Americans walking more but still need to step it up

Americans walking more but still need to step it up

Atlanta : GA : USA | Aug 08, 2012 at 10:14 AM PDT
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Less than half of Americans are getting enough exercise

The good news more Americans are walking for physical fitness. The bad news Americans spend less time walking.

Dr. Dianna Carroll, PhD, senior research scientist officer and colleagues in a new report reveal between 2005 and 2010, the portion of the population that were walking at least ten minutes daily had increased from 55.7% to 62%.

View slideshow: Walking benefits

That may seem like good news but the mean time of daily walking had dropped from 15 minutes to 13 minutes during that time. Researchers wrote that the reasons for the drop are unclear.

Dr. Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, Director of the CDC, stated during a telephone call with reporters walking is a “wonder drug” that can prevent a variety of maladies from diabetes to cancer.

The study’s data came from the CDC’s 2005 and 2010 National Health Interview Surveys from over 23,000 adults. The findings showed 15 million more Americans are walking at least ten minutes per week than what was indicated in a 2005 study.

Despite the increase 48% of Americans are meeting the 2008 guidelines which recommend at least 150 of moderate to intense aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, each week. A third of Americans said they do not get any physical activity at all.

According to Dr. Frieden, walking appeared to increase the likelihood that patients had met those recommendations. In 2010, 59.5% of those who walked met the guideline compared with 29.5% of those who didn't walk.

When researchers adjusted the analysis they found walkers were three times more likely to meet the guidelines in comparison to non-walkers.

Even though more Americans are walking but how many are depends on where they live, their health and age.

According to the CDC, The West and Northeast regions have the highest percentage of adults who walk in the country, but the South showed the largest percent increase of adults who walk compared to the other regions. More adults with arthritis or high blood pressure are now walking, but not those with type 2 diabetes. Walking increased among adults 65 or older, but less than in other age groups.

Walking is attractive for exercise because it requires no special skills or equipment and can be done alone or in groups, indoors or outdoors, says the CDC.

Dr. Frieden stated "Walking is possible for just about everyone.” "It doesn't require special skills. You can use it to get places and to do things."

This report appears in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a Vital Signs report.

Adults need at least 2 and 1/2 hours (150 minutes) a week of aerobic physical activity. This should be at a moderate level, such as a fast-paced walk for no less than 10 minutes at times, according to the CDC.

For information on walking trails in Detroit can be found online at Michigan Trails Detroit.

Debbie Nicholson is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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