Adults integrate walking into their leisure-time (LT) in a variety of ways, including the use of walking as their only outlet for leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). The purpose of this study was to examine how LT walking relates to compliance with the 2007 ACSM/AHA guidelines for aerobic-related physical activity (PA).
The study sample (N = 14,470 adults, 20+ years of age) came from the 1999 to 2004 NHANES. PA Interviews (past month) allowed each LT active subject to be classified by walking behavior (LTPA Active-No Walking, Walking-Only, Walking-Plus other LTPA). Walking prevalence, frequency (bouts per week), duration (minutes per bout), and compliance with ACSM/AHA recommendations were examined in SUDAAN.
Overall, 34.4% of adults in the U.S. walk in their LT. Among these active LT walkers, 34.8% were Walking-Only and 65.2% were Walking-Plus adults. Related to compliance with PA recommendations, Walking-Only (29.4%; 95% CI = 26.3 to 32.5) adults were significantly less likely than Walking-Plus (74.6%; 95% CI = 72.6 to 76.7) adults to be compliant with guidelines. The frequency of LTPA explains this difference in compliance (3.4 vs. 7.6 bouts/week, respectively).
Walking-Only adults should be targeted for increased compliance with PA recommendations by promoting walking frequency and added variety among LTPAs.
The authors are with the Dept of Exercise, Sport, & Leisure Studies at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, TN.