Devon residents get active with walking app

Posted on: 4 June 2018

Devon residents notched up almost 80,000 hours of walking during a Public Health England campaign launched last year, to get people more active.

This month our public health team is supporting the campaign led by Public Health England and the Royal College of GPs to encourage adults in Devon to fit in 10 minutes a day of continuous walking.

And as part of the push to get adults doing more moderate intensity physical activity each day, health experts are encouraging people to increase the intensity of their walking, rather than just focus on the distance or number of steps.

Moderate intensity physical activity means getting the heart rate up and breathing faster. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is an easy way for adults to introduce more moderate intensity physical activity into their day and reduce their risk of developing major health problems by up to 15%.

To help them, the Active 10 walking app, launched last year, which combines time and intensity of exercise, is available to download free of charge.  It clocks the number of blocks of 10 minutes or more or brisk exercise a day, and helps encourage people to incorporate more walking into their daily life.

Last year the Active 10 app encouraged:

  • 4,153 users based in Devon
  • 3,578 new users who joined during the campaign period
  • 21,997 active 10s achieved in Devon during the campaign period
  • 15,169 hours brisk walking
  • 79,335 hours walking (of which 19.1% were brisk)

Cllr Roger Croad

 Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Around one in five of us is inactive, doing less than 30 minutes a week of physical activity.   This will have a serious impact on not only our physical health, but also our mental health, and is storing up health problems for older age.

“We all struggle with finding the time to be more active, but fitting in just 10 minutes of brisk walking is achievable for most of us – whether that’s a walk to or from work, a lunchtime power walk, or even a walking meeting with a colleague, it’s good for mind and body to get outside and get moving.”

Many adults struggle to fit in exercise, with not enough time (27%) cited as the main reason for those in the South West, followed by not feeling motivated (30%) and being too tired (30%)

Taking a 10 minute brisk walk each day can help build up towards the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. This has been linked to health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Dr. Campbell Murdoch, GP and Public Health England Physical Activity Clinical Champion said: “Working as a GP, I’m aware that for some of my patients juggling the demands of everyday life can mean that time for planned exercise is often limited. However brisk walking built into daily life is a great way to get more physically active. The key is to make brisk walking a habit, and the Active 10 app is a great help in achieving this.

“Taking a brisk 10 minute walk to get your heart pumping and muscles working is an effective way of improving mood, and lowering the risk of serious health issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The Active 10 app helps to encourage beneficial brisk walking rather than just the number of steps taken in a day.”

Nearly nine in 10 (94%) say they walk more than 10 minutes per day, however this drops to almost half (48%) who say they walk briskly for this amount of time.

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing