Inactivity kills thousands of people EVERY single year. And yet, no one is talking about it. It’s the ignored health crisis that threatens the lives of those all around us.
This is a human emergency and we need to act now. Yet the cure is simple, free and staring at us in the face. No need for research and vaccines. It’s here now and ready to implement.
Inactivity is a killer
What is causing this emergency? Inactivity. Shockingly, four in ten adults don’t meet the minimum recommended levels for movement. This puts them at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill.
Being inactive can have devastating consequences for individual health. It increases the likelihood of getting some serious life-limiting, long-term diseases including obesity, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, and dementia, to name a few.
For the last 50 years, the human population has steadily reduced its routine activity levels. In fact, it has declined so much that for many working adults, each day involves driving to work, sitting at a keyboard for eight hours and then driving home to sit in front of the TV. Sedentary living now kills more people than obesity.
Protect the NHS
During the Covid-19 crisis, protecting the NHS was at the forefront of all government planning and messaging. However, before Covid-19, the NHS was already struggling to meet the high demand for treatments for diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, brittle bones, mental health, and social care. Demand for these services will be amplified by the inactivity during lockdown. The financial cost of providing the healthcare and support will cripple the NHS unless we make positive changes to our lifestyles. We must protect the NHS.
Get up and MOVE!
So, what is the cure? Activity is the key to remaining healthy.; it’s time to get up and move.
Research shows that being more active in our daily lives will reduce the likelihood of illness, slow down the ageing process and improve mental health. Quite simply, being active is the vaccine, the magic pill, and its ready now.
About a quarter of all journeys of less than 2 miles are done by car. This equates to a 10 to 15 minute walk or an even shorter cycle ride. Routine activity has disappeared from our daily lives and we need to start making choices based on what’s good for our health rather than what’s most convenient.
Change the way we commute
It’s time to make small but significant changes to our lives that will introduce more movement into daily routines so that it becomes a way of life.
An easy way to incorporate exercise into everyday life is to change the way we commute. You won’t need to find time to exercise as you will be incorporating it into your daily schedule. Choosing active travel, such as walking and cycling, instead of driving or taking the bus to work, will make a huge difference.
The Cycle to Work Scheme makes this an easier option by giving access to savings of at least 32% on a new bike. Any bike in fact, including E-bikes which are perfect for those new to cycling or those with health issues meaning they are unable to ride a traditional bike.
Switching from a passive driving commute to an active cycling commute has enormous benefits. Just getting our pulse rate up a bit and our muscles moving will extend our lives.
Employers to get involved
If nothing is done to combat inactivity, levels of employee sickness absence will rise as more employees suffer from the consequences. Sick leave and time off for doctor’s appointments will take its toll on the workplace.
Employers have an opportunity to help their employees make active travel choices through a variety of employee benefit options. Green Commute Initiative is the UK’s industry-leading Cycle to Work Scheme provider with no spend limit and no end-of-scheme fees. The scheme doesn’t cost the employer anything, in fact they will save money. It’s also quick and easy to administer. Instant GCI is a pay-as-you-go scheme which requires no registration or commitment. Or larger organisations can use Corporate GCI which provides a portal for managing large numbers of employee applications. As a UK-based not-for-profit social enterprise, GCI is committed to providing the best value scheme to both employees and employers.
Small steps, big changes
Just 30 minutes reasonable activity every day would help combat health problems resulting from inactivity.
The amazing thing is that if we all get active; the gain is two-fold. We’d benefit on an individual, almost selfish level, by being fit and healthy, but we’d also be doing something really positive to save the planet as emissions from cars and other dirty vehicles would fall. And that’s the utopia; clean air to breathe whilst we are being active to stay healthy.