Citing concerns over a “shocking” level of inactivity among the middle-aged, officials at Public Health England want men and women between the ages of 40 and 60 to pick up the pace, so that they can complete at least one, brisk 10-minute walk per day, according to published reports.
The organization estimated that just six out of 10 40- to 60-year-olds regularly completed a 10-minute walk at a pace of at least 3.0 mph, despite the fact that doing so could reduce their risk of premature death by as much as 15%, BBC News and the Coventry Telegraph explained.
In fact, in a statement PHE said that their research showed that people in the UK are, on average, 20% less active than they were in the 1960s, and walk 15 miles less per year than they did just 20 years ago. The group is blaming the “sedentary nature of modern, busy lives,” which they argued has made it “difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health.”
The health benefits of adding at least one short, brisk walk to your daily routine are plenty, PHE noted: doing so could reduce a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by approximately 40%, their risk of cardiovascular disease by 35%, their risk of dementia by 30% and their risk of some forms of cancer by up to 20%.
Group pushing free app to achieve fitness-related goals
Officials recommend that middle-aged people walk to stores instead of driving, and spend part of their lunch breaks exercising. To encourage such activity, they are now offering a free app which can provide advice and be used to monitor the amount of brisk walking a person does each day.
The app, Active 10, is part of PHE’s new One You physical activity campaign, and the group is focusing on the middle aged because of the noticeable drop in physical activity levels at that age, according to BBC News. While the group recommends people participate in at least 150 minutes of activity each week, one-fifth of all 40- to 60-year olds fail to complete 30 minutes.
“I know first hand that juggling the priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat,” said PHE Deputy Medical Director Dr. Jenny Harries. “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.”
The Active 10 app, which the PHE said is the first fitness tracker of its kind to combine walking intensity and time instead of just distance traveled or number of steps, has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and purportedly is already being used by 50,000 adults in the UK. Doctors, the organization added, are being encouraged to recommend it to men and women who are sedentary or who need help managing pre-existing conditions.
“Many digital products tell us to aim for 10,000 steps a day, which is a good recommendation but may seem unachievable to many people tied to the desk, screen or steering wheel for eight hours a day,” said Professor Sir Muir Gray, Clinical Adviser for the One You program. “Walking briskly for 10 minutes each day benefits inactive adults the most, which is why the Active 10 app fits millions of people’s needs so well.”
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