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African Americans Need to Walk More! More Daily Steps Tied to Better Overall Health

Regular exercise has always been associated with better health. Still, with newer smartphones, watches, and “wearables,” we can now measure more accurately how much walking and exercise we get in a day. Unfortunately, we in the Black community do not get near enough exercise or even simple walking.

A study done at Rutgers University showed that the percentage of Blacks achieving physical activity guidelines was low and continued to decrease further with age. The highest amount of exercise was seen in the youngest in our community and started to decrease steadily from age 15 to age 65 and beyond.

Single Black Men Exercise the Most

Black men of all ages exercised significantly more than Black women. The researchers attributed this difference in gender to several factors, including neighborhood safety, child-rearing responsibilities, concerns about personal appearance, and other cultural dynamics.  

Black men that were “never married” exercised more than “married men.” In contrast, women who were “married/living with a partner” exercised more than “never married” and “no longer married” women. Go figure that out!

Employment is Good for Your Health

Unsurprisingly, “employed” people were more physically active across all demographics. Arising in the morning with a purpose and the activities inherent in being employed is good for your health. Walking is a big part of being employed with steps being counted associated with parking, job duties, breaks, socialization, and more while at work.

Education & Money is Good for Your Health

Also not surprising was the data that showed higher education and income are associated with more exercise and better health.

Increasing Your Daily Steps is a Great Start!

A study published this week showed that getting 9800 steps in a day was associated with a dramatically lower risk for dementia and getting as low as 3800 steps still showed a 25% reduction in risk. Most smartphones have a “steps counter” that is free and already measuring your steps (whether you know it or not). Take a look and see where you stand (or step).

Let’s Get Started!

It’s time to start benefiting from health research and incorporating more exercise in the form of walking into our daily routine. Married men need to get off of the couch and represent! Black women of all ages and social engagement need to know that their mental and physical health depends on their activity level . . . and there should be no excuses.

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional. Dr. Hall specializes in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. He strives to improve the quality of medical care through improved health education and awareness. As an expert in the healthcare of African Americans, Dr. Greg Hall strives for health equity in all patient care.