Medical professionals suggest that 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can improve health and help reduce the risk chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Walking for 30 minutes 5 times per week is considered a good way of performing that exercise. 54% of Londoners are now doing that, up from 49% in the previous year. The national average is 47%.
The data from the Active People Survey by Sport England shows that central areas of London, with easier access to amenities and less dependence on cars (as reported by Urbs London) have the highest levels of walking, particularly Westminster, Camden, Wandsworth and Lambeth. These boroughs have the some of the highest levels of regular walkers in England. Only the Isles if Scilly has higher levels, and they are largely car free.
Only 4 outer London boroughs are below the national average. In comparison cycling is more polarised between inner and outer areas. 10% of the population of London cycles once a week. It’s double that rate in Hackney and 3 times higher in the City of London. The rate of cycling in the City is 7 times higher than Hillingdon.
This pattern of a stark difference in inner and outer London is reflected in the usage of Boris Bikes across the capital (also reported by Urbs London). The outer borough that bucks this trend is Richmond, likely due to easy access to open spaces for recreational cycling, rather than commuting.
The numbers of regular cycle commuters, using bikes 5 times a week, has remained constant, but there has been a reduction over the past 4 years in occasional cyclists who use a bike once a week.