“You can break it up throughout the day. I think that’s how many in other countries are doing it,” Bassett says. “Many other countries have active commuting. So they might walk in the morning, take more steps at lunch and walk on the commute home. So they’re not doing it all in one chunk necessarily. “

Bashir A. Zikria, MD, works in the Department of Orthopedics in the Division of Sports Medicine at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md. He says this study also shows that we can’t blame our inactivity on the way we commute.

“In Australia, car use is almost as prevalent as the U.S., but they walk more than we do,” Dr. Zikria says. “We have to do the same thing. If that’s our lifestyle and we live in our cars, we have to do more exercising and leisure walking.”

Dr. Zikria says the pedometer is a great tool to help people walk more. He says pedometers are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Some can even be found on watches or in smart phone applications. Without one, Dr. Zikria says people tend to overestimate what they're walking.

“People who use the pedometer actually walk more than those who don’t because they have a goal to strive for and a set number,” he explains.

If you don’t want to buy a pedometer, Dr. Zikria says use your car to help you determine a good walking path. Then park your vehicle and put on your sneakers.

“When you are driving home, use the gauge on your car to see how far a mile is and then you know if you walk it, it will be 2,000 steps,” Dr. Zikria says.

Dr. Zikria says walking is a good aerobic activity for anyone, especially people with arthritis. “It increases your heart rate. It’s low impact so it’s joint protective. And I think it’s just one of those things that goes through all age ranges,” he says. “Everybody can walk. And just doing an extra mile a day is not that big a deal. It’s manageable.”

The study was published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.