Walk for 10 minutes a day and cut the risk of an early death by 15 per cent. That is the message in a recently released report today aimed at the 40 per cent of middle-aged Brits who have not even managed to do that in the past month.
Public Health England (PHE) has long since recommended two and a half hours of some form of moderate activity a week, equating to a 20-minute stroll every day that is fast-paced enough to raise the heart rate.
However, so concerned is it at the sedentary lifestyle of swathes of 40-60-year-olds that Government advisors are suggesting making a small change from inactivity to 10 minutes a day will reap surprising health benefits.
In the region of 6.3 million in that age group say they have not walked in the past four weeks. Half say they exercise through other means, but a fifth do nothing.
PHE says one in six deaths can be tracked back to idleness with people moving 20 per cent less than they did in the 1960s. It says there is no excuse not to find 10 minutes to walk in a day – be it leaving the car behind when you pop to the local shop or getting some fresh air at lunchtime, proven to boost mood as well as fitness.
Benenden Hospital encourages staff to get away from their desks during their breaks and The Loop is the perfect choice.
It is a triangular walk designed back when the site cared for tuberculosis patients, when rest combined with gentle exercise outdoors was considered the best tonic during recuperation time from the disease.
The route, which is a leafy-laned mile and a half and takes 30 minutes to complete, has old wooden benches every few hundred yards – an echo to the days when TB patients had to take their time and regular pauses for breath during their daily constitutionals.
Jack Harland, who heads up the hospital’s staff health and wellbeing group, said: “We don’t suggest staff have a stop every time they come across a bench these days! But walking always has been a part of the hospital’s psyche and that is still true now.”
Reasons to take a daily 10 minute walk, or more:
It reduces stress and cheers you up – it instils some calm when you step away from whatever is causing you the distress, leading to a clearer head, plus the release of endorphins helps with mood.
Walking is one of the best exercises for losing weight – it’s free, easy and the side-effects will boost your self-esteem. Track your progress and aim for goals, like 10,000 steps a day with a pedometer, and you will get a sense of achievement to boot.
It helps lower blood pressure, improves sleep and reenergizes – the health benefits are plentiful. Plus helping keep you from an earlier death should be a no-brainer.
Jack Harland, who heads up the hospital’s staff health and wellbeing group, said: “We don’t suggest staff have a stop every time they come across a bench these days! But walking always has been a part of the hospital’s psyche and that is still true now.
Jack Harland, Assistant to the Hospital Director
Some human interaction – a walking buddy means you will get out and do it. Plus step away from emails and your phone and enjoy a proper conversation in the moment, taking in some flora and fauna.
Kill those food cravings – walking can curtail a hankering for calorific treats, keeping you on track with your diet goals as well.
Published on 30 August 2017