Walking isn't enough to keep you fit, say experts
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Published: 10 October 2007
Run, don't walk, if you want to maximise your chances of living a long and healthy life .
A survey by researchers from the universities of Exeter and Brunel found more than half of men (56 per cent) and over two thirds of women (71 per cent) believe moderate activities, such as walking, are most beneficial for health, counter to the evidence.
Gary O'Donovan, exercise physiologist at the University of Exeter and lead author of the research, published in Preventive Medicine, said: "Time and time again, the largest and most robust studies have shown that vigorously active individuals live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than moderately active individuals and couch potatoes.
Until the mid-1990s, the advice was that all adults should spend at least 20 minutes three times a week engaged in vigorous exercise such as jogging. Surveys in the early 1990s showed that 90 per cent of adults believed this was best for health.
The advice was changed in 1995 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise on five days a week, more than doubling the time involved. Evidence shows moderate exercise is beneficial – but not as much as vigorous exercise.
How much exercise is enough to stay healthy?
Experts recommend adults expend 400 calories a day in order to avoid gaining weight.
Approximate time it takes to burn 400 calories:
* Light to moderate activities
: dusting and cleaning, 114 mins; vacuuming or mopping, 82 mins; walking briskly, 75 mins; cycling at 10mph, 71 mins; golf (walking and pulling clubs), 66 mins; mowing the lawn, 63 mins.
* Vigorous activities
: tennis (doubles), 48 mins; badminton (competitive singles), 41 mins; circuit training or jogging at 5mph, 36 mins; swimming or running at 6mph, 29 mins; cycling at 16-19mph, 24 mins; running at 8mph, 21 mins.