According to a recent story in The Telegraph, Britain is in the middle of a laziness epidemic. This applies especially to over-40s, with four in ten failing to manage even one 10 minute brisk walk a month.
The effect of all this inactivity can be devastating. It is estimated that physical inactivity directly contributes to one in six deaths in the UK. On the other hand, Public Health England (PHE) say that one brisk walk a day is enough to cut the risk of early death by as much as 15 per cent. It can also prevent or delay the onset of disability, and further reduce the risk of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers.
To encourage middle-aged and older people to get more active, PHE has launched a free smartphone app called Active 10. As the name suggests, this aims to encourage adults to do at least 10 minutes’ brisk walk every day.
The app is available for both Apple and Android phones, and is quick and easy to install. Using sensors in your phone, the app measures when you’ve reached a target speed (about 3 miles an hour) and when you keep that going for 10 minutes.
The app allows for the fact that you might have to stop at traffic lights or for some other reason, so you can slow down for up to 2 minutes of any 10 minute period and this will still count as an Active 10.
You can set your own targets, maybe starting with just one Active 10 a day and going up to two or more as you build your fitness. You can also do longer walks – Active 20, say – for even greater health benefits.
Active 10 is aimed at those in the 40 to 60 age group, but in my view many people over 60 could benefit equally (or even more) by using it. I like the fact that 10 minutes a day isn’t too daunting to start off with, even for couch potatoes like me, but can still bring you considerable health benefits.
I am already enjoying using the app and there is a surprising amount of satisfaction in achieving your daily goals and seeing them recorded on the app.
As they say at the end of the Active 10 homepage, stop scrolling and start strolling 😀