According to a recent survey, most Americans seem to know that walking is good for their health, but many are not walking enough to meet recommended guidelines.
Nationwide, 94% of those surveyed viewed walking as good for health while 79% agreed that they should walk more. Nine in 10 respondents agreed that walking was a good way to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight and prevent heart disease. Additionally, 73% of respondents said they believed their children should walk more.
They also viewed walking as a good way to reduce stress and combat depression. More than eight in 10 Americans said walking could reduce feelings of depression, while 87% said walking helps to reduce anxiety.
However, while most Americans seem to be aware of the health benefits of walking, they aren’t necessarily walking more. Only 30% of those surveyed said they walked more than they did five years ago.
On the other hand, 35% are walking less and 32% are walking about the same amount. In addition, 31% of those who walk do so for less than 150 minutes per week, the minimal threshold for physical activity established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This survey was conducted in English and Spanish among 1,224 adults nationwide to assess the average American’s position on walking and the walkability of neighborhoods and communities.
These results show that walkable environments are key to encouraging people to walk more. They also reveal the tremendous opportunity that exists to build a broad walking movement. Health experts believe that doing so will improve the country’s overall health and also forge a deeper connection to communities where Americans live, work, learn and play.
Interestingly, respondents didn’t necessarily view the CDC’s guidelines as difficult to meet. Half said it would not be difficult to meet the CDC’s guidelines of walking 150 minutes per week. Nearly six in 10 respondents said they would walk more if their doctor told them to.
In other words, the survey findings confirm that most Americans are very aware of the health benefits of walking. However, they need to be motivated to fit more walking into their busy lives.
When asked why they don’t walk more, those surveyed blamed a lack of time and energy. Not living in communities where they can walk to services, shops, school and work was also said to be a deterrent. Overall, four in 10 respondents described their neighborhood as “not very” or “not at all walkable”.
Given its many health benefits - why don’t you add 30 minutes of daily walking, 5 days each week, into your lifestyle plan today?