Doctors will soon prescribe walking and cycling for patients in the UK

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    In health news today, doctors in England are set to prescribe forms of physical activity.

    Movements such as walking or cycling will be ‘socially prescribed’ in a bid to boost the nation’s health.

    The move comes as government officials continue to try to ease the current strain on the NHS.

    You likely know the many benefits of walking and how mindful movement can boost both your physical and mental health, but now a government program will actively seek to make both a part of your daily lifestyle.

    Rolling out across eleven parts of England – Bath and North East Somerset, Bradford, Cornwall, Cumbria, Doncaster, Gateshead, Leeds, Nottingham, Plymouth, Suffolk and Staffordshire – the pilot program will provide cycling training, free bike loans, walking clubs, and exercise classes for wheelchair or scooter users.

    The government was awarded £12.7m to fund the programme, which will end in 2025. They hope to see both reduced doctor visits and reliance on medication as a result.

    Although the schedule can be a great way to show people that while we’re dealing with a cost of living crisis, exercise doesn’t have to mean gym memberships and expensive kit. Far from it – often the best forms of exercise and staying active are free (think walking, stretching and running).

    That said, several Twitter users have pointed out problems with the setup. Some worry that it may not be wise to consume even more calories at a time when people are struggling to afford to eat.

    Verm on Twitter said, “GP’s ‘prescription’ of walking and cycling won’t change health inequalities in the UK When I go out on my bike I worry if I can afford the calories I’m burning – I can cycle your daily intake of calories = another day’s worth of food on my bills.”

    Others have also mocked the move, with Twitter user Le Plonge saying: “Surely people can go for a walk without a GP to tell them?”.

    But Health Secretary Maria Caulfield is backing the plan, sharing that exercise is key to boosting both your physical and mental wellbeing – not to mention easing the burden on the NHS. “Being active is hugely beneficial to both our mental and physical health, helping to reduce stress and ward off other diseases such as heart disease and obesity.

    What do you think?

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