Step up walking to fitness on The Big Sleuth trail

Walking to fitness
Ten minute walk a day improves fitness and wellbeing

25 August 2017

  • Short brisk walk a day reduces risk of early death by 15 per cent
  • Public Health England reporturges public to get walking and enjoy health benefits
  • Aston expert says hitting Birmingham’s bear trail is fun way to get more active

As Public Health England urges the population to take up walking and add many healthy years to their lives, Aston University fitness expert James Brown is encouraging the local community to hit the bear trail over the holiday weekend.

Dr Brown, a well-known media commentator on topics including obesity, frailty, ageing and diabetes, believes The Big Sleuth public art trail across Birmingham and surrounding areas is “a great opportunity for us all to be active this summer.”

He said: “The latest British Heart Foundation report suggests that more than a third of us are failing to reach even the minimum recommendation for physical activity each week, meaning around 20 million people in the UK are insufficiently active.

“Physical inactivity increases the risk of developing many diseases including obesity and heart disease and is the fourth most important risk factor in the UK for premature death.

“The benefits of exercise are numerous, and walking is a fantastic way to exercise. Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, increase your fitness and even improve your mood or memory.” 

There are 100 large bears and 137 bear cubs to track down on the trail which has been devised to help raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity

“For those amongst us who are feeling brave, collecting all the bears will involve walking around 70 miles, which in the average person would burn around 3,500 calories,” added Dr Brown, a senior lecturer in biology in the School of Life and Health Sciences.

“For those with a smaller appetite for bear hunting, there is a shorter, two hour walk around Birmingham city centre, which takes in 23 bears and three clusters of bear cubs. 

“But whatever your level of fitness or activity, why not get out this summer and catch as many bears as you can on this huge route of discovery, and get some exercise at the same time.”

“Each of the bear sculptures tells its own unique story, whether it be raising awareness of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the industrial heritage of the region or Aston Medical School at Aston University where we have Ed The X-ray Bear on campus until mid-September.”

This week, Public Health England (PHE) announced that 41 per cent of the 15.3 million English adults aged between 40 and 60 did not manage to take one 10-minute brisk continuous walk every month. Yet the health benefits of brisk walking for just 10 minutes a day included improved fitness, mood and leaness and a healthier weight, as well as a 15 per cent reduction in the risk of dying prematurely.


Notes to the editor

The Big Sleuthpublic art trail launched on Monday 10 July 2017 and runs for 10 weeks, culminating on Sunday 17 September. It follows the phenomenal success of The Big Hoot in 2015, which raised over £500,000 for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.  The campaign focuses on tracking down 237 individually-designed sun bear and bear cub sculptures across Birmingham and surrounding areas including Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Sandwell and Resorts World. The campaign trail is designed to promote getting outdoors and exercising as a family, whilst also enjoying tracking down the bears and fundraising.  

Aston Medical Schoolhas its own bear on the trail – Ed The X-ray Bear – located on the Aston University campus. X-ray Ed, was designed by Birmingham artist and former radiographer Anne Guest who chose her X-ray theme to highlight the work of Dr John Hall-Edwards who pioneered the use of X-ray in surgery at Birmingham General Hospital over 120 years ago. The hospital building is now the home of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust(BWC) brings together the very best in paediatric and women’s care in the region and is proud to have many UK and world-leading surgeons, doctors, nurses, midwives and other allied healthcare professionals on its team. 

Birmingham Children’s Hospitalis the UK’s leading specialist paediatric centre, caring for sick children and young people between 0 and 16 years of age. Based in the heart of Birmingham city centre, the hospital is a world leader in some of the most advanced treatments, complex surgical procedures and cutting edge research and development. The hospital is a nationally designated specialist centre for epilepsy surgery and also boasts a paediatric major trauma centre for the West Midlands, a national liver and small bowel transplant centre and a centre of excellence for complex heart conditions, the treatment of burns, cancer and liver and kidney disease. It is also home to one of the largest child and adolescent mental health services in the country.

The Public Health England press release with further information can be found here.

For more information, call Susi Turner, Press & PR Officer, on  0121 204 4978 or email  [email protected]

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