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      Forget 10,000 steps – Power walk for 10 minutes at lunchtime

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      It’s not the number of steps you take each day, but the intensity of those steps, that will benefit your health, according to a new medical report – so a 10 minute ‘power walk’ at lunchtime could be the answer.

      As part of a new campaign, 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. And 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 per cent.

      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.

      A new survey by PHE looking at people’s perceptions of physical activity found that:

      • Many adults struggle to fit in exercise. Not having enough time (31 per cent) was the main reason cited, followed by not feeling motivated (27 per cent) and being too tired (25 per cent);
      • Half of these adults (50 per cent) 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 (15 per cent) think that more than 420 minutes per week is required (an hour per day);
      • Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) say they walk more than 10 minutes per day. However, this drops to just over half (54 per cent) who say they walk briskly for this amount of time.

      “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,” said Professor Paul Cosford, Medical Director at PHE. “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 Sir Muir Gray, Clinical Adviser for the Active 10 app and One You campaign, added: “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, especially those who may be taking medication for a long term health condition – you will receive even more benefits from walking briskly for 10 minutes or more a day.”

      Already 600,000 people have downloaded the ‘Active 10’ app. In a single month, approximately 2 million ‘Active 10s’ (10-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.

      Find out more about the app here.

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      Jade Burke

      Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

      All stories by: Jade Burke