West Suffolk Physio

There’s A Magic Pill….And It’s Called Exercise!

Some shocking statistics

Following the recent publication of some quite alarming statistics from Public Health England around levels of physical activity in adults (or lack there of), I wanted to discuss the importance of making exercise more of a priority in our day to day lives. Plus it felt like a nice follow on from Abbie’s recent blog on getting active with dog walking.


4 out of 10 40- 60year olds walk less than 10 minutes at a brisk pace per MONTH. That’s pretty shocking. This statistic came out last month as part of a press release from Public Health England. They also stated that adults are now around 20% less active than they were in the 1920s. Worryingly, the ever growing sedentary lifestyle that people are adopting thanks in part to technology and convenience food, is having disastrous effects on both mental and physical health. It has been said that physical inactivity is now considered as big a killer as smoking, if not even bigger.

Know your guidelines…

The recommended guidelines for exercise in 19-64 year olds equates to:

  • minimum of 150 minutes a week moderate aerobic activity (e.g. cycling or a brisk walk). That’s just half an hour 5 days a week.

  • Strengthening based exercises on 2 or more days a week to work the major muscle groups (e.g. legs, arms, chest etc)

Exciting news

By simply going for one 10 minute brisk walk every day, you can help move yourself closer to meeting the recommended minimum guidelines for exercise. This can lead to significant health benefits including a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%). It’s easy to gloss over those statistics, so at this point I invite you to pause and just have another read. Those figures are really quite significant.

Now imagine reading about a new pill that cuts the risk of developing type II diabetes by almost a half , whilst cutting your risk of developing dementia and cardiovascular disease by a third, with the added bonus of having no side effects and costing you and the tax payer absolutely nothing. The queue outside Boots would be colossal! I make this point because it has been said that if “exercise could be purchased in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation” (Robert h Butler). The significance of this statement cannot be over stated. I hasten to add that these are just a fraction of the number of health benefits of keeping more physically active. Preventing high blood pressure, lowering your risk of having a stroke, maintaining balance and co-ordination, improved concentration, improved overall energy and sense of wellbeing, lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression…I could go on.

The sad truth however is that although exercise is one of the best things we can possibly do for our health and over all wellbeing, it remains grossly neglected and viewed as a non-priority by a large number of adults.

“But I don’t have time…”

Don’t have time? When it comes to exercise, many would say don’t find the time, make the time. Otherwise as the late Earl of Derby once said, “those who think they do not have time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find the time for illness”. So whether you start with something simple like sending less emails to make you get up from your chair and walk across the office, wearing a stepometer and setting yourself a daily target, or just making yourself take that lunch break and spending  10 minutes of it going for a brisk walk,  take the time. Get up and move more. You get given one body. Treat it well and it just may just treat you well in return.

Getting more active

Public Health England have just launched their new ‘One You’ physical activity campaign to encourage adults to build in a 10 minute brisk walk into their day. Here are some suggestions for getting more physically active:

  • Download the Active 10 app

  • Join a walking club – there are lots of different walking clubs around, search www.walkinginsuffolk.co.uk to find out more.

  • Use your phone, Fitbit or buy a clip on Stepometer and set yourself a target number of steps for each day

  • Get a walking buddy – set a plan with a friend to go walking regularly. You are more likely to stick to something when you know someone is expecting you.

  • Sign up to a charity event or fun run – committing to an event can often give you the incentive to get moving a bit more. Join me in the local Girls Night Out this weekend in Bury St Edmunds. You can choose to walk either 6 or 11 miles whilst raising money for a great cause at the same time

  • Download the Couch to 5K App If you’re feeling a little more ambitious than just walking

  • Contact One Life Suffolk – if you have Type II diabetes, Cancer or Cardiovascular disease (aka heart disease) and are looking to get more physically active, get in touch with One Life Suffolk. They offer support and a range of links to local exercise classes and groups. They can also offer support with weight loss and quitting smoking.

  • Give us your ideas- As always, we are keen to hear your thoughts and ideas. Tweet or Facebook us with your suggestions. Maybe even share our blog to spread the word and get people talking.

Find Out More

To find out more on this recent publication from Public Health England visit:


Or find out more about the latest ‘One You’ campaign. You can even take the test to find out how healthy your heart is: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou#TyOsSfZBqm8Vz5HG.97


Zoe Noble


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