Category Archives: Exercise & travel

In 2013, there were estimated to be over 500,000 physiotherapists working in the EU. That figure is thought to have increased since then, with physiotherapy continually expanding and becoming more advanced for a variety of different health problems.

Many people just assume the role of a physiotherapist is to help with sports injuries and back problems. Whilst this is true, physiotherapists are certainly not limited to just that. In fact, qualified physiotherapists are able to provide treatment for a huge variety of other conditions too, including an array of injury, disease or age-related issues. And, with some physiotherapists being able to prescribe essential medication without having to consult a doctor, it’s clear to see how much of a positive impact physiotherapists can have.

If you or someone you know thinks they may need the help of a physiotherapist and would like to know more, read on to discover what physiotherapy is, what it does, and how it can successfully alleviate painful symptoms and make people feel better on a long-term basis.

What actually is physiotherapy?

In its simplest terms, physiotherapy is the professional practice of providing treatment for physical problems and pain from a range of sources. These can include injuries, disease, and age-related ailments.

A physiotherapist’s main role is to not only alleviate painful symptoms that may have arisen, but to also restore the optimum functioning of the affected area and hopefully give their patient a long-term, lessened effect of their issue. Physiotherapists are not only present in hospitals and can be found in a variety of other places such as healthcare facilities, gyms, schools and even in some workplaces.

Due to the significant amount of different injuries and issues physiotherapists have to face, they often specialize in a number of areas. Physiotherapy is therefore split into three main areas of expertise:

  • Neurological – Treats disorders and pain associated with the nervous system. The most common injuries seen by physiotherapists in this area are brain and spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and MS (multiple sclerosis).
  • Musculoskeletal – Also known as orthopedic physiotherapy, this area treats the largest variety of conditions. These include arthritis, back pain, sprains, and an array of sports-related injuries.
  • Cardiothoracic – Treats disorders such as emphysema, asthma and bronchitis.

What do physiotherapists do?

In order to successfully complete their main job role, there are a variety of tasks and strategies that physiotherapists can take dependent on their patient’s specific circumstances.

In your initial appointment, the physiotherapist will fully assess your physical condition and make an appropriate diagnosis. A bespoke treatment plan will then be created to ensure you receive the best possible care for your specific injury or condition. In many cases, physiotherapists may have to retrain their patients to walk again with the assistance of walking frames or crutches.

It’s also the job of a physiotherapist to properly educate patients and their families on exactly what their treatment is providing, and how to lead a healthy lifestyle and prevent further injury or discomfort.

To find out even more about the specific roles and responsibilities of a qualified physiotherapist, take a look at Bodyworks Edinburgh for extra information.

physiotherapists

How can they help?

No matter what injury or condition you may be facing, a physiotherapist will always provide a tailored treatment plan that is specific to your circumstances. This is what makes the expertise of physiotherapists stand out against general doctors.

There are many types of therapies a physiotherapist can administer depending on their patient’s individual requirements. Some injuries may simply require an exercise program to strengthen muscles and regain posture, and some may need manual therapy that can include joint manipulation and resistance training.

However, some injuries and disorders may require long-term, consistent therapy to re-configure everyday repetitiveness. For example, back pain can often be caused by repetitive, manual activities in the workplace. So, in order for the pain to be permanently fixed and helped, the physiotherapist must establish which specific activity is responsible and give their patient a safe but effective alternative they can use instead.

Offering much more than just treatment for sports injuries, qualified physiotherapists boast a vast and specialist skill-set that can be applied to a huge array of disorders, injuries and painful ailments. And, since they can often be found in a wide variety of different locations from your local sports centre to your child’s school, getting in touch with a professional and seeking help couldn’t be easier if you’re suffering from any of the conditions discussed above.

Nicki Llewellyn is the founder of Bodyworks Edinburgh, a massage and physiotherapy clinic in Edinburgh, U.K. Founded in 2013, Nicki and his team set out to help clients improve muscular issues, sports performance and any injuries to bring them back to full health.

