Third of Mansfield adults walk less than once a month
About a third of adults in Mansfield took a short walk less than once a month last year, figures suggest, amid changes to people’s travel habits during lockdown restrictions.
Sport England said a huge fall in walking for travel across England shows the ‘unprecedented’ impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Its annual Active Lives Survey asked 348 Mansfield residents between November 2019 and November 2020 how often they take a 10-minute walk, for either leisure or travel.
The results, published by the Department for Transport, show just 68 per cent walked at least once per month for any reason – down from 74 per cent the year before and the lowest figure since comparable records began in 2015-16.
The proportion of people who walked for leisure once per month fell slightly from 64 per cent to 62 per cent.
And the same figure for walking to travel fell from 34 per cent to 28 per cent.
Some 408 Ashfield residents were quizzed in the same survey and 73 per cent said they walked at least once per month for any reason – down from 76 per cent the year before.
In Newark & Sherwood, 82 per cent of the 393 residents quizzed said they walked at least once per month, up from 79 per cent the year before.
Across England, the proportion of people who took a monthly stroll for any reason fell from 80 per cent to 75 per cent over this period – the lowest on record.
Just 36 per cent of adults walked at least once a month for travel, down from 49 per cent a year before.
Lisa O’Keefe, Sport England director of insight, said: “Anxiety about going out and catching or spreading the virus, financial fears, more responsibilities at home and lack of access to private outdoor space all contributed.”
Living Streets, a charity which supports everyday walking, said the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us live our lives, but it is important people build time to exercise into their new way of working.
Stephen Edwards, charity interim chief executive, said: “It’s important we keep active, both for our own wellbeing and to avoid storing up massive health problems for the NHS.
“Just a 20-minute walk can prevent long-term health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and depression.”
Though the number of walking journeys across England fell last year, charity Sustrans said it was encouraging that the number of miles cycled and walked per person in 2020 rose from 259 to 308 on average.
In Mansfield, 14 per cent rode their bikes at least once every four weeks – compared with 11 per cent the year before. In Ashfield it was 13 per cent, down from 14 per cent, while in Newark & Sherwood it was 15 per cent, down from 20 per cent.
Rachel White, Sustrans head of public affairs, urged local authorities to invest in quality infrastructure for everyday trips to make it easier for everyone to leave the car at home.
She said: “We are at a critical point where we can positively shape the new normal in Britain.
“We must enable people to use their cars less and travel actively more often, for the benefit of our own health and the future of the planet.”