6 in 10 Adults Walk for Exercise…But Not Enough

Have you ever witnessed a toddler walking for the first time? Such joy for a simple activity that most of us take for granted.

Sixty-two percent of adults are now walking for exercise or simply because they enjoy it. That’s up from 56 percent in 2005, according to the Vital Signs Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is still lots of room for improvement, though, because only about 48 percent of all adults get enough physical activity to positively impact their health.

The good news is that walking for exercise is increasing in all groups, but to fully reap the health benefits, we need at least 2-1/2 hours a week of moderate aerobic activity like walking.

“More than 145 million adults are now getting some of their physical activity by walking,” says CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “People who are physically active live longer and are at lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. Having more places for people to walk in our communities will help us continue to see increases in walking, the most popular form of physical activity among American adults.”

The report reveals that people in the West and Northeast regions of the U.S. walk the most, but walkers in the South are increasing in numbers, too. People who have high blood pressure or arthritis are stepping up their walking activity, but those with type 2 diabetes are not. Walking is increasing among people 65 and older more than other age groups.

If you’d like to add walking to your daily routine, The Mayo Clinic offers some tips to get started:

  • Start slow and easy. If you’ve been inactive and tire easily, it’s best to start slow and easy. At first, walk only as far or as fast as you find comfortable.
  • Set realistic goals. If your goal is to walk two hours a day 365 days a year, you might be setting yourself up to fail. Set realistic goals for yourself, such as 30 minutes five days a week.
  • Track progress. Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration.
  • Make it fun. If you don’t like walking alone, invite your spouse, partner, friend or neighbor to join you. You might also join a health club and use a treadmill. Vary your routine.

Let’s take our cue from the toddler and feel the joy of walking.

Walking Your Way to a Healthier Mind, Body, and Soul

Photo: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Thinkstock


Nina S.
Nina S2 years ago


Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants4 years ago

the person in the photo doesn't look adult

Ruth Ann W.
Ruth Ann W4 years ago

Started walking 7 months ago. Sure hope it is doing something on the inside as it sure doesn't show on the outside. :-)

Olivia D.
Olivia Dawson4 years ago

I walk more than two hours a week going to the shops, work and to go socializing. Pretty poor that so many are not.

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M5 years ago

start slowly, get a walking buddy for inspiration, company and a person who is as eager as you then both of you wont 'chicken' out. Walk casually initially and each day increase the length or time and do that for a week and then increase the time again, Dont worry about how far but to time yourself if that will help you.

slowly does it and in the end you can break up the time so do it at different times during the day. If you dont get to walk today dont worry do it tomorrow and slightly a bit longer

Suzanne S.
Suzanne Smither5 years ago

Great advice about realistic goals! I was actually walking 2 hours a day or more for more than a month, partly for transportation in the wake of my vintage car's demise, partly for the joy of exercise during the beautiful cool weather of a South Florida winter. I developed a painful bump on one heel that told me I'd exceeded my limit. I'm still averaging 5 miles a day (taping and icing the achy heel as needed) but will be getting at least half my exercise in the gym for a while, and reminding myself that moderation is a good thing.

Thomas P.
Thomas P5 years ago

Thanks. I think if people did more walking, fewer people would be overweight and would enjoy overall better health.

Cindie W.
Cindie W.5 years ago

I have been walking almost every day for 25 years. I love it. I'd like to suggest an added component - go to your local animal shelter and adopt a dog. My big girl Marcia walks on leash with me every day, and I have developed some pretty good upper arm muscles just from handling her on the leash. Everyone in the neighborhood says hi to Marcia, and I now have friendships with folks around the corner who I never spoke to before. Save a dog's life, make new friends who will want to talk about your dog, and get strong. Happy New Year, everyone!

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M6 years ago

For years I heard heaps of negativity regarding going to the gym till I met a man who nearly died from heart related problems. He lived, lost nearly 40 kilos and I watched him heal and lost weight all from his successful surgery but also from losing weight from walking and going to the gym. He has inspired me so much that I decided to join the gym as well. He couldnt walk that far initially but I could b/c I do walk to exercise but never call it that. I had used a walking stick b/c of various problems ie fibro, cfs, a slight stroke from a car accident. well anyway now I am fitter than any time in my life and I can walk 1.5 kilometers on a treadmill but I would say that I could nearly do that out of the gym. Walking helps you breathe properly, helps yr circulation, heart and feel fitter. Im glad I followed my friends lead and with interest. Now we catch up all the time and swap notes and give each other a boost of encouragement and support. Its a blessed thing to have happened to me....and the walking stick Ive used since 09...... I dont have to use it anymore...yayyyyyyyyyy!

Rhonda Bird
Rhonda B6 years ago

I walk an hour with my mom and half an hour with my Pug Princess Maggie