Over 540,000 adults aged 40–60 in the East Midlands do not achieve ten minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on health benefits, according to a paper from 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 ten minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health. 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%. Getting enough physical activity each week can also provide 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 UK and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year.

Ann Crawford, Deputy Director for Health Improvement at PHE East Midland, said:

“Fitting in exercise around everyday life isn’t always easy but small changes can have huge benefits to your health. 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.

Professor Sir Muir Gray, Clinical Adviser for the Active 10 app and the One You campaign, said:

“We all know physical activity is good for your health, but for the first time we’re seeing the effects that easily achievable changes can make. By walking just 10 continuous minutes at a brisk pace every day, an individual can reduce their risk of early death by 15%. They can also prevent or delay the onset of disability and further reduce their risk of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers.”

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.

Search ‘Active 10’ to download the free app which shows how much brisk walking you are currently doing and provides tips and encouragement on how to fit ten minute bursts of brisk walking into your daily routine.

In Derby is a great site with loads of information on the activities and green spaces around the city. Why not use one of our wonderful parks to fit in your ten minute walk?