Why is active travel important for health

Active Travel is a form of transport of people and sometimes goods, that only uses the physical activity of the human being for the locomotion. The most known forms of active travel are walking or cycling. 

Daily physical activity is hugely important for maintaining health  and inactivity directly contributes to one in six deaths in the UK. The recommendation from the chief medical officers (CMO) of the UK is clear: 

all adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of ten minutes or more 

all adults should undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week and, for those at risk of falls, two sessions of balance and coordination exercise a week 

all children from age 5 and young people should engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes, and up to several hours every day 

all children under 5 should be physically active daily for at least 180 minutes (3 hours), spread throughout the day 

everyone should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods

Over a quarter of adults in England report having less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. There are wide differences across the country – for example the proportion of those with dangerously sedentary lifestyles (less than 30 minutes activity per week) is 38% in Bradford compared with 17% in Cambridge.  Physical activity levels are also lower than recommended in children, with only 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged 5 to 15 meeting CMO guidelines.

Physical activity is associated with many improvements in health and well-being, including lower death rates, and lower risk of heart problems and depression . It benefits people of all ages, ranging from helping children maintain a healthy weight to reducing conditions such as hip fractures in frail older people.


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