A Bradford health trust is promoting its walking programme after experts warned that being inactive is almost as bad for us as smoking.

The claim, in a report in Lancet, said lack of physical activity is a “silent epidemic” that is leading to thousands of early deaths from heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

The warnings come as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) publishes new guidance aimed at getting councils, schools and businesses to help people become more active. Nice has said more people should be encouraged to keep fit by incorporating walking and cycling into their everyday lives.

Twenty regular health walks, led by volunteer leaders as part of Bradford District Care Trust’s Champions Show the Way programme, take place across the district.

Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.

Sarah Jones, programme information lead said: “Health walks are not about rambling, hiking or 'power walking', they are just short led walks in your local area at your own pace. All our walks are led by qualified, friendly walk leaders who will welcome you to the group and support you on your walk.”

The majority of walks are 60 minutes and may include some inclines or steps.

Denholme Walkers, a new walking group, end their walk on a Thursday morning with a cup of tea. There’s time to chat on the Monday morning walk around Holme Wood, and parks are also included in the timetable with the Friends of Bowling Park meeting on a Tuesday morning.

A longer, slow paced walk is offered by the Bolton Wanderers every second Tuesday morning.

To find out about health walks in your local area, call Champions Show the Way on (01274) 321911.