More Adults Choose Walking For Better Health
August 8, 2012

Rise In Number Of People Walking For Health

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

It´s confirmed: walking is back in style. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revealed that six in 10 adults get their daily dose of exercise with walking. However, less than half of the adults are meeting the minimum amount of physical activity to boost their health.

In particular, the Vital Signs report stated that sixty two percent of adults walked at least once for 10 minutes or more during a specific week in 2010 as compared to 56 percent of adults in 2005. However, according to the National Health Interview Survey, 48 percent of all adults don´t get enough physical activity on a daily basis to boost their health. Approximately 45,550 people participated in the survey.

“More than 145 million adults are now getting some of their physical activity by walking,” noted CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden in a prepared statement. “People who are physically active live longer and are at lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers.  Having more places for people to walk in our communities will help us continue to see increases in walking, the most popular form of physical activity among American adults.”

The report stated that there was an uptick in the number of people who were walking for exercise, fun, relaxation, and transportation. Many of these people completed at least one session of walking for ten minutes. The results are viewed as a positive step in the right direction.

“It is encouraging to see these increases in the number of adults who are now walking,” remarked Joan M. Dorn, branch chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch in CDC´s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, in the statement. “But there is still room for improvement. People need more safe and convenient places to walk. People walk more where they feel protected from traffic and safe from crime.  Communities can be designed or improved to make it easier for people to walk to the places they need and want to go.”

The report compiled statistics from throughout the nation. In the West, around 68 percent of people engage in walking in their daily lives. The largest bump in the number of people walking was see in the South, where there was an uptick of about 8 percentage points from 2005 (49 percent) to 2010 (57 percent). Adults with arthritis or hypertension were among those who also participated in more walking.

"We hypothesize that new walkers appear to be starting with short bouts of walking, so overall the average time people spent walking has gone down slightly," Dorn told USA Today.

Furthermore, the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans advises a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate to intense aerobic physical activity, which includes brisk walking.  As seen with the study, walking has become the most popular activity. Researchers hope that the popularity of walking will not wane.

"Walkers were nearly three times more likely to meet the (physical activity) guidelines than non-walkers," Frieden commented in the USA Today article. "Walking is possible for just about everyone“¦ there is no single drug that can do anything like what regular physical activity does. That's why it is the wonder drug.”