Walking is the wonder drug or miracle cure

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Being inactive rivals smoking as one of our biggest health problems and sees more than 36,800 people a year in England dying before their time.

A new report says walking 150 minutes a week – a little over 21 minutes a day – could prevent thousands of premature deaths, 12,061 cases of hospital-treated coronary heart disease, 6,735 cases of breast cancer and 4,719 cases of colorectal cancer.

Jocelyn Kedzlie (50), from Deeping St Nicholas, walks 12,000 steps daily – 2,000 above the recommended 10,000 steps (about five miles) – and is in the gym twice a week.

She boosts her step count by parking a long way away from the shops.

“It’s something I learned at Weightwatchers,” she said. “I park the other side of town and walk to Marks and Spencer.”

Carol Woodger (61), from Spalding, keeps busy with her garden and housework but says she will now make “more of an effort” to go walking.

She said: “I think probably with a lot of people it’s their busy lives – they haven’t got the time.”

Jamie Baggott (34), from Spalding, has two health conditions that benefit from her daily 30 minute walks.

She said: “There’s something to be said for walking every day – it makes you feel better.”

Margaret Walker (65), from Spalding, said: “I don’t exercise very much, but I feel quite healthy. I do housework, gardening and I always walk into town to do the shopping, but I wouldn’t walk up every day.”

She’s ruled out the gym because “it’s too much like hard work”.

Spalding market stallholder Beverley Turner (51) believes her busy lifestyle, walks in the countryside and doing the school-run are enough for her, but says: “It’s trying to find time for yourself, really.”

Market day visitor Brian Sheldrick (73) used to manually load his lorry with big weights and remains active walking his dog, Hamish, four or five miles a day.

He said: “It’s the youngsters you should be talking to because they don’t do anything.”