We all know the stress that slow walkers can cause.
Whether you’re stuck behind leisurely Lorraine as you race for a train, or sluggish Steve is getting in the way when you’ve got somewhere to be. People who walk slowly are universally annoying to everyone who isn’t one of them.
But officials at Public Health England are hoping to rid the world of slow walkers. Well, sort of, anyway.
Essentially, they’ve released a new report saying that a bit of brisk walking could save lives. The study found that 41 percent of 40-60-year-olds don’t make a single brisk 10 minute walk a day!
Apparently a brisk walk once a day can reduce the risk of an early death. Only 10 minutes walking per day could reduce the risk of an early death by 15%.
As it stands, 1 in 6 deaths in adults aged between 40 and 60 are directly because of inactivity.
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The age group is getting more sluggish as the years go by too. These new findings were compared to a report from the 1960s. The comparison shows middle-aged people are 20 percent less active in the 21st Century.
On average, middle aged people are walking 15 miles less per year than they were just two decades ago.
PHE deputy medical director Jenny Harries spoke to the BBC and said:
I know first hand that juggling priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat. But walking to the shops instead of driving, or going for a brisk 10-minute walk on your lunch break each day, can add many healthy years to your life.
The research focuses on middle-aged people because of a drop in activity for this age range. The recommended time people spend exercising is 150 minutes per week. It doesn’t take a genius to see that 10 minutes of walking per day doesn’t add up to this amount.
However, PHE officials say it will be enough to make at least some difference to high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight issues. Other benefits including helping alleviate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. A brisk walk can also help resolve musculoskeletal problems such as back pain.
If you’re wondering: a brisk walk is defined as moving faster than 3mph, so it’s not a run by any means but at least you won’t be slowing your fellow pedestrians to a crawl.
And it’s not just in the UK that people need to get healthier either. According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 4 adults is not meeting the target of 150 hours of exercise every week.
In general, it’s women who are more at risk of inactivity, according to WHO. In high-income countries, 26 percent of men and 35 percent of women were insufficiently physically active, as compared to 12 percent of men and 24 percent of women in low-income countries.
One could easily make the case that society is to blame for this state of affairs; after all, gender constructs often stigmatize women who engage in some physical activities such as football.
Of course, it can be difficult to find time to exercise, and that’s where brisk walking can help. Most of us will do a bit of walking at some point in the day, whether we’re commuting or nipping out for a coffee on our lunch breaks. Just a bit of extra speed on these trips could have a huge impact on our health!