.
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A Blackpool walking club is determined to find new ways to encourage people to get off the sofa in a bid to improve their health.

As new research highlights physical inactivity as one of the country’s main health problems, members of the Blackpool Victoria Hospital Walking Club launched an appeal for new members.

The Walking Works report, published this week by The Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support, found that being more active could save 37,000 lives a year in the UK.

Bob Bradley, chairman of the Blackpool Victoria Hospital Walking Club, said people often overlook the health benefits of taking a stroll.

He said: “We want to make it more interesting for people who can’t manage a seven- or eight-mile walk.

“We look forward to seeing new members.”

Part of the problem the group has is that many people feel they are not fit enough to manage some of the longer walks.

Mr Bradley said by organising shorter walks which allow people to explore sites of interest the group hopes to get more people active.

He added: “One of the reasons I walk is because I had a heart attack back in 2005.”

He said walking helped play a key role in improving his health. The Walking Works report found that one in three adults do less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity – such as walking – each week.

Medical experts recommend adults spend at least 150 minutes a week getting active.

In the report, Public Health England director of health and wellbeing Kevin Fenton said: “Not only does walking combat serious health issues, but it improves mental health and makes people happier.

“Four out of 10 men and five out of 10 women are still not active enough to benefit their health.

“This increases the risk of serious illnesses like type two diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and makes it more likely that people will be overweight or obese.”

The walking club meets on the second Sunday of each month, and then again for a mid-month walk on Wednesdays. For more information about the walking club, contact Bob Bradley on (01253) 346384.

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