How Many Miles Does the Average American Walk in a Year?

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A study published in 2010 in the journal "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise" says the average American walks 2.56 miles each day, or 5,117 steps. That translates into roughly 912 miles each year. How much the “average” American walks each year depends on many factors, including health, disability status, age and other motivating factors. Walking is important for promoting and maintaining health; the more steps you take each year, the more likely you are to benefit from significant health improvements.

Health Statistics

  • The study published in "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise" used a pedometer to trace the steps of 1,136 adults over the course of two days. Researchers compared average walking steps of individuals in the United States, Switzerland, Australia and Japan, revealing that walkers in the U.S. took fewer steps than walkers in other countries. Walkers abroad averaged 7,168 to 9,600 or more steps per day. One mile is equivalent to 2,000 steps. U.S. citizens walk approximately 2.5 miles each day or 912 miles per year, while participants in other countries walk nearly 3.5 to 4.5 miles daily. This equals roughly 1,643 miles per year.

Steps per Population Sample

  • Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health suggest that healthy older adults can average anywhere from 2,000 to 9,000 steps daily compared to special populations, who averaged 1,200 to 8,800 steps each day. An analysis of cadence, or the rhythm of walking, in both populations resulted in researchers suggesting that 7,000 to 10,000 steps daily are ideal for maximum health. This would be the equivalent of approximately 1,825 miles per year at 10,000 steps daily.

Room for Improvement

  • The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults exercise at a moderate intensity for 150 minutes weekly. Brisk walking qualifies as a moderate-intensity exercise. During the period from 2005 to 2010, the number of people engaged in moderate-intensity exercise grew from 42 to 48 percent, suggesting that more people are beginning to walk. Across America, incentives to walk, including the America Walks campaign, have proven beneficial for inspiring more consumers to participate in walking for health and for engaging community members.

Pedometer Tracking

  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science recommends starting a walking program using a pedometer. A pedometer is a simple tool you can use to track the number of steps that you take in a day. Using a pedometer, you can gradually increase the number of steps you take each day so you can hit the 10,000 mark by the end of the year. Set goals that including adding 100 steps each day by doing simple things, including walking around the house, checking the mail, going down extra aisles in the grocery store, or by walking while talking on the phone. Digital pedometers are available in most sporting goods retail outlets and online.

References

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