A quarter of Sunderland people walk less than once a month

A quarter of people in Sunderland walk less than once a month, raising long-term health fears caused by changes in travel habits during lockdown restrictions.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 4:12 pm
Fewer people incorporate walking in their daily lives

Sport England’s annual Active Lives Survey of 892 people in the area in the year to November 2020, found just 75% walked for 10 minutes at least once a month for any reason – although this was up from 72% the year before.

The proportion who walked for leisure once a month rose from 59% to 64% but those walking to commute, visit a friend, or going to a shop fell significantly from 44% to 30%.

It also emerged that only 11% rode a bike at least once every four weeks – although this was up from nine per cent the year before.

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Sport England say a huge fall in walking for travel nationally shows the "unprecedented" impact of the pandemic.

Lisa O’Keefe, director of insight at Sport England, said: “This reflects anxiety about going out and catching or spreading the virus, more responsibilities at home and lack of access to private outdoor space.”

Stephen Edwards, interim chief executive of the organisation, said: "It’s incredibly important that we keep active. Just a 20-minute walk can prevent long-term health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and depression."

Rachel White, head of public affairs at cycling charity Sustrans, called for local authorities to invest in infrastructure for everyday trips to make it easier for people to leave the car at home.

She added: "We must enable people to use their cars less and travel actively more often.”