Tens of thousands of lives could be saved each year in the UK if people got off the sofa and stretched their legs more, say charities.The "Walking Works" report by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support said walking was a free activity which could transform people's health. Being physically active decreases the odds of heart problems and stroke. But it also makes a difference in other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and many cancers. Last week a British Medical Journal study showed that exercise was as good a medicine as pills for some conditions including heart diseases and another study showed walking at least an hour a day significantly cut the risk of breast cancer. What is moderate physical activity? UK chief medical officers recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.That's enough to make the heart beat faster while still being able to readily have a conversation. It includes walking, cycling and gardening.
The latest report said that if everyone, in England alone, did the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise every week it would:
- Save 37,000 lives each year
- Prevent 6,700 cases of breast cancer
- Stop 4,700 people getting colorectal cancer
- Lead to nearly 300,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes.
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