Walking and cycling should be the norm for short journeys

More people should be encouraged to keep fit by incorporating walking and cycling into their everyday lives, in an attempt to tackle declining rates of physical activity in England, walker and cyclist sharing paththe National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says.

Regular physical activity is key to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, as well as being important for good mental health.

This latest guidance is aimed at schools, workplaces, local authorities and the NHS to encourage them to promote walking and cycling.

Town-wide programmes should be put in place to promote cycling for both transport and recreational purposes. These could include cycle hire schemes, car-free events or days, providing information such as maps and route signing, activities and campaigns that emphasise the benefits of cycling, fun rides, and others.

NICE recommends that walking routes are integrated with accessible public transport links to support longer journeys. Signage should give details of the distance and/or walking time, in both directions, between public transport facilities and key destinations.

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