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Two million supported to walk and cycle

5 March 2013

With Climate Week now in full swing and the sun shining across large parts of the country, never has there been a better time to leave the car at home and pound the pavement instead. Not only will you be getting more exercise – you’ll also be helping the environment too.

Jess Beaton

Sustrans’ Jess Beaton

In this guest blog, Jess Beaton of leading UK charity Sustrans explains how keeping fit needn’t be expensive thanks to regular walking and cycling.

Read on to hear how more than two million people have been helped through the BIG-funded Active Travel Consortium. It has empowered communities all over England to change their travel habits and improve their health.

It’s a jungle out there. Open the paper or flick on the nightly news and you can’t avoid being bombarded with some piece of health-related advice.

“Ten minutes of exercise is better than an hour,” “walking is better than running,” “eating chocolate helps you lose weight,” “a good night’s sleep is the key to a flat stomach.” And on it goes.

With so much advice in the public realm, and so much of it contradictory, it’s no wonder the majority of people feel they don’t have the time to get their daily requirement of exercise.

Most people don’t even have time to sort through the avalanche of advice to find out what that requirement might actually be.

The truth is the answer is simple. Keeping active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. In fact, you can easily keep fit without taking up any extra time in your already crammed daily schedule. It might even save you time.

The answer is walking and cycling. It’s about choosing to travel in a healthy way and reaping the benefits from it.

Mother and son cycling

Keeping active and healthy needn’t be time consuming

Instead of jumping in your car for the commute to work and negotiating traffic jams and roads rage, ride your bike and get to work feeling refreshed, having done your fill of exercise for the day and having probably made it into the office in record time.

Cycling and walking as part of your daily routine can save time, money, the environment and most importantly, your health. It’s a no brainer.

This week transport charity Sustrans is celebrating with its partners – Living Streets, Ramblers, CTC and the London Cycling Campaign – because together, and thanks to a BIG grant of over £20m and 4,000 dedicated volunteers, over the last four years we have given two million people the support they need to walk and cycle.

That’s two million people living healthier, more active lives – thanks to the Active Travel Consortium. Read the Travel Actively review (PDF) for more facts and figures.

The obesity epidemic is plaguing Britain, affecting more and more people each year. Our lives are getting busier, our diets worse. It’s the first time in history that parents are expected to outlive their children. We have to become more physically active and we have to do it in the easiest, most effective and least time consuming way possible.

It’s time we cut through the white noise and took just one piece of advice on our health – we should all walk and cycle more often.

Jess Beaton is Press Officer at Sustrans

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