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When New Year rolls around, people tend to make resolutions and self-improvement promises to themselves. Fitness goals and losing weight are usually at the top of their lists. But once January and/or February pass, it is common to find motivation has waned. Some people have already moved on without coming close to reaching their goals.

Sound familiar?

This year you really want to stick with it though. So, how do you keep your fitness goals on track during 2017?

1. Schedule in a routine

Scheduling in a workout with its own dedicated block of time makes it’s easier to stay on target. If you’re able to work with being flexible and stick to it, that’s OK too, but keep in mind if you don’t promise yourself specific dedicated time to exercise you leave room for lots of “I’ll do it later”. For many people, after a few weeks the fitness enthusiasm falls to the wayside and before they know it, all goals are out the window and “later” has won. Consistency is important, so make the commitment and stick to it.

2. Set realistic goals

Setting the bar too high, especially in the beginning, tends to set people up for failure. Losing weight and getting fit takes time. Ultimately, it involves lifestyle changes and slow and steady really does win the race. To start, choose exercises you can do without injuring yourself. If you hurt yourself, not only will you feel pain (and not the good workout kind!) but you’ll set yourself back.

3. Clean out the kitchen

It’s essential that you keep those “problem” foods out of your house. Substitute the cookies, chocolates and other less diet-friendly foods with healthier options. After a short period of time, both you and your taste buds won’t miss the junk.

4. Keep track of your progress

It’s helpful to watch your progress as you meet each milestone. Pick a tracking method that appeals to you, for example:

  • An app, a calendar or a journal – this way you have fitness data to compare.

  • Take a photo of yourself once a week and contrast these to see your progress.

  • Keep a video diary – show yourself working out and getting fit and lean.

Tracking your progress can be a high motivator because as the days and weeks pass by, you have a visual to see the accomplishments you’ve made.

5. Try new workouts like suspension training

Try to find new exercises or activities. Varying your workout makes things more interesting, which will keep you engaged as you work towards your goals. For instance, have you considered suspension training? Look into different models of trainers on the market, like the newly introduced suspension trainers from aerobis for a more advanced workout. These are versatile pieces of equipment that can be used to vary your routine up. You can also train several muscle groups at the same time, not to mention it’s extremely portable. As long as you have a sturdy base, you are never far away from your workout.

6. Partner up with other people

Try partnering up with other people who are dedicated to reaching their own fitness goals. Working out with someone else passes the time more quickly and keeps things fun. If you prefer to exercise alone, choose someone you can talk to during those times you feel you want to give up and need encouragement; a person you can contact in moments of weakness if needed.

Or, simply post your goals on social media. If you are planning a specific workout in the morning, tell everyone. People may respond with inspiring comments or ask you how you did. Either way, by putting it out in cyberspace, you’ve increased the accountability factor. Chances are you’ll follow through.

7. Reward yourself

Think of ways to reward yourself that will encourage you to keep going. First, set the goal (i.e. losing 15 pounds, beating your running record or working up to a specified level of workout) and then work towards it. A reward shouldn’t mean a plan to binge eat after you’ve lost those pounds or to go out and max your credit card. Think of something inspiring and fun. Maybe a weekend trip, a spa visit or some new clothes.

Getting started is often easy, but keeping on track is another thing entirely. However, by structuring your fitness goals in a way that makes them achievable, before you know it you’ll be setting your goals for 2018.

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Countries all around the world are investing in bike infrastructures to help cut down on traffic congestion. What many people do not know is the government officials are also hoping that the citizens will be encouraged to ride for their health. Just like walking, biking can offer innumerable benefits that will improve your physical and mental capacity. Below, you will discover 4 health benefits of riding road bikes to and from work.

Improving Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular Fitness

The heart is the largest muscle in the body and if it is compromised by disease, you will not be able to function normally. In fact, the heart is responsible for the continuous circulation of blood throughout the entire body. It is basically a circulatory pump that works continuously, taking in deoxygenated blood and pumping out oxygenated blood. Riding a bike 30 minutes a day can definitely improve your cardiovascular fitness, along with decreasing your risks of coronary artery disease (CAD).

