10 minutes of brisk walking can improve the health of East Midlands residents

editorial image

Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) are advising adults in the East Midlands focus on 10 minutes of brisk walking a day.

Health experts have recommended 10 minutes of brisk walking, and not just counting 10,000 steps to improve their health.

As part of the push to get adults doing more moderate intensity physical activity each day, health experts are encouraging people to increase the intensity of their walking, rather than just focus on the distance or number of steps.

Moderate intensity physical activity means getting the heart rate up and breathing faster.

Just 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is an easy way for adults to introduce more moderate intensity physical activity into their day and reduce their risk of early death by up to 15%.

A new survey by PHE looking at adults perceptions of physical activity in the East Midlands found that:

• Many adults struggle to fit in exercise - not having enough time (31%) was the main reason cited, followed by not feeling motivated (28%) and being too tired (25%).

• Nearly half of adults (48%) think more than 240 minutes of exercise per week is required to see general health benefits – nearly double the recommended guidance of at least 150 minutes – and one in seven (13%) think that more than 420 minutes per week is required (an hour per day)

• Nearly nine in 10 (89%) say they walk more than 10 minutes per day, however this drops to just over half (58%) who say they walk briskly for this amount of time.

In England, one in five middle aged adults are physically inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week

PHE is encouraging adults in the East Midlands to join the 600,000 across the country who have downloaded the free ‘Active 10’ app in order to briskly walk into a healthier life

With an estimated 3 million middle-aged adults physically inactive across the country and with 40% of adults (40 - 60 years old) in the East Midlands not managing at least 10 continuous minutes each month, PHE and RCGP are encouraging adults to incorporate brisk walking into their days as a way to improve their general health and wellbeing.

To help adults do this, PHE’s ‘Active 10’ app has been created and it is the only app of its kind that combines intensity and time, rather than just distance.

Taking a 10 minute brisk walk each day can help build up towards the UK Chief Medical Officers’ recommendation of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

This has been linked to health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

In adults, physical inactivity contributes to one in six deaths in the UK, and costs the NHS over £0.5 billion per year.

Ann Crawford, Deputy Director Health of Wellbeing and Workforce Development at PHE East Midlands said: “Fitting in exercise around everyday life isn’t always easy but small changes to your daily routine can have huge benefits to your health.

“Getting off the bus or tram a stop early or going for a brisk ten minute walk on your lunch break each day can add many healthy years to your life.

“Already we have 25,000 users of the Active 10 app who are monitoring their walking intensity and time, rather than distance or steps which tend to be the common ways in which people monitor walking.

“It is great to see that in less than a year, the number of people aged 40-60 who walk briskly for at least 10 continuous minutes each month has improved and we hope to help many more gradually introduce more activity into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips.”

Already over 25,000 people in the East Midlands have downloaded the ‘Active 10’ app and in a single month, approximately 237,000 ‘Active 10s’ (ten-minute brisk walks) were completed by Active 10 users.

• ‘Active 10’ is supported by the RCGP and was developed by PHE in collaboration with The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

Search ‘Active 10’ to download the app for free.