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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 January, 2005, 00:09 GMT
'Walk your way to fitness' advice
Image of ramblers
Walking could help prevent obesity
Gym-phobes should take heart that walking could extend your life by 15 years, say experts launching a new get fit campaign.

The Get Fit Foundation wants to get people to do regular and sustainable exercise at least five times a week, such as walking to work or the shops.

This supports government's target to get 70% of the population exercising to reduce growing levels of obesity.

About 30,000 people in the UK die from obesity-related problems each year.

Get fit

And if current trends continue, at least a third of adults will be obese by 2020.

GEFF, the National Governing Body for physical activity, was set up to reverse these trends.

It is working with government, the private sector and charitable organisations over the next 15-years to combat inactivity.

It says even little changes can make all the difference, and hopes to encourage people to start walking through on-line support and texting.

Users of the programme will be able to log and track their weight and exercise progress and achievements.

Walking for 30 minutes a day five days a week will really change your life.
Record marathon runner Rory Coleman

Launching the initiative is record marathon runner Rory Coleman, who has completed more than 480 marathons and set nine Guinness World Records for treadmill endurance running.

"I know what a challenge it can be to get active because I'm actually the original couch potato.

"Eleven years ago I was overweight - I was 15 stone - and I smoked and drank too much.

"I decided then that I had to make a change.

"I might have been dead now if I hadn't.

He said it didn't have to mean hitting the gym every day in your lycra.

"Walking for 30 minutes a day five days a week will really change your life.

"It could possibly give you another 15 years of life."

Rory will promote the UK's Biggest Ever Walking Marathon by walking 711 miles from Newquay to Newcastle on a treadmill on-board an articulated lorry in just 36 hours on January 5 and 6.

"People can join me for a walk and see how easy it is," he said.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Fiona Adshead, said: " Walking is a great way to get more exercise as part of daily life and it's easy for people to make a small change to their daily routine by walking that little bit further every day."

She said a 10% increase in adult activity would benefit England by at least 500m a year.

Natasha Ede, care advisor for Diabetes UK, said: "People who lead a sedentary lifestyle and are overweight are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

"Being the right weight for your height and keeping active can reduce the risk.

"Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can also help people with diabetes to manage their condition.

"Therefore, we are delighted to be supporting this campaign by the Get Fit Foundation to motivate the nation to take up regular exercise."

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