Builds Strong Muscles

When you are cycling, you are utilizing every muscle in your body. You are utilizing the lower half of your body, when you are peddling, even the muscles in your buttocks, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. This is a low-impact exercise that does not put stress on the joints, which is great for riders, who suffer from arthritic symptoms related to rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

You are also utilizing your upper body muscles to push forward and maneuver the bike. All in all, this is one of the best physical activities that anyone can partake in. There is no doubt that cycling will build muscle mass throughout the entire body.

Burns Calories

Cycling burns more calories than walking, since you are moving at a much faster pace. Riding your bike back and forth to work will help you maintain a healthy weight. While you are peddling and pushing the bike forward, you are boosting your metabolism, which is why you are able to burn more calories. Exercising outdoors will put you in a better mood and encourage you to push your body even harder.

Mental Status

Millions of people hop aboard a public transportation vehicle every morning and evening, just to get back and forth to work. Not only is the public transportation system extremely busy, but the buses, trams and subway cars can also be extremely overcrowded. Just one person acting ugly can ruin the entire trip and put you in a foul mood. Riding a bike on a state-of-art infrastructure will not be overcrowded, so you will not need to deal with other moody people or strangers. While you are riding, you will be able to check out the scenery and enjoy a little peace and quite.

It is a scientific fact that cycling will improve mental health. Being in a good mood, before entering a place of business, will definitely help you endure the stressors that go along with being employed. The ride back home  on a good bike will also help you burn off some steam, so you can enjoy your family time, without stewing on your workday.

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Muscle growth has always been the epitome of the greatness of a real, powerful man. His muscles sets him apart, even though he may not be able to hold the telephone to the same ear because of the biceps. This Arnold Schwarzenegger myth is actually true, and almost has a legendary reputation in gymnasiums across the world. The seniors in any machine room are in fact tangible testimonies of this awesomeness.

Be Responsible

However, the bodybuilder community is also concerned about the missing symmetry of supplement and training. It is crucial to pursue a schedule of balanced growth, otherwise, the body loses its proportions due to heavy growth at some parts, and an unbalanced sense of appearance thereto. Slipknot lead guitarist Corey Taylor recently posted a photo on social media that soon became the subject of discussions as to whether his neck is thicker than it should be. Many bodybuilders appear to have smaller heads due to hectic shoulder and neck muscles. The point to note here is that using non-prescription products such as Phen375, adoption of adequate personal responsibility is imperative.

Helpful information

You must be cautious about the safety of use. Side effects include enlarged heart muscles due to increased blood flow over a considerable time. It also causes damage to the liver and kidney besides developing dizziness if diet and rest are insufficient. Phentermine is a prescription drug, but its alternative phen375 for bodybuilders is only available at reliable online pharmacies. Developing a phen stack marks the practical metaphor for muscle building objectives. The product is delivered by an anonymous packaging as a mean to help the muscle brothers’ community to prosper by mutual help and sharing. The courier does not raise an eyebrow, and you can use it for your personal training as long as people who need not need to know about it gets to find you with a scheduled substance.

Always remember, that in this case, the physical finding does not only mean the availability of the product in your home/gym but also in your body during a professional pre-event dope test. Athletes need to be extra careful about its usage and plan the stacked schedule in the right way to remove the traces of this product by detoxification and neutralization just on time before the prestigious event. It should be beneficial in remembering the chronicles of Lance Armstrong, the ace cyclist. The multiple Tour de France Champion and Olympic medalist eventually lost everything. Such information is not meant to scare you, but warn you on the importance of cautiousness.

Follow Body Clock

The sense of personal responsibility does not grow overnight. You would need to learn it by strict endeavors and tough trials. Keep a close look on the signs of your body clock as you run a stacked schedule. Do not forego the essential importance of pumping enough iron with the extra boost phen375 delivers, almost instantaneously. A significant portion of the muscle growth by using supplements is almost instantaneous due to the increased action of hormones. However, after the initial activity boost phase, the following stages include tolerance buildup, and eventually settling down when you are in between stack cycles. Plan the dosage accordingly with the changing response of the body to the compound.

