Walking for half-an-hour a day could prevent 10,000 cases of cancer deaths a year, a new research has suggested.
A regular stroll could also slash the deadly toll of thousands more deaths from heart disease and other chronic illnesses, the report said.
The World Cancer Research Fund is calling on people to “take to the streets” after new figures reveal that the number of trips people take on foot is now down to the lowest level since records began in 1988.
There has been a 28 per cent fall over the past 15 years alone.
“Being regularly physically active has such a significant effect on cancer risk that it is really important people get 30 minutes a day, however they choose to do it,” the Daily Express quoted Dr Rachel Thompson, its deputy head of science, as saying.
“As with other types of activity, walking can reduce body fat, boost the immune system and helps to move food through the gut more quickly – all factors that play a role in reducing cancer risk.
“We estimate more than 10,000 cases of breast and bowel cancer could be prevented a year by people doing a bit more activity,” she added.
In 2010 diary data was collected from 8,100 households covering more than 19,000 people. It showed the average person made 960 trips per year, compared to 1,086 in 1995-97 – a fall of 12 per cent.
Some 64 per cent of all trips were made by car, including 20 per cent of all trips of less than a mile. And 77 per cent of trips of less than a mile were made on foot.
The number of Britons who walked for 20 minutes, three times a week or more was 41 per cent, with 23 per cent walking 20 minutes at least once a week and 20 per cent walking 20 minutes once a year or less.