Active 10 app launches to encourage people to walk briskly 10 minutes a day

Official figures from Public Health England (PHE) has found that a staggering 6.3 million adults fail to walk a brisk 10 minutes a month.

Active 10 app launches to encourage people to walk briskly 10 minutes a day

In addition to weight loss, regularly walking briskly over time can help to reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke and has been found to improve mental health.

To get more people walking, PHE, with the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM), has launched the One You physical activity campaign and developed a free app called Active 10.

Active 10 is said to be the first of its kind to measure how much brisk walking you are doing and highlights how many continuous chunks of ten minutes – know as Active 10s – are achieved each day. 

 The app, which has been downloaded by more than 50,000 people, encourages people to do at least one Active 10 a day, and users can set their own goals as they build towards the 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise recommended by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO). In particular, the 

app monitors the speed of walking and shows you have walked briskly enough to reap the health benefits. Using sensors in the phone, the app measures when you reach a certain speed (about three miles per hour) and when you keep going at that speed for 10 minutes or more.

Elsewhere, you can build goals into the app and it will show where you can convert normal walking into an Active 10, as well as giving hints and tips. PHE has said it has factored in stopping at traffic lights, or when walking with children, meaning you can slow down for up to two minutes of any 10-minute period for it to count as an Active 10.

The app aims to address inactivity, which contributes to one in six deaths in the UK and is costing the NHS almost a billion pounds per year. PHE evidence shows that doing at least one brisk 10-minute walk a day reduces the risk of early death by 15%. Over the course of a week, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 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%).

“We all know how important it is to be active. The good news is that you don’t have to go to the gym or start expensive fitness programmes, walking counts too,” the app’s description reads. “Just ten minutes of brisk walking every day can get your heart pumping and can make you feel more energetic. Active 10s are simple to fit into your day, from taking the dog out to going for a lunchtime walk.”

Active 10 is available for free on Android and iOS. At the time of writing, the app has received an overall rating of 3.1 on Android with many users complaining about its accuracy. PHE caveats this by saying the app relies on a phone’s in-built sensors to measure activity “so you may experience varying levels of accuracy especially in older devices/operating systems.”

Image: Public Health England

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