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The process of produced a plan on transport and the environment

Problems with roads

Air Quality

Ambitions for the city – cycling

Vision for the environment

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We Must All Take Greater Responsibility For Our Own Health

Society today is less active than ever before. Meanwhile, demands on our health service have reached unprecedented levels. This is not a coincidence.

Our living and working environments have been stripped of movement, with drastic consequences. Technology has taken us from hunter-gatherers to smartphone takeaway swipers, offering easy calories with none of the requisite exertion to maintain a healthy weight.

As with any complex issue, turning the tide on our country’s inactivity epidemic requires a range of innovative solutions and collaborative efforts.

Today, I’ll address nearly 600 thought leaders from the fields of health, politics and physical activity at the ukactive National Summit in London. The conference will outline ukactive’s Blueprint for an Active Britain and the role that exercise can play in safeguarding the future of the NHS.

The need for concerted action is pressing. Physical inactivity causes twice as many deaths as obesity and costs the UK economy an estimated £20billion each year. Living a sedentary lifestyle significantly increases risk of up to 20 conditions including heart disease, type-2 diabetes, cancers and mental health problems.

For the NHS, tasked with finding billions in efficiency savings by 2020, around 70% of its budget is currently consumed by the treatment of long-term conditions such as the above.

Put simply, if we want the NHS to survive and indeed thrive, we need a radical shift towards prevention over cure. Our focus must switch from waiting to treat illness to proactively promoting wellness.

Since 1948, the NHS has been a central pillar of our society. It has been there to support us throughout our lives – from birth, to parenthood, in our most vulnerable moments and right through to our final days.

Now it’s time for the public to support the NHS. We must empower people to take responsibility for their health by making the right lifestyle choices.

With its unrivalled network of facilities and ever-growing expertise in behaviour change, the physical activity sector could be perfectly placed to take the strain off our overstretched health service.

We have seen countless examples of how integrated health and wellbeing services can transform communities when aligned to the facilities and services of the physical activity sector.

That’s why I’m calling for the government’s Industrial Strategy to lead a £1billion regeneration scheme to transform the UK’s ageing fleet of leisure centres into new community wellness hubs.

These wellness hubs combine swimming pools, gyms and sports halls, with GP drop-in centres, libraries and police services, to create a one-stop-shop for public services.

Yes, it’s a big ask at a time of tight budgets. But this level of investment is a drop in the ocean compared to the cost to the NHS of a full-blown inactivity epidemic.

It is a fraction of the cost of the £55billion HS2 project or the £17billion Third Runway, and yet it could save thousands of lives.

The Government’s Industrial Strategy must recognise that our public health infrastructure is just as important as our train or plane networks.

With government borrowing costs at an all-time low, now is the perfect opportunity to invest in our future. Transforming our infrastructure to inspire movement can catalyse the cultural shift needed to inspire a more active Britain.

Putting physical activity – described by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges as a miracle cure – at the heart of community infrastructure is the only long-term solution to save the NHS from bankruptcy.

It is time to take the bold and radical decisions to integrate physical activity into our daily lives. For the sake of our health and that of the NHS, we must all take responsibility.

This article first appeared in the Huffington Post

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There is a common misconception that in order to develop a muscular physique, you need to hit the gym at least five days a week. If you want a super ripped body, then a gym membership is probably going to help you hit your goal. However, the truth is that gym membership is not essential, particularly if you are a novice.

Press up

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If your goal is to build some muscle mass so you look hot on the beach, body weight exercises and some free weights will do the trick. More serious body builders’ use Focus Performance supplements to improve muscle gain and aid recovery, but to begin with, you can start your training program with some simple body weight exercises.

The Plank

The Plank is a tough exercise to master, but once you can hold a plank for at least 30 seconds, your abs are well on the way to being rock hard. The Plank is painful when done correctly, but it is the best way to build core strength, particularly in the lower back. Once you have great abs, your next goal is to shift the fat so other people can actually see them.

Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups

Pull-ups and chin-ups can be done using a door frame or on a kid’s climbing frame. You start from a hanging position and then slowly lift your body weight until you touch the bar or frame with your chin. The movements need to be controlled and slow to gain the maximum benefit. With pull-ups your palms face away; with chin-ups your palms face towards you.

Squats

Squats are not as easy as they first appear. Stand with your feet apart and your arms stretched out. Drop slowly, bending at the knee and pushing your hips back. Keep your head up and your back straight before moving back into an upright position. You can make the exercise harder by adding weights. You can also move from the squat position into a star jump, and then repeat.

Push-Ups

Push-ups are great for the upper body and core. If you find regular pus-ups too difficult at first, perform the exercise against a wall or kitchen worktop. The technique is the same, except you are not pushing your full body weight. Once you have cracked the push-up and it feels way too easy, progress to one-arm push-ups or start clapping in between push-ups.

Bicep Curls

To perform a bicep curl, you need a dumbbell or heavy object. Sit down and rest one hand on your knee whilst holding the dumbbell in the other hand. Slowly flex your bicep as you lift the weight. For best results, combine with triceps extensions.

All of these exercises can be performed at home or in a hotel room, with no equipment. A small set of weights is useful for the biceps and triceps exercises, but you can easily substitute heavy objects around the home in place of weights if necessary. The important thing is to be consistent and work out regularly. That way you will see better results.

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Not everyone has the time to go to the gym or fitness club for regular workouts. Nevertheless, if you want to keep fit, there are other options available now, which do not require you to visit a fitness centre. You can do your fitness workout inside your home, with the aid of advance methodologies such as video streaming and especially created and customised exercise routines based on your fitness level. Termed as on-demand workout, you’ll be able to do your routine anytime, anywhere on various electronic devices, such as an Android tablet, an iPad, Android TV, Smart TV, Kindle Fire tablets, Roku or Xbox 360. On-demand workout providers, such as LesMills, provide free apps that you can download and install on your favourite device. Mind you, these workout routines are developed by health and fitness experts, ensuring that you’ll be able to safely keep fit at home.

On-demand workouts are as rewarding and challenging as the exercises you’ll do in the gym. They are usually about 20-30 minutes long, in a variety of workouts, including core, flexibility, high-intensity interval training, strength and cardio exercises. There are many benefits to be gained from on-demand workouts, some of which are detailed below.

Benefits of working out at home

When you go to the gym, you have to buy gym wear. For one thing, it is a regulation. For another, you do not want to stand out while the other gym goers are in their best gear. Just think how convenient it would be to exercise at home then. You do not have to invest in spiffy gym outfits, which cost money. You can don your old gym clothes and no one would mind. You do not have to worry about matching socks either.

The gym can be a lonely place when you are not working with a personal trainer. It is difficult to know what you are supposed to do and where to start. With on-demand workouts, you can sign, up, select the class you want and enjoy the customised video. Within a short time, usually about half an hour, you will experience the right kind of workout for your level, with the instructor on video working with you directly. It’s like having a personal trainer working one-on-one. The trainer guides you on how and what you should be feeling.

You have a small investment by enrolling in an on-demand class, but you’ll have savings as well. You save on gas, gym wear and gym bag and other fancy things that you might be enticed to buy.

You can focus on your workout and push yourself to the limit when you’re at home. You do not have to contend with distractions you’ll find at a fitness centre. There will be no one rushing you through your routine and no one waiting to use shared equipment, if any. You can enjoy the rest time in full as there are no other people waiting for you.

You’ll save time, too. You do not have to worry about traffic and the commute to the centre. You do not need to wait to use a certain equipment. There’s no waiting for a shower room to be available during peak hours in the gym. Moreover, you do not need to go out during a snowstorm or heavy rain just to exercise. You can be warm and cosy inside your home while doing your routine.

