Going on a brisk 10-minute walk every day, which is equivalent to about 1,000 steps, can help lower the risk of an early death by at least 15 percent, according to new guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of General Practitioners.
10,000 vs. 1,000 steps
Instead of focusing on distance, general practitioners (GPs) want individuals to prioritize the intensity of their walking.
Data from a survey revealed that at least one in five middle-aged adults in England are physically inactive and that most adults only have less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week. While 31 percent (or one-third) of the adults said that they didn’t have enough time to exercise regularly, one fourth admitted that they are too tired to exercise every day.
The official recommendation for adults is to spend about 150 minutes a week doing moderate to vigorous physical activity. By exercising regularly, adults can decrease their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.
According to a Public Health England poll of 3,000 adults, 87 percent walk for longer than ten minutes every day. However, only 54 percent walk briskly.
In response, the PHE created an app called “Active 10” that measures the distance, intensity, time spent walking.
Professor Paul Cosford, the medical director of PHE, shared that since it can be hard to manage daily stress, most people forego regular exercise. He added that a brisk walk is a good way of incorporating exercise into your daily routine.
Professor Cosford said, “Taking a brisk ten-minute walk each day will get your heart pumping, improve your mood and lower the risk of serious health issues.”
The recommendation comes after a study revealed that older people who walked briskly were 53 percent less likely to die because of a heart attack or stroke, unlike those who walked at a slower pace.
The researchers also noted that regardless of age, walking fast or at an average speed, or between three to 4.3 mph, lowers the risk of death from any cause by more than 20 percent over a 15-year period.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chairman of the Royal College of GPs, explained that even minor changes can still positively influence overall health. She also warned that there has been a significant increase in the number of patients who have developed several long-term conditions in recent years. Most of the health problems, like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, are associated with a lack of regular physical activity.
The belief that one must walk at least 10,000 steps daily to stay healthy stems from the “Manpo-Kei” pedometer, which became popular in Japan around the time of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. “Manpo-Kei” translates to “10,000 steps meter.”
A FitBit spokesperson shared that the fitness tracker can be worn to help health-buffs reach this target. She commented, “Fitbit starts users off with a 10,000 step goal as it adds up to about five miles a day for most people, which includes about 30 minutes of daily exercise – satisfying the recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.”
The benefits of a daily 10-minute walk
Here are the various health benefits of brisk walking:
- It can improve your fitness by increasing your lung capacity.
- It will also decrease your resting heart rate and strengthen your muscles.
- Walking is considered as a weight-bearing exercise since you’re moving your own weight as you walk.
- Regular 10-minute walks will also help maintain bone density. This can lower the risk of fractures, which is crucial for older women who have a greater risk of osteoporosis.
- Multiple exercise sessions will also help increase your metabolism for weight control or weight loss.
- You can walk vigorously to burn even more calories.
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