Walking to Increase Physical Activity


The current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. Walking is among the most common forms of physical activity. Walking is appropriate for people of all ages and most abilities. Walking typically does not require special skills or facilities and can be done for transportation, leisure, or during occupational activities. Walking at a brisk pace helps individuals accumulate time towards the 150-minute weekly physical activity goal. Beyond the individual, improved walkability can make communities safer, support social cohesion, reduce air pollution, and benefit local economies.

Walking has also become a focus of various public health organizations, instuitions, and professionals as a way to increase American’s physical activity. “Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities”, released in 2015, established five key goals aimed at increasing walking across the country through improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll. The Call to Action, and subsequent promotion activities, further encouraged the development of a culture which supports increased walking for people of all ages and abilities.

In an effort to fulfill it’s mission and work towards the vision that, “One day, all Americans will be physically active, and they will live, work and play in environments that encourage and support regular physical activity.” The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance has dedicated resources and expertise to this important element of the physical activity and public health field.

Walking Resources from the NPAPA

1. The 2017 United States Report Card on Walking and Walkable Communities

The primary goal of the 2017 United States Report Card on Walking and Walkable Communities is to assess the extent to which the U.S. population and U.S. communities meet selected standards for participating in walking and providing physical and social supports for walking behavior. The 2017 Report Card is the first comprehensive, national assessment of walking and walkability in the U.S. Factors assessed include both individual and community level factors.

Key Conclusions:

  • The Report Card includes percent compliance and specific successes for each walking related factor
  • With 63.9% of Adults walking for transportation or leisure, the U.S. earns a C grade for Adult Walking Behavior
  • Baseline data for the 9 grades indicate room for improvement across factors

Download the Report Card

2. Promoting Walking and Walkable Communities – Cross-Sector Recommendations from the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance

The “Promoting Walking and Walkable Communities – Cross-Sector Recommendations from the NPAPA” outline a strategy for increasing walking in the U.S. population. The Recommendations suggest a new conceptual framework with six components including: policies, places, programming, cross-sector collaborations, data and monitoring, and resources and funding. The Recommendations include overarching strategies for each component, and a selection of supporting priority tactics.  The strategies and tactics call for changes in multiple societal sectors including transportation and community planning, public health, business and industry, education, and healthcare.

Oliver Bartzsch is an experienced medical professional with over 15 years of professional experience. With a passion for medicine, fitness, and personal growth, he is always willing to challenge himself to accomplish tasks and especially to provide accurate medical information to people. Oliver is a long-time medical editor for multiple sites. With more than 10 years of medical writing experience, he has completed over 350 projects with both individual and corporate clients.


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