You do not have to go to a fitness centre to exercise as long as you are determined that you want to stay fit and healthy. Your home is an ideal place to do your exercise routine, with both serious and fun benefits. Find the right on-demand workout for you from the customised routines provided by trusted health and fitness centers like LesMills, which is available in several countries, and never miss out on your fitness regimen.

stretching

 Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Going to the gym every week offers many health benefits. Although many people limit the benefits of working out to body building, the sedentary life and increasing volume of processed food we consume daily makes it imperative for us to go for a rigorous workout regularly to stay fit. If you are still hesitant about visiting the gym, here are some of the key benefits it can provide for you.

Gym Exercise Controls Weight

When you go on the treadmill or carry weights, you burn a lot of calories. As you increase the intensity of your workout, you will burn even more calories. Burning about 500 pounds per day will enable you to lose up to 3500 calories after 7 days, which is equivalent to 1 pound per week. Exercise also raises your rate of metabolism and causes your body to burn fat faster even after you have completed your workout in the gym. Thus, you will be able to lose weight and prevent the accumulation of excess fat.

Visiting the Gym Helps to Cut Down Stress and Anxiety
Working out in the gym at least 3 to 5 times a week can relieve you of stress and make you less sensitive to anxiety. Intense physical exercise promotes the secretion of different chemicals in your brain. For instance, the hormone norepinephrine is secreted in greater quantity by the adrenals of the brain in response to physical exercise. This hormone is a neurotransmitter that modifies the way your brain and the rest of your nervous system responds to stress. In addition, exercise causes the release of endorphins, which make you feel good, improve your mood and reduce the occurrence of anxiety and depression.

Helps You to Build Muscles

Virtually all gyms have equipment that you need to develop various muscle groups in your body. Gyms also have experienced fitness trainers who can guide you in your quest to have a stronger and more attractive body shape. Apart from the aerobic exercise equipment like treadmills, you can use the variety of weights and other strength training devices to develop the muscles of your shoulder, arms, chest, abdomen, hips and calves. However, for faster muscle growth, you should also consider increasing your intake of protein before and after your workout. To help you accomplish this, a huge variety of protein powders and supplements have been developed. Examples include whey protein, casein protein, gluten free protein, lactose free protein, natural protein and mass gainers.

Exercise Improves Disease Control

Regular gym exercise can reduce your risk of developing various medical conditions including: diabetes, breast and colon cancer. Exercise improves blood circulation to all parts of the body and aids the removal of waste products and free radicals that can be oxidized to form dangerous chemicals and cancerous growth. In addition, building up your muscles enables you to have greater flexibility and a wider range of motion, which helps to prevent you from falling or developing conditions like arthritis and other joint diseases.

Working out in the gym boosts your health and energy levels. So you should endeavour to go to your neighbourhood gym every week to workout and improve your health and well being.

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North West Leicestershire is about to publish its Local Plan. An inch thick, this pedestrian document tells us that this Council will co-ordinate a wide range of other organisations to ensure infrastructure is provided at the right time and in the right place to absorb the impact of new housing developments and provide for the health needs of people moving into the area.

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

At a recent Policy Development Group, a cross-party committee of elected Members pursued the fate of £1.3M of developer contributions for health that remained unspent, some of it at risk of being paid back.

Lacking a root cause analysis local GPs, NHS England and Council planners were involved in a blame game. The tangle of red tape, risked developers laughing at the public sector as they re-pocket money returned with interest.

Teasing this mess apart has allowed some funds to escape the log-jam and NHS England we are now spending some s106 money on Long Lane Surgery in Coalville and on a surgery in Measham. But I am not taken in by this snippet of good news. Nor do I trust in future solutions such as moving to a Community Infrastructure Levy. My GP informants still describe a legal system that makes easing this money out of the bureaucracy so difficult that most clinicians give up.

Remaining focused on funding GP premises, when so much else is pushing healthcare into the abyss, is almost certainly not enough. A Local Plan with vision would look beyond the immediate needs of service providers, such as GPs to the wider determinants of public health.

Loneliness is a killer. Thanks to the developer-centric demands of the National Planning Policy Framework, the Council’s plans for cultural facilities in Policy IF2 grudgingly allow their expansion if the community can prove an increase in demand.

