Go green and get healthy in the new year, says Goodmayes health expert

Nural Ahad, clinical lead at North East London NHS Treatment Centre, says make your New Year�s resol

Nural Ahad, clinical lead at North East London NHS Treatment Centre, says make your New Year�s resolution to leave the car in the garage � it is the best thing for you and the planet. Picture: Hannah Duffy Photography - Credit: Archant

A national orthopaedic expert is advising people to make just one New Year’s Resolution this year – keep your car in its garage to improve your health.

Nurul Ahad, who is based at North East London NHS Treatment Centre in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, said: "Walking instead of driving is an excellent New Year's Resolution - it is easy to do, saves you money and increases your health in ways you may not expect.

"Our treatment centre specialises in orthopaedics and musculoskeletal treatments, and walking contributes to keeping bones in good condition.

"Studies have found that walking a mile a day for a year can increase bone density by almost 10 per cent and reduce the risk of future hip fractures."

Movement helps build up bones, making it less likely that they will break, and it also improves balance and flexibility, reducing the risk of falls in later life, he said.

Mr Ahad, who is the orthopaedic lead for nine NHS treatment centres, said: "We see many people with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis who would have benefited from regular walking. We also recommend walking as part of a patient's rehabilitation from joint replacement and spinal surgery.

"As well as helping bone health, it boosts heart and lung health - and it is an excellent way to keep at a healthy weight, which also helps to keep pressure off your joints.

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"The average sedentary person only takes between 1,000 and 3,000 steps a day. If you leave the car in the garage and walk to the shops, to work or to take your children to school, you can easily boost that to 10,000 steps a day.

"You can also get off the bus or Tube a stop earlier. You will be delighted with the results and it's free and environmentally friendly."

Mr Ahad's top tips include turning on your mobile phone's step counter and aiming for 10,000 steps a day, downloading one of the free apps which reveals walking routes in your area and across the country, joining a walking group, walking to your favourite music and picking up the pace as your fitness improves and incorporating more hills in your walks as you start to feel fitter.