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One in five in Suffolk fail to walk for just 30 minutes a month

PUBLISHED: 06:15 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:06 06 August 2019

The number of people walking in the county has dipped Picture: GETTY IMAGES/I STOCKPHOTO/ GRAHAM OLIVER

The number of people walking in the county has dipped Picture: GETTY IMAGES/I STOCKPHOTO/ GRAHAM OLIVER

Graham Oliver

One in five people in Suffolk do not walk for 30 minutes once a month, shocking figures have revealed.

Data from the Department of Transport, based on figures from the National Travel Survey and Active Lives Survey, show that the percentage of people who said they walked at least once a month in Suffolk dropped from 80.6% in 2016/17 to 78.5% in 2017/18.

However, cycling is on the rise, with the number of people who got on their bikes at least once a month increasing across the county from 20.3% in 2016/17 to 20.7% in 2018/19 - with almost every district in Suffolk showing an improvement over the past year.

Suffolk Coastal (now part of East Suffolk Council) showed the biggest improvement of almost 4%, putting it top of the districts for cycling at least once a month.

What are the benefits of getting regular exercise?

Rob Fawcett, from the Access Community Trust, organises the Lowestoft parkrun and keeping active - by walking, cycling and running - can reduce the risk of a host of health conditions, prevent early deaths and provide huge social benefits.

"It is great for the body and the mind," he said.

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"It helps with the basics such as weight loss, the prevention of cardiovascular problems and diabetes but also benefits the pulmonary system and gives you stronger muscles.

Parkrun organiser Rob Fawcett, from the Access Community Trust Picture: James BassParkrun organiser Rob Fawcett, from the Access Community Trust Picture: James Bass

"Then there are things that are not physical, the benefits of social inclusion it brings.

"There is an awful lot of people out there where it is the highlight of their week. Every parkrun is really a walk, run or jog - we are actively seeking more walkers to take part."

'Take the stairs instead of the lift'

James Reeder, cabinet member for public health and prevention at Suffolk County Council, said: "Suffolk is fortunate to have played host to large-scale sporting events in recent years, such as the Women's Tour as well as mass participation events like the Walking festival and Women on Wheels cycle events.

James Reeder, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILJames Reeder, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

"We know that physical activity has significant benefits for both physical and mental health and increasing activity at any stage of your life can bring huge benefits.

"The easiest way to move more is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around, or taking the stairs instead of the lift."

For more information on parkrun and to find an event near you, visit their website.

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