Healthy Walking

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"America on the move" (www.americaonthemove.org) is a national initiative with a straight forward goal. The goal is to get millions of people to wear inexpensive step counters and walk an additional 2000 steps (about 1 mile) a day and cut 100 calories from their diet.

Our national inactivity is considered a major cause of excess weight and persons behind the walking initiatives believe that it may be easier to get to move rather than change their eating habits. Almost 65% of Americans are overweight or obese, which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and many types of cancer.

Many states and cities have walking programs and are adding sidewalks, walking trails and parks to make it easier for people to be physically active. 60% of American adults do not get enough exercise. Many researchers believe that at least one hour of moderate daily activity is needed to control weight in adults. For years, researchers have encouraged people to walk 10,000 steps per day - roughly five miles.

Adults are gaining on average about one to three pounds a year. Walking an extra 2000 steps or cutting out 100 calories a day might not help much with weight loss, but these changes should help people from gaining more weight.

Most experts agree that walking more is only one part of solving the complex problem of obesity. Physical activity in and of itself is not enough. People are going to have to eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce portion sizes and reduce or eliminate junk food. Eating one cinnamon bun at the mall wipes out hours of physical activity.

Consider these facts:

  • Men average 5728 steps per day, while women average 4907 steps. The average for both sexes is 5310 steps per day. Depending upon stride length, a mile is 2000 to 2500 steps.


  • Walking briskly for 10 minutes : 1200 steps.


  • Playing nine holes of cart-less golf: 8000 steps.


  • Walking one city block : 200 steps.


  • Americans spend 7.7 hours a day sitting. (Teens sit an average 9.5 hours a day.)


  • Americans watch TV or play computer games for an average of fours hours a day.