Regular walkers are most frequently found in the West, where about 68 percent of people say they walk. On the other hand, Southerners showed the biggest rise in the number of people who walk, jumping from 49 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in 2010, the report found.
More people with conditions such as arthritis and high blood pressure are also walking, the CDC team said. There was, however, no increase in walking among people with type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to obesity.
To make it easier for people to take up walking, the CDC recommends:
One fitness expert called the increasing popularity of walking "great news."
"Hopefully, just knowing more people are walking will encourage others to join the fun," said Samantha Heller, an exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn.
"Walking is such a great way be active. It's free and you already know how to do it. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing and off you go," she said.
And, she added, walking has been shown to help reduce abdominal fat, improve insulin sensitivity, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce anxiety and boost heart health. In addition, regular exercise, including walking, can make you physiologically younger, Heller said.
"Research suggests that walking can improve mental function, make your brain younger and helps reduce chromosomal damage associated with aging," Heller said.
"Start with five minutes out and five minutes back. In no time you can work up to a good 30- to 60-minute walk," Heller said. "You will be walking t
All rights reserved