Walking not enough to stay fit

Take a run over a walk to stay fit say experts

WALKING IS NOT a rigorous enough form of exercise to keep fit, experts have warned today.

In order to increase the chance of staying healthy and living longer, sport experts say running is the best form of exercise.

Challenging the official advice from the Government recommending that a brisk walk is best for health, the experts say guidelines are misleading and sending out the wrong message on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

A survey of 1,200 adults carried out by researchers at Exeter and Brunel universities found that more than half of men (56%) and over two thirds of women (71%) believe moderate activities like walking are beneficial to health.

Gary O’Donovan, leader of the research said: ‘Time and time again studies have shown that vigorously active individuals live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than moderately active individuals and couch potatoes.’

He added: ‘It is extremely worrying that British adults believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit.’

Government guidelines on exercise have changed over the years. In the mid-1990s official advice said at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week was required to stay healthy. This was changed in 1995 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise on five days a week, more than doubling the time involved.

Dr Donovan explained the main reason for the change was to try to encourage wider participation in exercise, but this has not happened.

Encouragingly however, 30% of women and 40% of men say they meet current guidelines by doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five times a week.

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