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10000 simple steps to good health

Can a walk on the beach help give you a beach body?
Can a walk on the beach help give you a beach body?
Vincente Villamon, flickr

Is a simple step, or more accurately, 5000 simple steps the reason that obesity seems to be running rampant in America? A study published in the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise seems to indicate that there is a significant deficit in the amount of basic physical activity in the average American’s day when compared to similar groups in other countries. This deficit puts the average American dangerously close to living what is officially considered a sedentary lifestyle.

This study compared the results of monitoring groups of adults in America, Australia, Japan, and Switzerland with a pedometer worn throughout the day. The results showed that the American group averaged 5117 steps per day. This was significantly below the 7168 step average of the Japanese group and nearly half the averages for the Australian (9695 steps) and Swiss (9650 steps) groups. It is unsurprising that obesity levels are lower in those nations where walking, and physical activity in general, is higher.

The American average was dangerously close to the level—under 5000 steps per day—that is considered to be the threshold for a sedentary life. Additionally, this is approximately half of the 10,000-step average that is recommended for good health.

Columbus residents looking to add some walking to their life have plenty of options. One of the best is the Metro Parks. Not only are these parks, spread around the city, great places to walk, they also host hiking programs throughout the year and a series of Commit to be Fit Healthy Hikes for each season. There are still two more walks in the fall series, and the ever-popular winter hike series should begin again next January.