Most Americans Walk for Fun, Survey Finds

(June 6, 2017)

Local parks among the most popular places to walk in America

Ashburn, Va. (June 6, 2017) — Summer is almost here, which means more and more people will be outside taking part in popular outdoor activities such as walking. According to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), nine in 10 Americans walk for fun. Their favorite places to walk include local parks, along beaches and rivers, and neighborhood sidewalks.

Ninety percent of Americans ages 18+ polled say they walk for leisure or pleasure. That number is consistently high between Millennials (93 percent), Gen Xers (90 percent) and Baby Boomers (88 percent), proving that walking is appealing to people of all ages. Americans with children in the household (95 percent) are more likely to walk for leisure or pleasure, mainly at their local park.    

“By providing safe places for people to walk and play, parks are helping improve the health of communities everywhere,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “Everyone should explore the physical-activity opportunities that parks provide — especially walking because it has great health benefits.”

Walking, which doesn’t require any special equipment, is good for everyone. In fact, most health care providers recommend people walk at least 30 minutes a day, as it reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, reduces stroke (up to 50 percent), reduces pain and disability, and increases the sense of well-being. Walking outside is also a great way to connect with nature, which offers physical and mental benefits. Anyone looking to improve their overall health and wellness is encouraged to walk.

While walking is one of the easiest ways for people to stay active, not everyone has access to safe places to walk, including parks and open space. That’s why NRPA created its Safe Routes to Parks initiative, which helps park and recreation agencies break down the physical and social barriers that limit people’s access to parks. To learn more about this initiative, click here.

This poll is part of NRPA’s Park Pulse, a continuing series of monthly surveys that gauge the public’s opinion on topics relating to parks and recreation. To explore previous Park Pulse survey results, visit   

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit  


About The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit