Mums urged to get pedalling
Mums who want to put their feet up for Mother’s Day are being urged to keep active the rest of the year.
UK cycling charity Sustrans says all women can enjoy better health by walking or cycling more on the other 364 days.
The group has just released its Active travel and women’s health information sheet, which says mothers, grandmothers and daughters all need to be physically active.
Only a quarter of women in the UK get the recommended amount of exercise – about 30 minutes on most days.
Sustrans says the rest are exposing themselves to potential health problems including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and depression.
The charity says making everyday journeys by walking or cycling for the school trip, to work, the shops or visiting family instead of relying on the car is the easiest way for women to achieve the recommended amount of activity.
National Active Travel co-ordinator Rachel Bromley said: “Mums will deservedly get the chance to put their feet up on Mother’s Day, but we shouldn’t confuse an active lifestyle with a hectic and stressful one. The evidence we have pulled together shows how important it is that women include activity in their lives – and that walking and cycling are easy ways to do this.”
Mum-of-two Julie Treanor made the most of Sustrans’ bike loan scheme in Luton so her daughter Danielle, aged ten, could pedal her way to a healthier weight.
Ms Treanor, aged 42, said: “The kids were chuffed to bits with the bikes and we regularly cycle to the park. Danielle has lost 9lbs and feels a lot better about herself, and I have lowered my high blood pressure. It’s a great way to use up energy as a family because my main form of exercise used to be running around after the kids.”
Grandmother Vivien Perks discovered the health benefits of regular exercise after joining Sustrans’ Pedal Back the Years group in Cornwall five years ago.
Mrs Perks, 63, who now leads the cycle group, said: “I used to suffer from headaches and poor circulation, especially in the cold weather, and would get chilblains and blue hands. I had a bike in my shed but was terrified of going beyond my driveway so joining a group was the perfect way to gain the confidence to get fit.
“Sometimes when you go out in the wind and rain you think ‘why am I doing this?’ but you invariably come back feeling so much more energetic and happier.”
TheActive travel and women’s healthinformation sheet can be downloaded at www.activetravel.org.uk.