Getting active by numbers

Two people walking a dog in a forest

The New Year usually represents a fresh start. Many people like to use this time to improve their health and fitness, by signing up to gyms or starting to run.

However just moving more and sitting less is equally important as more strenuous activities in terms of improving our health. Research tells us that standing an extra three hours a day could extend life expectancy by 2 years!

Buckinghamshire Council’s Active Communities initiative is a programme for everyone. It recognises the difference we can make to our wellbeing simply by sitting less, standing often, and moving more. It is not about covering large distances or doing hundreds of push-ups, but the benefits of small changes as part of your everyday routine.

We know that our efforts to change are, on average, forgotten about just six weeks later. Sometimes this might be because we set ourselves difficult targets and become discouraged if we fail to achieve them. If your goal is to be more active, going from sofa to strenuous exercise might be a step too far.

Instead of trying to run for half an hour, or cover a large distance you’re not used to doing, why not aim to stand up every 20 minutes even for just a minute instead? This small, regular movement alone can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. Standing up for those extra three hours a uses around 30,000 calories every year – the same amount burned during 10 marathons!

Similarly, if the idea of going to the gym seems too much, why not go for short walks? If you use a vehicle or public transport, you could get off a stop early, or park a little further away than usual and walk the rest of the distance. On average, you use one calorie every 20 steps and three calories if you climb 20 stairs. By parking your car 100 steps further away than usual, you can walk up to 23 extra miles in a working year.

Carl Jackson, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing (Public Health) said: “Making sure we move our bodies regularly is so important, not just for our physical health and wellbeing, but for our mental health and wellbeing too. The New Year is the perfect time for a fresh start and a time to take on new challenges. If you are going to make one resolution, then make one you can easily stick to and that will have a fantastic effect, not just in 2022 but for the rest of your life. Get involved with our Active Communities programme and add a little bit of regular movement to your daily routine – sit less, stand often and move more.”

To find out more about the Active Communities initiative and how to participate visit: