Adults in South West at risk

Adults in South West at risk

Adults (aged 40-60) in South West at risk as over 560,000 do not even manage a brisk ten minute walk each month.

  • 37% of adults aged 40–60 in the South West** walk less than ten minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace[i]
  • New evidence paper shows ten minutes of walking at a brisk intensity each day can help prevent cancer, heart disease and poor mental health[ii]
  • Physical inactivity amongst adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK[iii] and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year[iv]
  • Percentage of adults achieving less than 30 minutes of physical activity for each local authority available (notes to editors).
  • Public Health England launches new One You physical activity campaign to encourage people to do brisk 10 minute walks with Active 10 app
  • Jenny Harries Deputy Medical Director at PHE and Amelia Randle, GP available for interview.

Over 560,000 adults aged 40–60 in the South West** do not achieve ten minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on health benefits, according to a new evidence paper* from Public Health England (PHE).2

The findings also reveal how lifestyles have changed over time, showing that people in the UK are 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s[v]  and on average walk 15 miles less a year than two decades ago[vi]. The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health.

PHE’s new One You physical activity campaign is encouraging adults to build 10 minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health. The ‘Active 10’ app has been developed to show how much brisk walking a person is doing each day and how to incorporate more of it into their lifestyles.

Taking at least one brisk ten minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%.2  Getting enough physical activity[1] each week can also provide health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%).2

The severity of the current physical inactivity epidemic amongst adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK3 and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year. 4

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 ten minute walk on your lunch break each day can add many healthy years to your life. The Active 10 app is a free and easy way to help anyone build more brisk walking into their daily routine.”

 Dr Amelia Randle, GP in Shepton Mallet, Somerset and Clinical Champion for physical activity in PHE, said:

“We know that by looking after yourself and keeping active in middle age you significantly reduce the risk of getting a major disease such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease or dementia in later life.

“I want to talk to the 37 percent of people in the South West who walk less than ten minutes a month and inspire them to start walking. Why not walk to the shops instead of driving or go for a brisk ten minute walk on your lunch break?

“The Active 10 app is free and easy to use and helps you understand the speed you need to walk to get health benefits. By walking briskly for just 10 minutes a day you will see a real health impact”.

The free app combines walking intensity and time, rather than just distance or steps and is the first of its kind. It helps people gradually introduce more activiy into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips. It has already helped 50,000 adults get more active.

Professor Sir Muir Gray, Clinical Adviser for the Active 10 app and the One You campaign, said:

“We all know physical activity is good for your health, but for the first time we’re seeing the effects that easily achievable changes can make. By walking just 10 continuous minutes at a brisk pace every day, an individual can reduce their risk of early death by 15%. They can also prevent or delay the onset of disability and further reduce their risk of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers”

Dr Zoe Williams, GP and Clinical Champion for Physical Activity and Lifestyle at the RCGP, said:

“As GPs we’re best placed to talk to people about how their lifestyles affect their health. Every GP should talk to their patients about the benefits of brisk walking and recommend the Active 10 app. It’s the first free app of its kind and an easy, accessible way to make brisk walking a daily habit.”

The Active 10 app was developed by Public Health England in collaboration with The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine.

Search ‘Active 10’ to download the free app which shows how much brisk walking you are currently doing and provides tips and encouragement on how to fit ten minute bursts of brisk walking into your daily routine.


[1] To stay healthy, the Chief Medical Officer advises adults aged 19-64 to do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. This should consist of a mix of aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking, and strengthening exercises on at least two days a week.

[i]Public Health England, Active Lives, 2015/16

[ii]Public Health England, Health benefits of 10 minutes brisk walking each day in mid-life, Evidence summary

[iii]Lee I-M, et al. (2012) Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. The Lancet 380: 219–29

[iv]Scarborough P, Bhatnagar P, Wickramasinghe KK, Allender S, Foster C, Rayner M (2011) The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006–07 NHS costs. Journal of Public Health 33 (4): 527-53

[v]Ng SW, Popkin B (2012) Time Use and Physical Activity: a shift away from movement across the globe. Obesity Review 13(8):659-80

[vi]Department Department for Transport. National Travel Survey 2015. Available at:

Ignyte Ltd. Reg number 7125489. Registered in England and Wales. Registered address: Bathway Farm, Bathway, Chewton Mendip, Somerset, BA3 4LN | Refund Policy | Privacy Policy | Payment Terms