TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Almost two-thirds of Americans now say they take regular walks, a significant jump upwards, a new study finds.
However, experts add that far too many people are still not getting enough exercise to improve their health.
According to 2010 data, almost 62 percent of American adults were taking at least one 10-minute walk per week, compared with 56 percent who did so in 2005, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.
That's good news, CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a Tuesday afternoon press briefing. "Physical activity is the wonder drug," he said, and "more Americans are making a first step in getting more physical activity."
The uptick in walking rates means that "15 million more Americans were walking in 2010 compared to 2005," Frieden said.
Regular exercise is a proven health booster, and walking is a great way to get started, Frieden said. "You live longer, you have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a lower risk of diabetes and cancer, a lower risk of falls and depression, a lower risk of cognitive decline as you get older, and probably a lower risk of hip fracture and better sleep as well," he said.
However, despite the good news that more adults are taking walks, 48 percent of all adults still aren't getting enough exercise to make a helpful dent in their overall health, data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey indicates.
According to the U.S. government's Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, people should be doing at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, which includes exercise such as brisk walking, and it should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Walking rates varied widely depending on where people lived, according to the CDC report published onl
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