NEW WALKING INITIATIVE LAUNCHED BY THE HEALTH DIRECTORATE

The St Helena Government (SHG) Health Directorate has worked with a range of partners to provide a resource to encourage community members to fit short walks or other lower level activities into day-to-day life to help people keep well and reduce their risk of the chronic illnesses that affect people on-Island.

In the St Helena Health and Lifestyle Survey 2018, nearly 50% of the people surveyed said they walked less than an hour per week and don't do any other moderate physical activity. The encouragement to fit in a short walk or other activity that you can do at your own pace, like swimming, is based on the strongest kind of public health evidence which shows that it doesn't take a lot to make a big difference � it just needs to be regular.

Half an hour a day of moderate activity can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 24%. You can greatly cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke by doing half an hour of activity like a walk or swim several days weekly.

A series of shorter, 'easier to fit in' walks have been identified in each Island district with the help of members of the public and St Helena Tourism. The idea is that these short routes provide a range of options for people to fit in as suits them � at lunchtime, part way to work, or at home, or as a trip at the weekend. Although people may know some walks, there may be others they are less familiar with and basic route maps have been developed with the help of the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate GIS team, and are available on the SHG website via: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/step-on-it-st-helena/ and on Facebook by searching 'Step On It, St Helena � Enjoy Your Freedom!'. Printed versions will also be available from the Public Library in Jamestown.

The 'Step On It, St Helena � Enjoy Your Freedom!' Facebook page also offers a way for community members who would like to start walking to find others in their area who also would like a buddy or buddies to walk with on certain days / times.

Chair of the Public Health Committee, Councillor Derek Thomas, commented:

This initiative is not about being fit, it's about our community members being well. These simple tools can help people get started and find something that they can fit around work, family life and other commitments. Being active is one of the important things we can all do a little more of to keep well.

Source: St Helena Government

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