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New App encourages adults to walk briskly for 10 minutes a day to improve health

29th Sep 2017
New App encourages adults to walk briskly for 10 minutes a day to improve health

(Image: Public Health England)

We all know that we need to get regular exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle but it would seem that with our modern lifestyles many of us are just too inactive.

A recent survey has shown that nearly half of adults in the UK  go for a brisk walk even once a month. In fact, health bosses have reported that 45% of over 16-year-olds are so sedentary they do not even manage a health-boosting ten-minute walk. Terming our lack of exercise as an ‘inactivity epidemic’, Public Health England (PHE) officials have launched a new app to try and get adults to engage in 10 minutes brisk walking each day in a bid to boost our activity levels and improve the nation’s health.

Public Health England officials, the Government body tasked with trying to improve the nation’s health, reported their finding from a survey of 200,000 adults.

They found that 41% (more than 6 million adults) aged between 40 and 60 were putting their busy lives ahead of their health and failed to achieve just 10 minutes of brisk walking per month. The results for other age groups were also worrying; with 43% of those in their 20s and 30s, and 52% of those in their 70s not managing a monthly brisk walk. According to the PHE health bosses, half of over 16-year-olds are so sedentary they do not even manage a ten-minute walk once per day.

For years the NHS guidelines have recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (this can include walking, swimming, cycling, gardening etc) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. However, health bosses have acknowledged this might be too ambitious for many adults and that to kick-start a more active lifestyle they are promoting their One You campaign – active 10, designed to encourage at least 10 minutes brisk walking a day. They have launched an app that you can download onto your phone, to try and encourage adults to get out for a moderate walk for ten minutes every day and build up to the higher target. Experts define a brisk walk as a speed of three miles an hour – enough to make you feel a bit warm and make your heart beat faster.

It is hoped the more achievable target of 10 minutes brisk walking a day will encourage adults to get up and moving, be it in their lunch hour, on the way to or from work or a walk to the shops. Health officials are hoping that starting off with an achievable target it will encourage people to think more about including some exercise into their daily routine helping to maintain their health – leading a more active lifestyle.

A sedentary lifestyle is a major threat to public health and many studies have shown that physical inactivity directly contributes to one in six deaths in the UK and is costing the NHS over £900million a year. Being sedentary increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, being overweight, developing diabetes and other health issues. In Britain, 67% of adult men and 57% of adult women are overweight – well above the global average.

It is hoped that adults will take up the challenge and include some brisk walking in their daily activities – and even start to walk for longer distances once they have got into the habit. There are many benefits of brisk walking, including improved fitness, maintaining the physical activity that in turn helps to make it easier to perform everyday tasks, improvements in mood, quality of life, a healthier weight and an overall 15% reduction in risk of early death.

Rachel Kayani

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