UK government fights inactivity epidemic with 10-minute walk a day app
To get more people active Public Health England (PHE) has launched a free app called Active 10.
Official statistics on obesity in the United Kingdom make grim reading. Nearly two-thirds of adults are classified as overweight (a body mass index of 25 or above), up more than a fifth on 20 years earlier. One in four British adults today is obese.
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Inactivity is partly to blame. Incredibly, figures from PHE show that some 6.3 million adults in the country fail to even put in a brisk 10 minute walk a month. Not just important for weight loss, walking quickly enough to get your heart racing on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke.
PHE has even quantified this benefit. Apparently, walking faster than usual for 10 minutes every day reduces your risk of early death by 15%. Rather than the walking, it is the “briskly” part (intensity of the exercise and how long you’re doing it), which leads to health benefit.
While this is still far below the weekly 150 minutes of moderate exercise recommendation, it is a step in the right direction. Particularly when you compare it to just sitting around! In terms of time spent sedentary, less is better. You want to spend as little time not moving as possible, within reason of course.
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To this end PHE has launched a free app called Active 10. Available for both iOS and Android, the app encourages you to put in a 10 minute brisk walk every day by setting targets and charting your progress and achievements.
Most importantly, it will monitor your walking speed and let you know if its quick enough to reap health benefits. You don’t need a fitness tracker, the app taps into your smartphone’s built-in sensors to measure activity.
“We all know how important it is to be active. The good news is that you don’t have to go to the gym or start expensive fitness programmes, walking counts too,” the app’s description reads.
“Just ten minutes of brisk walking every day can get your heart pumping and can make you feel more energetic. Active 10s are simple to fit into your day, from taking the dog out to going for a lunchtime walk.”
The Active 10 app has been downloaded by more than 50,000 people so far.
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