New advice from government body Public Health England says that walking briskly for ten minutes every day can cut your chances of an early death by 15%.
According to the NHS a regular 10 minute brisk walk can help people with lower back pain and those at risk of high blood pressure, and contribute to long-term health, reducing your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers.
Public Health England has launched the Active 10 app, which measures how quickly and for how long you walk – rather than just measuring distance or number of steps.
Professor Sir Muir Gray, who was the clinical adviser for the app, said: ‘The additional health benefits that can be achieved by walking at a brisk pace for periods of 10 minutes or more – as opposed to totting up a certain number of steps throughout the day – are undeniable. I’d advise anyone of any age and activity level to start to fit in at least one 10-minute brisk walk a day as a simple way to get more active.’ Over half a million people have already downloaded the free app.
The definition of ‘brisk’ is about 3 miles an hour, which should be enough to get your heart pumping and feeling slightly out of breath (the app will show you when you’re going fast enough). It should feel noticeably faster than how you regularly walk.
While many people aim to hit 10,000 steps a day, the new advice shifts the focus to speed (the campaign’s slogan is ‘Walk fast, feel better’). So next time you’re heading to the bus stop or popping to the shops, try picking up the pace.
The existing advice to aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week still stands, but with 1 in 5 adults in the UK being physically inactive, Public Health England say starting with a daily burst of brisk walking is the best way to start working towards the guidelines – ‘We would encourage you to build more into your day if possible’.