Do you know how much you walk in a typical day?
A new poll shows that many of us have no idea. But even for those who keep track of their steps, it doesn't necessarily translate to better behavior: More than half of this group doesn't meet basic government recommendations to walk briskly for at least 30 minutes a day.
The poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the World Heart Federation for World Heart Day on Sept. 29, included responses from 7,367 adults in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, China, India and Spain. They were asked questions online in August 2013 about the amount of time they estimated walking every day at a casual pace, and the amount of time they walked every day at a faster than normal or brisk pace.
"Awareness is the first step to a healthy heart. Paying attention to how much we walk should be as simple as watching what we eat," Dr. Kathryn Taubert, Chief Science Officer for the World Heart Federation, said in a statement. "On World Heart Day, we are urging people to take action to protect their hearts. By reaching the recommended guideline of minimum 30 minutes of moderate exercise, which includes brisk walking at least five days a week, many premature deaths can be prevented."
The poll showed that about one in three U.S. and U.K. adults aren't aware of how much they walk every day. Meanwhile, only one in six people in India say they don't know how much they walk each day. People in the U.S. and U.K. also reported less brisk walking than people in India and Brazil.
And of all the respondents from the six countries who did know how much they walked each day, 55 percent said they walked briskly fewer than 30 minutes a day.
According to government guidelines, adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise each week. The old adage to get 10,000 steps in a day hasn't been shown in research to have any more muscle strength or balance benefits than people who walk fewer than 7,500 steps daily, according to a 2011 study reported by Reuters, but researchers of that study did find that extra walking is good for weight control and endurance.
While there's no question that running will burn more calories and promote weight loss better than walking, Greatist points out that walking can still promote heart health by lowering risks of high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Need some help monitoring your walking and other fitness activity? Check out our reviews of some of the most popular fitness trackers on the market today -- or opt for an old-fashioned, tried-and-true pedometer (which has been shown in its own right to get you moving).