A recent report published by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson ("At least five a week; evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health") states that physical activity not only contributes to well being but is also essential for good health. The report goes on to say that people who are physically active reduce their risk of developing major chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease by up to 50%.
Scientific research shows that for general health, a total of at least 30 minutes a day of at least moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days of the week reduces the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and some cancers, and it can also improve physical well being.
The recommendations in the report state that the 30 minutes of physical activity necessary for health benefit can be built up in bouts of 10 minutes or more i.e. 3 brisk 10 minute walks. For children and young people, a total of at least 60 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity each day is needed.
Employers have been identified as a group with potential areas for action. The report recommends that they should encourage active travel to work and ensure that appropriate facilities such as showers or secure cycle storage are available for their staff. The report also suggests that employers should provide opportunities for activity breaks for their staff and for exercise and sports and encourage use of stairs! Furthermore, businesses in the community should set role models and use corporate social responsibility programmes to help promote active lifestyles.
A full copy of the report can be found on the Department of Health website, www.dh.gov.uk
The commute to work is an ideal opportunity to get more active; if you can, why not walk or cycle to work instead of using the car? There are lots of ways you can make your journey to work a more active one. This will not only benefit your health but by leaving your car at home, you are also helping to reduce congestion and air pollution.
The remainder of the travel choices page is currently under construction. It will provide information on different modes of travel and will offer advice on how to find out more about issues such as walking and cycling within the South and West London area.
Please take a look at the new Travel Awareness and Travel Plan pages in this section, which have recently been updated.