Americans walk less than Japanese, Swiss, Australians

By • Published: February 18th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

America may be a nation of sports fans, but when it comes to daily physical activity, we’re not measuring up against the rest of the world.

A study that used pedometers to measure walking habits of about eleven-hundred U.S. adults showed the subjects walked an average of about fifty-one-hundred steps per day. That’s about one mile less walking each day than the Japanese and about two and a quarter miles short of the Swiss and the Australians. Not surprisingly, these nations also have much lower rates of obesity than the U.S. does.

Interestingly, men walked more than women did in all of these nations. The study authors also found the younger and more educated a person was, the more he or she tended to walk. People with unhealthy weights and those who were married walked less than other study participants.

America’s low rate of daily walking and high rate of obesity call for attention. If you’re looking for ways to walk more, start with small changes in your routine that build more walking into the day.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. When you’re running errands, park your car farther from the store. If you live near your kids’ school, walk with your children to and from school instead of driving or putting them on the bus.

Another tip is to wear a pedometer to track your steps, then adjust your activity as needed.

Want proof a pedometer can help you walk more? Some people who participated in the study already were in the habit of wearing the devices before the researchers contacted them. These people walked more than the other study participants.

Don’t be surprised if you shed a few pounds incorporating these suggestions. Keep it up, and maybe one day you’ll out-walk even the Australians and the Swiss.