Middle aged health at risk as over 740,000 adults in East of England do not manage a brisk ten minute walk each month

• Four out of ten adults (43%) aged 40–60 in the East of England walk less than ten minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace
• 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 and 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

Over 740,000 adults aged 40-60 in the East of England do not achieve ten minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on health benefits, according to according to evidence reviewed by Public Health England Public Health England (PHE).

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%.2 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%).

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

Barbara Paterson, Deputy Director for Health and Wellbeing at PHE East of England, said:
“We know that 27 per cent of adults in the East of England are achieving less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week [full county breakdown below]. We also know that inactivity can lead to a whole host of health implications. But simply incorporating regular 10 minute brisk walks into everyone’s day can make a world of difference to both health, as well as general wellbeing. Plus, it is free! What could be better!”

The free app combines walking intensity and time, rather than just distance or steps and is the first of its kind. It helps people gradually introduce more activiy into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips. It has already helped 50,000 adults get more active.

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Medical Director at PHE, 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 ten 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 free app combines walking intensity and time, rather than just distance or steps and is the first of its kind. It helps people gradually introduce more activity into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips. It has already helped 50,000 adults get more active.

The Active 10 app was developed by Public Health England in collaboration with The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine.