Why the SilverFit Mile?
- increasing healthy years of life
- having fun
- measuring improvement
Older adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits, including improved physical and cognitive functions. Some physical activity is better than none, but more physical activity provides greater health benefits. Older adults should aim to be active daily.
- Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more e.g. 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.
- Older adults should also undertake physical activity and balance training to improve muscle on at least two days a week.
- Everyone should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods
Increasing physical activity leads to significant reductions in coronary heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, mental health problems including dementia and falls. Targeting those adults who are significantly inactive (ie less than 30 mins per week) will produce the greatest reduction in chronic disease[i]. One study[ii] looked at 1741 English participants on a treadmill walking test who would attain or exceed vigorous intensity activity by walking at 3 mph. They concluded 1.5 million men and 3.9 million women (95% in England aged 25-64 years) would benefit in fitness and health terms from regularly walking at 3 mph.
Walking is a safe, accessible and low cost activity and known to have great potential to increase physical activity levels in sedentary individuals. Walking speed has been shown to predicting `survival` in several studies. An Australian study of 1705 men aged 70+[iii] found the mean walking speed was just over 2 miles per hour. But survival analysis showed that the older men who walked faster than 0.82 m/s were 1.23 times less likely to die than those who walked slower! When their walking speed was 3 miles (about 5 km) per hour or greater, none of the men had died. The Grim Reaper’s preferred walking speed is 0.82 m/s (2 miles per hour) – for those wishing to avoid that fate then 3 mph would be the advised walking speed.
[i] DH (2013) Start active, stay active – Four chief medical officers
[ii] Foster Paul Kelly, Marie Murphy, Pekka Oja,Elaine M. Murtagh. (2011) Estimates of the number of people at 3 mph. Journal of Sports Sciences
[iii] BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7679 (Published 15 December 2011)