The average person in now walks less than half a mile a day – a third less than 30 years ago, official figures show.
In light of the figures, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said people should makes an effort to do more walking to stop Britain from ‘grinding to a halt’.
Lack of exercise leads to 90,000 unnecessary deaths a year, and Britain is in the midst of a ‘pandemic’ of inactivity, a study warned yesterday.
The average person in Britain now walks less than half a mile a day – a third less than 30 years ago, figures from the Department of Transport show (file photo)
Working in an office – and sitting down for eight hours a day – raises the risk of an early death by 60 per cent, according to Cambridge University researchers.
To offset the damage employees must do an hour of exercise – such as a brisk walk or steady bike ride – they said.
The average person now walks 181 miles a year – less than half a mile a day – according to figures from the Department of Transport.
This has fallen by 83 miles since 1986, when people walked an average of two thirds of a mile every day.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on Britons to do more walking to stop the country ‘grinding to a halt’
And in the last decade, there has been a sharp fall in the distances people walk.
Mr Hunt told the Telegraph he wears a fitness tracker to ensure he walks for 10,000 steps – almost five miles – a day.
In a statement, Mr Hunt said: ‘It is a real concern to see this decline in activity levels when we know that relatively small improvements in lifestyle can have a dramatic effect in fending off long term conditions like diabetes or dementia.
‘Many people now track how many steps they take every day – but the best thing is simply to make walking a bigger part of your daily life.
‘If we can encourage more people to do this, and stop Britain from grinding to a halt, we will relieve some of the pressures the NHS is facing on the frontline today.’
Another study published this week said being unfit is the second biggest killer of middle-aged men after smoking.
University of Gothenburg researchers found lack of exercise is second only to smoking as a predictor of early death – ahead of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Those with the least aerobic capacity – the most physical activity an individual can do as measured by oxygen consumption – were much less likely to live to a ripe old age.
Scientists said the findings highlight the need to increase physical activity and reduce sitting for long periods of time.