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At present, the NHS recommends people get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity – including gardening, swimming, cycling or brisk walking – or 75 minutes of vigorous activity such as running or playing sports every week.

But officials accept the target may seem too ambitious for many people, and so are focusing instead on persuading people to get out for a moderate walk for ten minutes every day, and build up to the higher target.

Experts define a brisk walk as a speed of three miles an hour – enough to raise your temperature and make your heart beat faster.

US research suggests taking at least one brisk ten-minute walk a day reduces the risk of early death by 15 per cent, and cuts the chance of cancer, heart disease and poor mental health.

And they warned that cancer, diabetes and heart disease await those who do not get off the sofa.'The severity of the current physical inactivity epidemic among adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK and is costing the NHS over £900million a year,' a PHE spokesman said.

Cutting out meat could help to prevent heart attacks and strokes, research suggests.

Researchers at Japan’s Keio University reviewed 49 studies into vegetarian and vegan diets.

Dr Justin Varney, in charge of adult health and wellbeing at PHE, said: 'Brisk walking is moving like you are late and trying to get somewhere on time.

It will raise your heart rate and make you feel a little warm.'Including ten minutes of brisk walking into your daily routine is often the easiest way to get active and feel the improvement in your health.'Experts are increasingly worried about the lifestyles of the British population.

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