Frequently asked questions

1. Why is walking briskly good for my health?

There is evidence to show that a brisk 10 minute walk each day brings the following health benefits:

  • Increased physical fitness
  • Greater ease in performing everyday physical activities
  • Improved mood
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased physical leanness and healthier weight

A regular 10 minute brisk walk can make you feel better in so many ways. It can boost your energy, clear your head and lift your mood, as well as lowering your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers.

2. How does the app measure Active 10s?

Active 10s are measured using sensors in your phone. The app measures when you’ve got up to a certain speed (about 3 miles an hour) and when you keep that going for 10 minutes. We know that you might have to stop at traffic lights, or that the kids might slow you down, so we’ve allowed for this. You can slow down for up to 2 minutes of any 10 minute period and this will still count as an Active 10.

3. How can I tell that I’m walking briskly?

Brisk walking is simply walking quicker than usual, at a pace that gets your heart pumping faster and makes you feel slightly out of breath. The easiest way to tell whether you're walking fast enough is by downloading the Active 10 app, which is available for Apple and Android phones. The app will show you when you’re walking briskly during the day and highlight when you could fit in some more brisk walking.

4. How much does the Active 10 app cost to download?

The Active 10 app is free to download and use for anyone with an Android 4.4+ or iOS 9+ / iPhone 5s+ phone.

5. Why brisk walking? Wouldn’t something more intense be better?

Research shows that rather than the number of steps taken or distance walked, it’s the combination of the intensity of the exercise and how long you're doing it for that leads to the health benefits. That’s why we’re focusing on encouraging people to go for at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day.

More intense exercise can benefit those who are able to make the commitment to this, while brisk walking is for people who find it difficult to find the time to fit exercise into their day.

6. Will the app work on any mobile device?

The app tracks activity using the sensors that are built into your phone. As the quality of sensors on older phones does not always create accurate results, the app is not compatible with older models. As a general guide, the app works on Android 4.4+ and iOS 9+/iPhone 5s+ phones.

7. What data is tracked by the app and why?

The app collects and measures a user's physical activity, mobility and their location in an anonymous way to help record your brisk walking.

8. How is my location data used?

The app sends location information to a database to be analysed, but this data is anonymised and cannot be linked to a particular individual. This information is used to assess the success of the app, to feed into future improvements and research into mobility and physical activity.

9. Can I share my Active 10 successes with others?

You can share your activity through the standard social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, email and text.

10. How can people without a smart phone take part in Active 10?

People can still incorporate 10 minutes of brisk walking into their day, even if they don’t have a smart phone. All you need to do is walk more quickly (so you’re raising your heart rate) for 10 minutes in one go.

11. Why are you encouraging people to only do 10 minutes of walking a day if current guidelines recommend 150 minutes a week?

Ten minutes is a simple and achievable way to start building some activity, or adding more, into your day and it’s a great place to start when working towards the guidelines. A 10 minute continuous brisk walk a day could have a significant impact on your health, although we would encourage you to build more into your day if possible.

12. Can people with disabilities and long term conditions also benefit?

Many people with disabilities and long term conditions could benefit from building 10 minute bursts of activity into their lives. For many, this can be achieved by walking and, dependent on your condition, the Active 10 app could help. If walking is not suitable, then there are other activities that can help you incorporate some exercise into your day. Find out more with NHS Choices.

If you have any questions or concerns about building walking or other exercise into your daily routine, then you could talk to a healthcare professional for advice on what might be right for you.

13. How accurate is the app?

The app works using the motion sensors on your phone, so accuracy will vary depending on the age and model of your particular device. Accuracy can also be affected by how the phone is carried – for best results we recommend that you carry it in a pocket close to your body rather than in a handbag or rucksack.

14. What impact will the app have on my phone’s battery?

As with any app that needs to use your location (eg Google Maps), there will be some increase in battery usage. During the development and testing process, we have implemented a number of features to minimise the impact on battery consumption when using the Active 10 app.

15. Does the app register any other type of physical activity, eg running or cycling?

To show the amount of brisk walking you are doing, the app uses the sensors on your phone. These sensors can sometimes register movement from other forms of activity such as cycling or running.