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Car-loving Britons are too lazy to walk!

The car-loving Britons who refuse to walk: One in five people now stroll for less than 15 minutes a day

New research from the College of Podiatry which was published in the Daily Mail today states that:

  • Research finds walking short distances almost always shunned by drivers
  • Nearly half of public would take the car when visiting friends or local shop
  • Lazy habits revealed despite 40 per cent admitting they need to walk more
  • Excuses for not walking include weather worries and uncomfortable shoes

In the study, fifty three per cent admit driving or using public transport to reach a destination which is in ‘easy walking distance’. Shockingly, one in 20 say they will ‘always’ drive somewhere they could easily walk to.

That’s despite 40 per cent of those polled admitting they need to walk more, with nearly half saying they should to be ‘more active’ – and one in every five getting nowhere near the recommended 15 minutes of walking each day.

The research, which was commissioned to mark foot health awareness campaign, Feet for Life month (June), asked 2,000 UK adults about how much they walk.  The findings showed that only a few of us use our own two feet to get around.  Shockingly, more than half of us (54 per cent) admit to driving or using public transport to reach a destination which is in ‘easy walking distance’. This is despite four in ten of us (40 per cent) acknowledging that we need to walk more, and 46 per cent recognising that we need to be ‘more active’.

Idle Brit’s love of wheels is further highlighted, with one in 20 (6 per cent) confessing they would ‘always’ drive somewhere where they could easily walk and 20 per cent admitting to doing this ‘frequently’.

Almost half (44 per cent) cited ‘time’ and ‘arriving as soon as possible’ as being the biggest factor in determining what method of transport to use.  Perhaps not surprisingly for a nation of weather worriers, 61 per cent said the weather plays a huge part and often results in them driving to a nearby location.

But the excuses don’t end there, ten per cent worry their feet will hurt after walking, and 17 per cent refuse to walk as they feel ‘tired’. A further one in ten (11 per cent) blame their shoes and say they are not ‘comfortable’ enough to walk in.

The study also shows how we cannot even be bothered to take a relaxing stroll to our closest shop.  Almost two thirds of us (62 per cent) have a local newsagent less than half a mile away – but three in ten (31 per cent) still prefer to drive or use public transport.

Worryingly, we’re not setting a good example to the next generation with a fifth of parents admitting to driving their children to school (19 per cent).  Even though more than a quarter (27 per cent) revealed their child’s school is less than a mile away from their home.

Just one in ten (12 per cent) of us choose to walk to work and a measly 15 per cent walk their children to school.

And it seems we over-use our cars so much we can’t resist driving them even when we are at our place of work.  The research found a fifth of us (19 per cent) even drive to a shop to buy lunch when we are at work rather than walking.

Meanwhile, more than four in ten (44 per cent) use their cars to pop to the local takeaway and a third (35 per cent) use it to take a trip to the local cafe.

Commenting on the findings, The College of Podiatry said: “It’s a shame to see that so few of us are failing to use our own two feet to get about.  Walking for just 30 minutes a day can bring so many health benefits.  It’s a great way to improve fitness gently and can be a suitable form of exercise for many people.  The findings also suggest that we don’t seem to setting a good example to children showing that walking can be a great way to travel.  Being comfortable in your shoes is key to walking, wearing supportive footwear is paramount to the enjoyment of a walk. Your feet are designed to carry you around and they shouldn’t hurt on a daily basis. So if you are avoiding walking due to discomfort in your feet it is usually because you aren’t wearing the right footwear for the activity you are doing. If you are interested in walking more but are suffering with foot pain, seek professional advice.”

The Benefits of Walking:

  • Walking helps condition your body and improve overall cardiovascular health.
  • Walking carries significantly lower risk of injury than running or jogging.
  • Taking a stroll can reduce stress, give you time to clear your head and helps with better sleep.
  • It’s a free, safe, all round work-out that doesn’t need special equipment.
  • Walking an extra 20 minutes a day, will burn more than 3kg of body fat a year.
  • A single step uses up to 200 muscles.  So as well as cardio, you are also toning muscles.
  • Walking can halve your risk of coronary heart disease and help prevent some cancers and cuts cholesterol.
  • Walking helps the muscles and ligaments in our feet to work more efficiently, and helps keep them supple and flexible.
  • Consult a podiatrist if you start to develop pain when walking, or consider a visit before embarking on your new walking programme. For more information on foot health and to find a podiatrist near to you visit www.feetforlife.org.

[1] A survey conducted on behalf of The College of Podiatry by One Poll amongst 2,000 UK adults aged 18+. The survey was conducted online between 09/03/2015 – 12/03/2015

We are born to be on the move! If you read Mike Stroud’s book Survival of the Fittest your outlook on the health benefits of keeping active will be changed forever.