Responding to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ report, Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of General Practitionerss, said: “There is no doubt that exercise is beneficial for our patients’ physical and mental health – but the extent of the benefits, as outlined in this report, are astounding.
“Cancer, dementia, type-2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease limit our patients’ lives – as well as costing the NHS in excess of billions every year – so whatever we can do to help prevent these should be encouraged.
“GPs are well-placed to educate our patients about the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle and today’s report shows how incorporating a modest amount of exercise into our daily routines can ensure our long-term health.
“But simply telling patients what to do is not enough – long-term behaviour change is very hard and requires ongoing support and access to help over time.
“We need more resources in general practice and more GPs so that we can spend more time with our patients on preventing them getting ill, as well as caring for them when they are ill.”