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YHA Ramblers urges govt to invest in walking schemes
    10/04/2013 09:44

Ramblers urges govt to invest in walking schemes

Britain's leading walking charity is urging the government to do more to persuade people to get off the sofa and take more exercise in the countryside.

The charity says that sedentary lifestyles are cutting years off people's lives and costing the taxpayer millions through additional NHS treatment of related illnesses. Instead, it wants to see the government invest in walking schemes that will help people explore their local countryside and get fitter in the process. It says the cost to NHS services from ill-health through inactivity is £10 billion, and cites studies which suggest that every £1 spent on health-walk schemes saves the local NHS £7.

It states: "The Ramblers are calling on councils to recognise the value of walking by investing in the places we walk to enable more people to walk to school and work, increasing access to local green spaces and supporting projects which help people to get walking.
"Getting everyone more active is vital for our health but it's also good for the public purse."

The Ramblers run thousands of organised walks each year, and is increasing its efforts to get people active with Get Walking Week in May. The organisation is also looking to help people engage with the local countryside and develop walking as a regular hobby, with a 12-week programme where individuals can set their own walking goals and build up their distances steadily over time.

Nicky Philpott, Ramblers director of campaigns and policy, told Grough magazine: "We know that one of the most accessible ways for people to get active is through walking.

"With responsibility for promoting public health moving to councils now is the opportunity to tie together local transport, planning and health policy to create an environment where we all walk more."

Walking breaks are a great way to explore the countryside and improve your health, and YHA has a range of hostels that allow you to turn a bit of exercise into an exciting and enjoyable family weekend away.

By Harry Hosteller

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