After the closure of the iconic Snibston Discovery Museum perhaps I should not complain that the Plan appears to major instead on preventing existing community buildings from being demolished.

My colleagues in public health should be pleased to see that the Plan does have a detailed section on transport infrastructure. The Royal College of Physicians reports that there are 40000 deaths a year due to poor air quality mostly from exacerbations of asthma and COPD. We know that we have road junctions that repeatedly breach air quality guidelines including the Copt Oak and Broom Leys junctions.

According to the RAC North West Leicestershire along with neighbours South Derbyshire are in the top 10 Districts where working people are obliged to use their private car to go to work.

It is axiomatic that wealthier communities are healthier communities. Ensuring people in North West Leicestershire can access properly paid employment has to be a key public health strategy.

In supporting this Plan going forward for consultation, I am therefore particularly pleased to support Policy IF5 in which North West Leicestershire, in direct contrast to the County Council, commits itself to supporting the provision of public transport on the Leicester to Burton line.

Providing East-West connectivity and putting the former mining town Coalville of back on the railway map, as HS2 looks increasingly unaffordable, it would be good to get national support for this important public health intervention.

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(arising from member policy day held on 18/6/16 in Birmingham)

AUTHORS: Val Little and Jacky Chambers

Improving the health of our people and the health of the poorest fastest is a cornerstone of the socialist programme. Improving health requires policy intervention across a range of traditionally silo policy areas – it is a cross-cutting theme.

Example: Tackling the hazard to health posed by air pollution

Outdoor air pollution is a major hazard to health (causes an estimated 40,000 deaths a year, increased lung and heart disease, risks to the baby in the womb and lifelong damage to the lung function of exposed1i).

AIR POLLUTION INEQUALITIES

In England, exposure to air pollution is mainly an urban problem and strongly associated with areas of deprivation. Estimatesii iii suggest that around 11% of neighbourhoods (circa 5.7 million people are exposed to NO2 levels of pollution higher than that recommended by the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive.

20 per cent of deprived neighbourhoods had higher air pollution levels than the least deprived neighbourhoods – 1.5 µg/m3 higher PM10 and 4.4 µg/m3 NO2 after adjusting for other factors.

The worst air pollution is experienced in ethnic minority (> 20% non white neighbourhoods).

Biggest differences in exposure to air pollution between communities are seen in London.

HEALTH INEQUALTIES

These pollution inequalities contribute to worse health in those communities – for example, children living in highly polluted areas are 4 times more likely to have reduced lung function when adults.

POLICY MEASURES

Road transportation is now the largest single pollutant source (one third of UK emissions of oxides of nitrogen, mostly from diesel; verging on one fifth of UK emissions of particulate matter, again mostly from diesel; one third of UK total of carcinogenic benzene emissions- petrol combustion)iv.

Reducing the harm caused by air pollution from road transportation requires action across a range of policy areas by:

  1. Safety regulation – making vehicles cleaner and less polluting
  2. Reducing the volume of road traffic and exposure of local communities to pollution from road traffic

1 Safety regulation – making vehicles cleaner and less polluting

  • support tighter EU standards to reduce vehicle emissions (contributing to accelerated achievement of Gothenburg protocolv standards)
  • ensure independent verification of vehicle testing – no more VWs
  • develop an industrial strategy which promotes switch to electric vehicles , incentivises research, development and production based on renewable energy sources , puts UK in lead and creates new jobs.
  • introduce road tax regimes which further encourage companies and people to buy and run less polluting vehicles.
  • give metropolitan councils more powers to create and enforce low emission zonesvi

2 Reduce volume of road traffic

1 Amend land use planning framework and regulations to

  • promote mixed development aimed at reduced car journeys to shops and work;
  • define proximity limits for major roads to new residential developments schools and nurseries and give guidance to Highways Authorities and Planning Inspectors to reject new developments in air pollution hot spots
  • require walking and cycling infrastructure as part of planning approval process

