• Moving spirit 19 September 2017 | View comments

  • 18th September 2017 | By David Jolley

    This week the Guardian carried a story of research which suggests that sitting for long periods without interruption is associated with early death and morbidities on the way to death https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/11/moving-every-half-hour-could-help-limit-effects-of-sedentary-lifestyle-says-study

    It is a long time since Professor Jerry Morris reported the different life expectancies of bus drivers (who sit) and bus conductors (who don’t) www.epi.umn.edu/cvdepi/study-synopsis/london-transport-workers-study/. It was a classic study which confirmed that being active is a powerful preventive medicine. The most recent study does no harm in reminding us of this.

    A very simple arrangement leads us to host a weekly walk on our park. We meet at the bowling pavilion and walk for about an hour, then have a cup of tea and simple refreshments whilst putting the world to rights and sharing news. Our walks attract about ten people most weeks. Most are ‘getting on’ and/or have some sort of pathology. These may include dementia – we are ‘dementia inclusive’, not ‘dementia exclusive’.

    We are part of a network of such walks loosely organised by Walk for Health: www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/ The initiative for this came from Macmillan nursing out of their understanding that walking improves life and life expectation for people with a diagnosis of cancer. As for cancer, as for dementia, as for life with or without any pathology.

    A marvellous development in Trafford, has been the initiative of one General Practitioner in Sale Moor. She invited all her most vulnerable/suitable patients to join a weekly walk from the clinic building. Over 100 came the first week – this has settled down to about 30 regulars – but how wonderful this is. The links between a voluntary initiative and our brilliant Primary Care services is a magic model for the future.

    The hope is that other Practices will follow her lead – We will try to monitor the success and the impact which this makes on the physical, emotional and cognitive health of the people – and their need for services.

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