A daily brisk 10-minute walk boosts health

A new physical activity campaign from Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging adults to build just 10 minutes of brisk walking into their day to improve their health.

The campaign is a response to PHE’s findings that four out of 10 adults aged 40 to 60 in England walk for fewer than 10 minutes continuously at a brisk pace – not during the course of a day or a week, but during a month. That, says PHE, is the equivalent of more than six million people who are missing out on the crucial health benefits of physical activity.

PHE’s survey also show that people in the UK are 20 percent less active now than they were during the 1960s, while the average person walks 15 fewer miles a year than 20 years ago. Why? The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health, PHE experts claim.

If you have an inactive or low-activity lifestyle and find it difficult to include activity into your day, this campaign could help get you fitter, not to mention live longer. Taking at least one brisk 10-minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15 percent, says PHE. A 10-minute walk can also contribute towards the recommended physical activity guidance of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week, which is believed to lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 40 percent, cardiovascular disease by 35 percent, dementia by 30 percent and some cancers by 20 percent.

Active app

To help get you moving and your heart pumping, PHE has developed an app called Active 10 in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

Endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the app shows how much brisk walking you do each day as well as how to incorporate more of it into your lifestyle. Your GP may even recommend it to you as a way to help manage an existing condition or to help prevent the negative health impact of inactivity.

“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.

“The Active 10 app is a free and easy way to help anyone build more brisk walking into their daily routine. It combines walking intensity and time, rather than just distance or steps and is the first of its kind. It helps people gradually introduce more activity into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips. It has already helped 50,000 adults get more active.”

Download the Active 10 app today at www.nhs.uk/oneyou/active10.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also give you lots of tips about how to incorporate more physical activity in your daily life. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.