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The Forestry Commission is working with Cumbria Primary Care Trust and Cumbria Sport Partnership to encourage everyone to get active in woodland in Cumbria.
Cumbriahas a major target to increase activity with an aim of three lots of 30 minutes of physical activity a week. That could mean going for a walk in your local woods or park in your lunch hour or at the weekend.
The Forestry Commission estate, especially Grizedale Forest near Hawkshead and Whinlatter Forest near Keswick, with their miles of walking and cycling trails and the hugely popular GoApe high wire adventures, are the perfect places to indulge in healthy green outdoor activity amongst some stunning scenery.
Estimates for the annual cost to the NHS of physical inactivity range from £1 billion to £1.8 billion, with Cumbria’s contribution put at over £8 million, higher than the £5 million Primary Care Trust average across the country.
Penny Oliver, from the Forestry Commission in Cumbria said: “The network of forests and woodlands across Cumbria mean that ideal clean green spaces to get out and enjoy physical activity are never far away.
“Whether it’s walking, cycling or just enjoying the great outdoors, every little helps!”
During the period leading up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games, the Cumbria Sports Partnership are working closely with local authorities and the Primary Care Trust to provide and encourage more physical activity amongst adults and children.
In Cumbria, as a result of Physical Inactivity, the total cost as to the NHS has been calculated as £8,277,950 per annum. The 2012 Legacy Action Plan target is based upon 3x30 minutes of sport or wider physical activity a week and is a key staging point to a healthy and active Cumbria.
Emma Martin, from Cumbria Sport Partnership, said: “The people of Cumbria are blessed with an amazing natural environment. Forests like Whinlatter and Grizedale offer a vast amount of activities for families and individuals at various levels of fitness.
“There is more and more evidence to prove that recreational activities in forests account for significant reductions in illness and obesity.”
More information about Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests, as well as the Forestry Commission’s other woodland areas in Cumbria, can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/northwestengland