Walking is the answer to getting people more active
Walking is the most accessible physical activity, and already the most popular. It has the greatest potential to grow, particularly among people disproportionately affected by low physical activity levels and poor health.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination each week. Walking is a great way to be more active and is the most popular physical activity among adults. Most people can walk, including many people with disabilities who are able to walk on their own or with walkers or other aids.
Walking is a free, gentle, low-impact activity that requires no special training or equipment. Almost everyone can do it, anywhere and at any time. It is easy to start slowly and build up gradually, as well as being the ideal exercise to fit around everyday life. It therefore addresses many of the reported barriers to being more active, such as lack of time, money, poor health and physical limitations. It is also accessible to people from groups who could most benefit from being more active — such as older people or those on low incomes.
What are the benefits of walking?
Two benefits of walking are that it’s easy to do and has a low risk of injury. Walking also is free or low-cost because you don’t need special equipment, clothing, facilities, or training. Because walking can easily fit your schedule, needs, and abilities, it’s a good way to start getting active if you’ve been inactive.
Health benefits of Walking
Like other kinds of regular physical activity, walking at a brisk pace also may offer health benefits, such as
- lowering your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
- strengthening your bones and muscles
- helping you burn more calories
- improving your fitness
- lifting your mood
Counting your steps
Step counters can help you keep track of your walking, set goals, and measure your progress. Most inactive people get fewer than 5,000 steps a day, and some very inactive people get only 2,000 steps a day. Try wearing a step counter for a few days to see how you’re doing.
If you get:
- Fewer than 5,000 steps a day, gradually add 3,000 to 4,000 more steps a day.
- About 8,000 steps a day, you’re probably meeting the recommended activity target.
- 10,000 or more steps a day, you can be confident that you’re getting an adequate amount of endurance activity.
- 10,000 steps a day comfortably, try for 15,000 steps a day, which would put you in the high activity group.