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Exercise levels poor among middle-aged people, says Public Health England

More than six million adults in England do not even manage a brisk 10-minute walk each month.
Poor exercise

Levels of inactivity among middle-aged people have been highlighted in new research that reveals more than six million in England do not even manage a brisk 10-minute walk each month.

The Public Health England (PHE) study found that 41% of the 15.3 million adults in England aged 40 to 60 walk less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace.

Health leaders are encouraging people to walk to the shop instead of drive, and to take up walking on lunch breaks to add 'many healthy years' to their lives.

Aiming to do a brisk walk - of at least three miles per hour - for 10 minutes each day is likely to be seen as achievable by people who are chronically inactive, PHE said.

Many benefits

The health benefits of

Levels of inactivity among middle-aged people have been highlighted in new research that reveals more than six million in England do not even manage a brisk 10-minute walk each month.


New campaign aims to reduce sedentary lifestyles. Picture: iStock

The Public Health England (PHE) study found that 41% of the 15.3 million adults in England aged 40 to 60 walk less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace.

Health leaders are encouraging people to walk to the shop instead of drive, and to take up walking on lunch breaks to add 'many healthy years' to their lives.

Aiming to do a brisk walk - of at least three miles per hour - for 10 minutes each day is likely to be seen as achievable by people who are chronically inactive, PHE said.

Many benefits

The health benefits of brisk walking for 10 minutes each day include: increased fitness, improved mood, increased leanness and a healthier weight, and a 15% reduction in the risk of dying prematurely, PHE said.

Walking requires no skill, facilities or equipment, and is more accessible and acceptable than other forms of physical activity for most people, according to the PHE report.

Guidance issued by the UK's four chief medical officers in 2011 instructed the public on how much exercise they should be participating in. They stated that adults should be taking part in at least two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity activity every week.

The new PHE report said a quarter of the population in England is 'inactive' – doing less than 30 minutes of activity per week.

'For some of these individuals, 150 minutes may seem an unrealistic aim,' according to the PHE report.

Fitness drive

The health body's One You physical activity campaign is urging people to take up the challenge of building 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking into their day.

It has created a free new app, Active 10, which helps people achieve the goal.

PHE deputy medical director Jenny Harries said: 'I know first hand that juggling the priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat.

'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.'


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