Americans need to get outside and start walking now if they are ever going to catch up with the rest of the world.
Americans Out Of Step
In western Australia, adults average 9,695 steps a day, in Switzerland the number is 9,650, in Japan it’s 7,168, but adults in the U.S. take a paltry 5,117 steps a day, according to a study published recently in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
“We were surprised that the levels of physical activity were that low,” said Dr. David R. Bassett, of the University of Tennessee, the lead author of the study. “Five thousand steps is really pretty inactive.”
The Problem? Car Culture
Bassett attributes the more active lifestyle of adults in other countries to their greater access to mass transit. “In Switzerland you might get enough activity just in the course of doing your errands,” he explained.
And the results of all this inactivity? In the U.S., 34% of adults are obese, whereas during the past decade, Australia, Japan and Switzerland have reported obesity rates of 16%, 3% and 8% respectively.
Walking Prevents Memory Loss
There are other reasons to keep walking. New research indicates that walking six miles or so every week is not only good for the heart, but can also prevent brain shrinkage and memory loss.
The study, published in Neurology, examined data on 299 dementia-free people with a mean age of 78 who recorded the number of blocks they walked weekly. Nine years later, the researchers took brain scans of the participants to measure their brain size.
The results? Participants who walked between 6 and 9 miles per week had more gray matter in their brains nine years after the start of the study than people who didn’t walk as much. Researchers say that those who walked the most cut their risk of developing memory loss in half.
Get Outside And Start Walking!
All of this points to the obvious conclusion: step outside and start walking! Not only is walking fun and makes you feel great; now you know that it’s also vital for your long-term health!
Creative Commons - Ed Yourdon