While making small steps toward a healthier lifestyle is extremely crucial for achieving longterm health, sometimes those small changes are a little two small. This comes according to a Centers for Disease Control study that found walking is on the rise in American adults, but less than half are getting enough exercise to improve their health.
As reported by Reuters, the study was based on a 2010 telephone survey that found 62 percent of adults walk an average of 10 minutes or more a week. While that number may seem small, it’s actually a 55.7 percent increase since 2005. These findings were based off of responses from 23,129 adults nationwide.
Based on the survey, the CDC also concluded that a mere 48 percent of adults are getting enough exercise to improve their health. But that’s a 6 percent improvement since 2005.
CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden is hopeful that exercise will continue to become more of a priority in our nation. “Physical activity is the wonder drug. It makes you healthier and happier,” he said. “More Americans are making a great first step in getting more physical activity.”
The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week; this could include any aerobic exercise such as walking at a brisk pace or biking. By doing so, the agency contends you can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and even some forms of cancer.
But despite recommendations from the CDC and many other health organizations, it seems the message about the importance of walking for even 30 minutes a day is being missed. And this is a shame since even small amounts of exercise can produce big benefits.
In terms of which part of the country is taking these health orders most seriously, it seems the West is winning. The survey revealed that 67.5 percent of Westerners say they walk at least 10 minutes a week. This is compared to the less-active South, which had the lowest nationwide percentage at just 56.8 percent.
As we’ve mentioned numerous times before, walking provides an impressive list of benefits, and Dr. Andrew Weil considers it one of the best ways to maintain physical and emotional wellness. In addition, it’s a low-impact exercise that just about anyone of any age can do.
To get more people to lace up their sneakers and hit the pavement, the CDC is encouraging local governments and schools to allow community members to use tracks before or after school hours. If these types of agreements are implemented, people will have one more way to get active without having to pay hefty gym memberships or attempt vigorous exercise programs that may lead to injury.
While the nation has seen modest improvements in walking frequency, we still have a long ways to go when it comes to our overall health.
source: Huffington Post
August 9th, 2012