Middle-aged people are being urged to walk faster to help stay healthy, amid concern high levels of inactivity may be harming their health.
They are urging those between the ages of 40 and 60 to start doing regular brisk walks.
Just 10 minutes a day could have a major impact, reducing the risk of early death by 15%, they say.
But estimates show four out of every 10 40- to 60-year-olds do not even manage a brisk 10-minute walk each month.
An American study found that people who walked for at least four hours a week gained less weight (an average 9 lb less) than couch potatoes as they got older.
Last year, researchers at the University of Colorado found that regular walking helped to prevent peripheral artery disease (which impairs blood flow in the legs and causes leg pain in one-fifth of elderly people).
Walking can even prevent colds. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts medical school found that people who walked every day had 25 per cent fewer colds than those who were sedentary.
Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent the bone
Best of all, walking makes you feel good about yourself. “For people suffering from depression, walking three to four times a week for 30 minutes has been shown to enhance their mood
So next time you have 20 minutes to spare, put on your shoes and start your journey to better health.