Public health officials are hoping a new “app” will encourage people aged 40 to 60 to incorporate a brisk 10-minute walk into their daily life.
At present, research indicates that 41% of adults in this age bracket in England walk less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace.
“It’s the first free app of its kind and an easy, accessible way to make brisk walking a daily habit”
Public Health England is encouraging adults to build 10 minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a “simple way” to improve health, noting that it had been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%.
Its One You physical activity campaign is particularly aimed at those who have an inactive or low activity lifestyle and may find incorporating activity into their day challenging.
Central to the campaign is the Active 10 smartphone application, which had been developed to show how much brisk walking a person was doing a day and how to incorporate more into their lifestyles.
The free app combines walking intensity and time, rather than just distance or steps and is the first of its kind, the national body highlighted.
It said it should help people gradually introduce more activity into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips, and had already helped 50,000 adults get more active.
The app was developed by the body in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.
Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE, said: “The Active 10 app is a free and easy way to help anyone build more brisk walking into their daily routine.”
Practice nurses urged to promote ‘brisk walking’ via app
GP practices across the country are also expected to recommend it to their patients as a tool to help them manage existing conditions and prevent the negative health impact of inactivity.
Dr Zoe Williams, clinical champion for physical activity and lifestyle at the Royal College of GPs, said: “Every GP should talk to their patients about the benefits of brisk walking and recommend the Active 10 app.
“It’s the first free app of its kind and an easy, accessible way to make brisk walking a daily habit,” she added.
Public Health England said the severity of the current “physical inactivity epidemic” among adults was contributing to one in six deaths in the UK and costing the NHS over £0.9bn per year.
It said research findings also suggested people in the UK were 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s and, on average, walked 15 miles less a year than two decades ago.
The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives made it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health, noted the government arm’s-length body.