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  1. ITV Report

Region's middle-aged don't walk enough to stay healthy

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Over 850,000 adults aged 40-60 in the North West do not achieve ten minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on important health benefits, according to evidence reviewed by Public Health England.

  • Four out of ten adults (43%) aged 40–60 in the North West** walk less than ten minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace
  • New evidence paper shows ten minutes of walking at a brisk intensity each day can help prevent cancer, heart disease and poor mental health
  • Physical inactivity amongst adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK
  • It is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year
  • Public Health England launches new One You physical activity campaign to encourage people to do brisk 10 minute walks with Active 10 app

The findings also reveal how lifestyles have changed over time, showing that people in the UK are 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s and on average walk 15 miles less a year than two decades ago. The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health.

PHE’s new One You physical activity campaign is encouraging adults to build 10 minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health. This is particularly aimed at those who have an inactive or low activity lifestyle and may find incorporating activity into their day challenging. The ‘Active 10’ app has been developed to show how much brisk walking a person is doing each day and how to incorporate more of it into their lifestyles.

Taking at least one brisk ten minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%.

A ten minute walk can contribute to meeting the CMO’s physical activity guidance of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. This can lead to health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%).2

The severity of the current physical inactivity epidemic amongst adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK3 and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year. 4

Caroline Holtom, PHE North West Health & Wellbeing Support Manager said:

It is worrying that so many 40 to 60 year olds across the North West are not doing ten minutes brisk walk a month. This app has already proved to be hugely popular and it can be a great way to encourage these 315,000 inactive adults to build walking into their everyday lives.

The app has achievable goals that help users to gradually built up their activity. You can start small and and build up gradually. Just 10minutes a day can provide benefits to your health and wellbeing.

It can be hard to change our habits, but by walking just ten minutes a day at a brisk pace can have enormous health benefits and is good for your overall wellbeing as well.

– Caroline Holtom