The United States Surgeon General has decided it’s time to take measures against the unhealthy habits of Americans, and thus, the campaign launched to promote healthy walking might aid in bringing awareness for this vital, yet overlooked necessity of our lives.
Walking is the simplest form of physical activity, that with just a few small sacrifices, such as not taking the bus for a couple of blocks, could improve the health of the population and cut the cost of healthcare quite drastically.
Step It Up! is the Surgeon General’s call to action, to promote both walking as a healthy exercise and the walkable surfaces within communities that avidly need it and unacceptably lack it. According to Dr. Vivek Murthy, “everyone deserves a safe place to walk”, be it on their own two feet or in a wheelchair, but it’s unfortunate that reality does not always come with that right.
Certain communities lack sidewalks, curbs, crosswalks or any sort of safe crossing that would help citizens travel without a worry of collision with passing cars, which further discourages the population, among many other things.
In a national survey, it was noted that Americans walk less than most people in other countries, with Australians reportedly taking twice as many steps per day as a U.S. citizen, a fact which is meant to eliminate the blame on public transportation or car ownership, as the two nations feature the same statistics.
Among all the participants, 94% of Americans had naturally stated that walking is indeed “good for their health”, and yet, 79% admitted that they should definitely exercise that particular belief more. Regardless, they don’t, and instead attribute their lack of it on various reasons that were taken into consideration by the U.S. Surgeon General.
In fact, 40% of the participants in the survey stated that their neighborhood is not very walkable, which should be their first and safest ground to exercise, and 40% of them stated that there are few places within walking distance of their home, which makes taking a car or public transportation much more convenient.
The list continues with 29% stating that they don’t have time to fit walking into their schedule, 25% claimed that there is no space around the speeding traffic, 25% reasoned that there is no one to walk with them, and 13% cited fear due to the crime in their neighborhood.
According to the Surgeon General, around 22 minutes of physical activity per day could greatly improve our health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer or diabetes, conditions that amount for around 86% of the nation’s health care cost.
If we could include better routines into our lives that include more activity, something as simple as walking, could both benefit our health and save money through one very small effort.
Image source: resveralife.com