A Bupa health study has revealed some worrying statistics about our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and to combat this, the UK-based healthcare organisation has issued a global challenge aimed at getting people back on their feet – literally.
Bupa (formerly the British United Provident Association) has expressed concern over the decline of walking around the world. A Bupa Health Pulse survey, which spanned 13 countries and more than 13 000 individuals, revealed that fewer children are walking or cycling to school. Meanwhile, more people are relying on their cars to travel significantly shorter distances.
When you consider the fact that walking is a highly accessible, inexpensive and environmentally friendly form of physical exercise, it’s surprising to hear that so many people avoid it on a daily basis. According to Bupa, brisk walking is an excellent form of exercise with numerous health benefits – a mere 15 minutes of brisk walking each day can add years to your life. Regular walking has also been proven to reduce the risk of heart risk, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Last year, the Bupa health and wellbeing challenge, titled “Shall We Dance?” encouraged people around the world to get physically and mentally active by dancing. This year’s theme was walking. In September 2012, Bupa started a health initiative that encouraged people across the globe to get on their feet and get going. The Global Challenge, dubbed “Walking to a Well World”, promoted walking, spread information about the health benefits associated with walking and encouraged people to make it a part of their daily lives. During September 2012, Bupa organised more than 450 community walking events in 16 countries around the world.
The Bupa Global Challenge was met with enthusiasm the world over. Famous athletes like Olympic star Greg Rutherford also did their bit to promote the Bupa healthy walking initiative; Mr Rutherford took to the streets and performed various “silly walks” across the length of Westminster Bridge in London. The stunt was filmed and released via social media, creating a buzz around Bupa’s worldwide walking promotion.
The Next Step
Going forward, the Bupa health initiative is appealing to parents, teachers, businesses and Governments to focus more on creating and maintaining a safe, healthy environment for walkers and pedestrians to get active and stay active on a regular basis. Children and adults of all ages can easily benefit from regular, brisk walking.
Nicky Warner is an avid blogger and fitness enthusiast; the latest clinical research shows that regular walking and jogging offers a wide range of health benefits, and this is one reason Nicky is keen to stick to her regular exercise regime this winter.