2. Create a modal shift (at least 5%) towards greener forms of transport

  • develop an air quality control plan which is underpinned by public spending /spending review on programmes and local transport plans which change ratio of investment in cycling and walking infrastructure from eg 11% : from 4% to 25% of total transport budget by 2020/21
  • subsidise public transport so that it is cheaper than costs of driving by car (eg between 1997-2015 motoring costs decreased by 10% while rail fares increased by 23% and bus fares increased by 25%)vii
  • reinvigorate use of rail for freight as part of a publicly owned rail system.
  • reverse impact of LA cuts in bus services (eg since 2010 80% of local authorities have reduced school buses)

Measures to reduce environmental air pollution inequality and the health impact of this pollution should focus on cutting vehicle emissions in deprived urban neighbourhoods.

References

i Royal College of Physicians Every breath we take: The Lifelong impact of Air Pollution Report of a Working Party February 2016 https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution

ii Fecht, D. et al. ‘Associations between air pollution and socioeconomic characteristics, ethnicity and age profile of neighbourhoods in England and the Netherland’,Environmental Pollution (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2014.12.014

iii  Davis A. Submission to the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health. Input paper: Transport and pollution. 1998

iv National Air Emissions Inventory http://naei.defra.gov.uk/overview/ap-overview

vi Campaign for Better Transport letter to Rory Stewart MP 18th August 2015. http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/sites/default/files/pdfs/Air-pollution-Rory-Stewart-letter.pdf

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The “inverse care law” is the principle that the availability of good medical or social care tends to vary inversely with the need of the population served. Proposed by a GP, Julian Tudor Hart in 1971, it is a pun on the “inverse-square law” a concept from physics.

This is hardly a new idea. It was published by another doctor, St Luke, 2000 years ago. In a conversation with Zacheus the taxman, Jesus concludes a story with the pithy comment,

‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’

The Inverse Care Law is alive and well here in North West Leicestershire. According to statistics released by Rail Minister Claire Perry on June 8th, the East Midlands received the lowest railway investment per head in 2014-15.

With rail investment of £34 per head of population the East Midlands received less than a tenth of the funding given to London (£353) and a third of that invested in Yorkshire and Humber (£98) and the North West ( £93). Even the East of England did better (£71) leaving the East Midlands languishing at the bottom of the table even lower than South West (£35).

This is not due to a lack of need. In 2013 the RAC Foundation reported in ‘The Car and the Commute’ that, outside London, 60-70% of workers need a car to get to work. With severe pockets of income deprivation, scarce bus and rail services and slow journeys even where public transport is available, both North West Leicestershire and South Derbyshire are in the top ten English and Welsh local authorities for car dependency with 80% of working adults having to travel to work by car/van.

With air pollution causing 40,000 deaths a year and fossil fuels driving global climate change, surely something must be done?

Continuing to lobby

After receiving a report from consultants AECOM, Leicestershire’s cross-party Environment & Transport Scrutiny Committee recommended to Cabinet that Leicestershire County Council “should continue to lobby nationally and regionally for the upgrade of the Leicester to Burton Line”.

Should we be surprised then that, despite this advice, the Conservative Cabinet decided on the 17th June that “the County Council will undertake no further investigatory work on the proposal at this time.”

Leicestershire’s determination to quash the heightened “interest amongst the general public, local elected representatives and many other stakeholders about the proposal of reopening the Leicester to Burton Line to passenger traffic” is in direct contrast to our neighbours Lincolnshire County Council.

Expressing disappointment at the low level of rail investment in the East Midlands, Lincolnshire have spotted an opportunity.

The East Midlands rail franchise will be re-let by the Department of Transport soon. Lincolnshire will be using that opportunity to lobby for better rail services for their County. According to Andrew Roden (Rail Magazine) their shopping list includes “a bridge over the East Coast Main Line near Newark to allow more services to run on the Lincoln to Nottingham line.”

It appears that North West Leicestershire doesn’t just lack investment in rail infrastructure. It also lacks a ruling elite with the political will to go out and fight for it.

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