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Better walking and cycling infrastructure crucial to keeping over 50s healthy

According to a new report, ‘Best foot forward’ published by the Centre for Ageing Better, too many people in their 50s and 60s will remain physically inactive unless we re-design our neighbourhoods to encourage walking and cycling. The report, which looked at the barriers people in this age group face to walking and cycling, says that action is needed from national and local government, service providers and health systems to get people moving.

Data from Sport England shows that 35% of people aged 45 to 54; 38% of those aged 55 to 64 and 43% of those aged 65 to 74 do not do the amount of physical activity recommended by government. People in their 50s spend less than two hours a week walking or cycling, and people in their 60s spend just over an hour and a half walking or cycling.

According to the report, avoiding the stresses and annoyances of driving – like traffic and parking – is a key motivation for walking or cycling; however, fear of traffic and a lack of confidence act as barriers to cycling

The report also found that health conditions and the perception that they’re not fit enough are major barriers to people in their 50s and 60s getting active in this way, but wanting to improve fitness can also be a motivation.