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Evidence to support the benefits of physical activity for health is abundant. Yet, physical activity levels are in decline, contributing to an increasing prevalence of chronic disease.1 Two-thirds of men and three-quarters of women do less than 30 min of moderate-intensity physical activity on >5 days a week.2 An increase in car travel, particularly for short journeys, is one factor associated with the loss of habitual physical activity.3
To encourage uptake of physical activity, supportive environments including recreational facilities have been shown to be valuable in promoting and sustaining an active lifestyle. The presence of recreational facilities nearby has been found to be associated with their use, as well as meeting physical activity guidelines.4,5
Within the workplace, taking action to promote physical activity reduces absenteeism, increases productivity and contributes to cutting healthcare costs.6 On-site workplace sports and activity clubs can provide a forum for promoting good social contact among employees and opportunities for carrying out physical activity during the working day.7
Figure 1 shows a new car park developed on a site that was once a tennis court within a worksite environment. Previously, employees benefited from being able to incorporate a game of tennis into their working day or after work. However, with the increased demand for car parking, the tennis court was re-developed and a car park constructed.
The loss of this tennis court demonstrates that the organisations’ priorities are focused on supporting car travel and parking rather than physical activity. Protecting facilities that support physical activity within worksites is important in terms of occupational and public health.