Communities encouraged to move more as part of innovative project
A new health initiative to educate people about the benefits of sitting less and moving more is kicking off across areas of High Wycombe and Aylesbury this month.
The 16-month Active Communities pilot, which will be run in West Wycombe, Booker, Cressex & Castlefield, Abbey and Aylesbury North West, is the first of its kind in the UK.
The benefits of movement and exercise are well publicised but perhaps less well known is the fact that sitting down for more than 20 minutes at a time is bad for our health and the longer we sit, the worse the effects become. Scientific research shows that those who spend more time sitting down for long periods are more at risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and cardio-vascular disease and according to studies, are 13% more likely to get cancer.
The good news is that just small amounts of movement and activity can have a big impact. Stand up for one minute and you start to burn calories that you wouldn’t if you remained sitting. If you stand up for up an additional three hours every Monday to Friday every week, you would burn over 30,000 calories a year. That’s equivalent to the same amount you would burn if you ran 10 marathons. Regular periods of standing throughout your day can also add years to your life with studies showing you could live up to two years longer.
Over coming weeks and months, a range of different community engagement events and initiatives will take place with people of all ages and backgrounds to encourage them to get involved. A series of Active Park walks is planned together with work to recruit volunteers to raise awareness in their own communities. Organisers will also work with a variety of organisations and groups including schools, faith settings and businesses to spread the word.
Dr Jane O’Grady, Buckinghamshire Council’s Director of Public Health said: “This initiative is not about getting people to take up sport, go to the gym or to start running marathons. We are simply asking people not to sit for too long. Just this one, small change can have a really positive impact on health and wellbeing.
“Of course we still want to encourage people to be as active as possible and to eat healthily but for those who really struggle to get out for a walk or any other gentle form of exercise, this initiative encourages them with the knowledge that just by standing up more and sitting down less they are having a positive impact on their health and even the smallest amount of movement can help.”
To find out more about the Active Communities project and how to participate visit: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/activecommunities
May is officially National Walking Month so what better time to start moving more? For more information visit the Living Streets website.