How to be more active every day

There's much evidence to suggest the more time we spend sitting the more likely we are to have health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, heart problems, weight problems and certain types of cancer.

Yet according to the NHS, many adults in the UK spend seven hours or more sitting or lying each day – and that increases to 10 hours or more a day in older people.

The good news is you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to be more active. Adopting an active lifestyle, where you simply incorporate more activity in your daily routine, is much more easy to achieve and stick to.

One way to do just that is have a brisk 10-minute walk every day. This is the idea behind Public Health England’s Active 10 campaign, which encourages adults to build 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health. The campaign was launched as PHE research showed more than six million adults aged 40 – 60 don’t achieve 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month.

Taking at least one brisk 10-minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15 percent, say PHE experts. And it can contribute to meeting the government’s physical activity guidance of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.

Brisk means walking faster than usual at a pace that gets your heart pumping. Then once you’re having one 10-minute brisk walk on a regular basis, the aim is to gradually build up to more.

There’s even a smartphone app available that can help you check how many minutes of brisk walking you’re doing and keep track of your progress. Find out how to download the app – and about the Active 10 campaign in general – by visiting www.nhs.uk/oneyou/active10.

Every bit helps

To make that 10-minute walk part of your daily routine, try walking instead of driving your car using public transport or by having a walk at lunchtime instead of eating sandwiches at your desk.

“I know first hand that juggling the priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat,” says Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE. “Walking to the shops instead of driving or going for a brisk 10-minute walk on your lunch break each day can add many healthy years to your life.”

Besides having a brisk 10-minute walk, other short bursts of activity throughout the day can make a difference to your activity levels too. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Use the stairs instead of the lift
  • Do some vigorous housework or gardening
  • Play and run around with your children or grandchildren
  • Walk your children to school instead of driving them
  • Get off the bus early and walk the rest of the way
  • Stand up when you’re using the telephone (if you have a cordless phone you could also walk around as you chat)
  • If you’re buying a sandwich for lunch, don’t just go to the nearest food store – walk to one that’s further away than the shop you normally use
  • When you have to use your car, don’t park outside your front door, leave it further away

For lots of tips on being more active, why not have a chat with your local Careway pharmacist?

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.