Peter Walker has been #WalkingFromHome whilst writing his latest book – The Miracle Pill: Why A Sedentary World Is Getting It All Wrong.
Here he tells us why moving more is so important for our health and how he’s been upping his steps.
In pre-lockdown times I didn’t normally think too much about walking. I mean, I liked it, and would happily trudge around my part of south-east London, or other places, mainly just to get around and sometimes even for leisure.
But two events, simultaneously, changed that. The first was – obviously – the series of lockdowns that began last March. The second was writing a book about the way everyday physical activity has more or less vanished in the past few decades, and the many consequences this brings.
I’d known the basics about this very normalised pandemic of public health before, but I was amazed to find out just how serious and widespread an issue it is – illness connected to inactive living kills an estimated 100,000 people per year in the UK.
In non-Covid times, I was lucky enough to be gung-ho/experienced/mad enough to feel OK about cycling to and from work five or so days a week, a combined 40 minutes or so of built-into-the-routine exertion that took me well past recommended activity minimums and delivered me to and from the office with a punctuality measurable in individual minutes.
Writing the book coincided with the first lockdown, and things were suddenly different. I was denied most physical activity – in its place was the government’s offering of an hour outside per day for what was very much billed as exercise. Now, exercise does your body just as much good as everyday activity, but it is, necessarily, harder to build into your life, one of the key reasons why overall activity levels actually dropped during lockdown, despite all the joggers and barbell-lifters in parks.