5 September 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Ten minutes of brisk walking during your lunch break could add years to your life, according to research from Public Health England.
The advice is especially geared to those in mid-life, with research stating that more than 6.3 million adults aged 40 to 60 do not achieve 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on "important health benefits".
The findings also reveal how lifestyles have changed over time, showing that people in the UK are 20 per cent less active now than they were in the 1960s and on average walk 15 miles less a year than 20 years ago. The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health.
Taking at least one brisk 10-minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15 per cent. A 10-minute walk can contribute to meeting the UK Chief Medical Officer'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 per cent), cardiovascular disease (by 35 per cent), dementia (by 30 per cent) and some cancers (by 20 per cent).
The severity of the current physical inactivity epidemic among adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion a year.
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 10-minute walk on your lunch break each day can add many healthy years to your life."
10 minutes brisk walking each day in mid-life for health benefits and towards achieving physical activity recommendations can be accessed here.