A poll for the walking charity the Ramblers suggests 25% of adults walk for no more than one hour each week.
The Ramblers, which is promoting a “Get Walking Week” from 4-11 May, said there was already research showing that two thirds of adults in the UK took too little exercise.
It said the survey backed that up.
The YouGov survey, which polled 2,000 adults across Britain about walking habits, found 25% of adults walk for no more than one hour each week and another 43% reported walking for less than two hours a week.
Government guidelines suggest people should do 150 minutes of “moderate” physical activity each week.
The survey asked people about the total amount of walking they did, including trips to school, work or the shops.
The West Midlands was revealed as the worst region for weekly walking, with more than a third of adults (34%) walking for no more than an hour a week.
The East Midlands came out top, with 59% of people doing enough to satisfy recommended physical activity guidelines.
Despite the low levels of walking reported, nearly all of those surveyed – 93% – agreed walking was a good form of exercise.
The Ramblers charity, which promotes walking for health and pleasure, wants to get people to go on walks of five miles or less. It is running free walks led by guides.
Benedict Southworth, chief executive of the Ramblers, said: “Walking is one of the most accessible and achievable ways to truly conquer this inactivity pandemic in Britain and we need to get started now.”
Public health minister Anna Soubry, said walking was “one of the best ways to keep healthy”, and that she supported the initiative.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) advises that moderate intensity aerobic activity is the most effective type of activity for maintaining a healthy heart.
Aerobic activity is a repetitive rhythmic exercise involving large muscle groups such as legs, shoulders and arms.
Moderate intensity activities should make a person feel warmer, breathe harder and make their heart beat faster than usual. But, they should still be able to have a conversation.
The BHF also advises 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week.
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director for the BHF, said: “Walking is the easiest and cheapest way to keep fit. You can walk anytime, anywhere and you don’t need any equipment.”
Dr Stuart Biddle, professor of physical activity and health at Loughborough University, said there was long-standing evidence to support a link between walking and mental health benefits.
Walking can elevate a person’s mood, lessen feelings of depression and allow a person to think more clearly, he said.
“If you feel you are doing something worthwhile rather than sitting around doing nothing and watching junk on the telly [walking can make] you feel a bit better about yourself and boost your self-esteem,” he added.
Dr Biddle said 30 minutes of brisk walking each day would bring substantial health benefits.
2013 Miles in 2013
I am doing my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.
The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles and in April I completed 192.1 miles. If you can please spare £7.85 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.
The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.
2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules
The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:
- All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
- I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment
To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.