"We must get exercise into everyone’s life"

Lack of fitness causes more deaths than smoking, obesity and cancer says a report, published in the Lancet to coincide with the build-up to the Olympics, estimates that about a third of adults are not doing enough physical activity, causing 5.3m deaths a year. The aim should be that lack of fitness is seen as a cause of death – and should be treated as a pandemic. This is especially so in the UK where over half of us are relatively inactive.

Reams of research show benefits from fitness for both sexes, and these include reduction of other killers like heart disease, obesity, diabetes and some cancers. Such is the concern in the report it recommends that the dangers of inactivity need emphasising, not just the benefits of exercise.

The 33 strong team of researchers drawn from centres across the world also said governments needed to look at ways to make physical activity more convenient, affordable and safer – and we at Campaign for Adventure are calling for a ‘Britain on Foot’ vision of active lifestyles for all.

Our CfA call in 2008 was that “everyone starts and maintains a physically active lifestyle consisting of moderate-intensity activities (brisk walking, cycling or similar) of at least two hours a week, and that if you have been inactive, you should see your doctor and build up slowly. This should be linked to elements of excitement, adventure and new experiences.".

Other research has show that level of fitness matters, too. Compared to men with a low level of fitness, death rates were 50% lower for highly fit men and 70% lower for men in the "very fit" category. Of course, active lifestyles add much more to life than just more time to enjoy!

We are told that on the 24th October, Westminster will have something very special to say about all this…watch this space!