In significant numbers it seems that the UK has put on its walking boots or trainers and exercised during the lockdowns in the last 12 months, sometimes over-enthusiastically and somewhat inappropriately. But we‚’ve done it and hopefully we like that thing, what is it now…..oh yes, fresh air! So how are we to be encouraged to maintain these healthy pastimes – walking, cycling, running? Think back as to how encouraging it was when you saw families (yes, all of them) out together walking, talking, laughing and getting fresh air in their lungs. With the pandemic highlighting this country‚’s obesity challenge we need to see everyone encouraged to maintain whatever exercise regime they have discovered and to dismantle potential barriers to see if more people can be encouraged. Home based working has given us more time to think about health. We‚’ve maybe learned a few new cooking skills and tried a few new recipes during lockdown as part of a change in diet and eating habits. A significant number of people have decided to move house right now, partly with a Stamp Duty holiday but also because they have been unshackled from having to live near the place of work. So let‚’s capitalise on the positives we can take from the last 12+ months and put in place some real support mechanisms to help the population. Provide plenty of parking space for people to visit parks and outdoor activities where a car is a necessity. Move Local Authority thinking away from seeing (and needing) car parks to act as a revenue generator. Encourage activities such as walking and running in local parks by ensuring there are paths and tracks available that are not only suitable for cyclists, runners and walkers, but also for wheelchairs, prams and pushchairs too.
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