A jogger running A jogger running A jogger running (Photo: lzf / Shutterstock)

The people in this country take more steps than anyone else in the world

A new study tracked fitness in 111 countries, and you won't believe where the U.S. ranked.

Think of the streets of New York, and you picture throngs of people walking up and down the avenues. So if we asked you which country's citizens take the most steps, you might venture to guess the good ol' US of A. But you'd be wrong. Like really wrong.

According to new research from Stanford University, America crawled into 30th place with an average daily step count of 4,774. So who came in first place? That would be Hong Kong, with an average of 6,880 steps a day.

The new study used data from phones to track physical activity in different parts of the world. Smartphones are equipped with tiny sensors called accelerometers that can automatically record stepping motions. The data for the study came from the Azumio Argus app, which tracks physical activity and other health behaviors. Azumio anonymized the data but provided key health demographics like age, gender, height and weight. One interesting thing they discovered: men generally walk more than women.

The study consisted of nearly a million people spanning 111 countries. The final results, published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature, focused on 46 countries.

The seaside city of Tel Aviv is very conducive to walking.The seaside city of Tel Aviv is very conducive to walking. (Photo: Protasov AN/Shutterstock)

Many countries with walkable cities – like Stockholm in Sweden and Tel Aviv in Israel – landed in the middle of the pack with between 4,000 and 5,000 average steps per day by its residents. The researchers hope their work will help improve public health campaigns against obesity and support policies to make cities more walkable.

"Looking at three California cities in close geographic proximity – San Francisco, San Jose and Fremont – we determined that San Francisco had both the highest walkability score and the lowest level of activity inequality," said Stanford's Jennifer Hicks, who worked on the study. "In cities that are more walkable everyone tends to take more daily steps, whether male or female, young or old, healthy weight or obese."

Guy Catz Guy Catz sees a field as an ideal place to exercise. (Instagram)

Don't live in a walkable city? No worries. Guy Catz, an Israeli-born fitness trainer who has appeared on the "American Ninja Warrior" TV show, says there are ways to turn ordinary activities around the house into exercise. "Find a way to exercise that you will actually have fun doing and hardly notice that it’s a workout. Jump around and dance to your favorite music, climb things around you, balance on random objects you come across," he told From The Grapevine. "Fall in love by simply moving and interacting with the world that surrounds you, because that’s what functional exercise is all about. The playground doesn’t end when we are kids, but it grows to be the world around us, and the joy continues."

So whether you're walking up and down the stairs at home, or skipping down the street on your lunch break, keep working on increasing your steps. It'll make you feel better – plus it'll help us inch our way up a few spots on this list.


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