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Public should focus on brisk walking not number of steps

The public are being encouraged to take a brisk walk daily rather than focus on distance walked

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 05 June 2018

Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) are encouraging adults to incorporate brisk walking into their days as a way to improve their general health and wellbeing rather than focusing on counting steps to hit 10,000.

With an estimated three million middle-aged adults physically inactive across the country, health experts are encouraging people to increase the intensity of their walking, rather than just focus on the distance covered or number of steps taken.

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 can reduce their risk of early death by up to 15%.

To help adults do this, PHE has created an "Active 10" app 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.

A new survey by PHE looking at people’s perceptions of physical activity found that many adults struggle to fit in exercise and half of these think more than 240 minutes of exercise per week is required to see general health benefits - nearly double the recommended guidance.

Nearly nine in 10 (87%) say they walk more than 10 minutes per day, however only just over half (54%) walk briskly for this time

Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at PHE, said: “Managing all the pressures of everyday life can mean that exercise takes a back seat, but building a brisk walk into your daily routine is a simple way to get more active.

“The Active 10 app gives you a clear picture of the intensity of your walk. Taking a brisk 10-minute walk each day will get your heart pumping, improve your mood and lower the risk of serious health issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The RCGP is really pleased to have endorsed the Active 10 app, which empowers patients to make basic lifestyle changes around diet and exercise, such as taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes a day and suggests ways for patients to easily incorporate these into their lives.”

Already 600,000 people have downloaded the "Active 10" app. In a single month, approximately two million "Active 10s" (10-minute brisk walks) were completed by "Active 10" users.

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