Forget 10,000 steps - do three ten minute walks a day to beat heart disease, diabetes and cancer, Sheffield study finds
A new study by celebrity doctor Michael Mosley and Sheffield Hallam University has found taking three quick walks a day has better health benefits than walking 10,000 steps.
Dr Mosley visited Sheffield for the experiment and worked with Prof Rob Copeland from Sheffield Hallam University.
The findings will be shown tonight on BBC 1 in a programme called The Truth about Getting Fit.
Their aim was to carry out a small experiment in which they would compare the health benefits of clocking up 10,000 steps a day - compared with a quick routine of three brisk 10-minute walks a day.
The pair worked with a small group of volunteers who wanted to get fit and lose weight.
Prof Copeland split the volunteers into two groups and asked one to hit the 10,000-step target - around five miles - in a day, while the other was asked to do three sessions of "Active 10" - which adds up to around 1.5 miles - more like 3,000 steps.
The Active 10 group were told not to 'amble' but to get their pace up so they worked their heart and lungs.
Prof Copeland told them: "You are aiming to walk fast enough so that you can still talk but not sing."
The results showed two of the three asked to do 10,000 steps managed to hit their target. But they all struggled.
The Active 10 group found it relatively easy to fit in their exercise.
They formed a walking group and met at convenient times during the working day to go for a brisk walk.
Dr Mosley said: "The Active 10 group actually did 30 per cent more 'moderate to vigorous physical activity' than the 10,000-step group, even though they moved for less time.
"And it's when you are doing moderate intensity activity that you are starting to get the greatest health benefits."
So even though the Active 10 group spent less time actually moving, they spent more time getting out of breath and increasing their heart rate.
Prof Copeland told the group: "What we really wanted you to do was to get your heart beating faster. There's lots of evidence to suggest that by doing so you can lower your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers."
The Truth About Getting Fit is on BBC One at 8pm tonight.