Recently I’ve been really into walking. I used to live in Atlanta which wasn’t the most pedestrian friendly of places, but ever since my move to San Francisco I usually opt to walk places when I can. But not just that, I actually hit up the park on most weekends in order to get a little extra walking in!
It’s not just about the fitness aspects either (although it is a bit of that too, of course). I really enjoy it as I find it’s a great time to think, a fun activity to do with friends, and there’s something special about feeling extra in-touch with the nature around you. Plus, I can’t even begin to tell you how many cool things I’ve found while on foot that I never would have seen if I had chosen to drive.
So if you’re thinking about stepping up you’re walking game, here are some interesting facts to get you motivated:
1. Americans only walk an average of 5,117 steps a day. Japanese take 7,168 steps while Australians take 9,695. Considering that researchers say 10,000 steps a day is the ideal, it looks like Americans are going to need to pick up the pace.
2. The longest walk around the world was completed by a former neon-sign salesman, Jean Beliveau. He walked 46,600 miles around 64 countries. The trip took him 11 years.
3. Walking sideways burns 78 percent more calories than walking forward. Lateral motion takes extra effort by putting your body to work in unfamiliar ways.
4. Racewalking has been an official Olympic sport for over 90 years. Distances vary from 1 mile to 95 miles.
5. Modern literary theorists see a similarity between walking and writing. As Michel de Certeau observes, “writing is one way of making the world our own, and walking is another.”
6. A study done at the University of Pittsburgh found that postmenopausal women who had walked regularly for more than a decade, avoided heart disease, falls, hospitalization and surgeries far more successfully than their inactive peers.
7. A typical pair of tennis shoes will last 300-500 miles of walking.
8. It would take, on average, 1 hour and 43 minutes of walking to burn off a 540-calorie Big Mac.
9. If you take 9000 steps each day, in a lifetime that is 3.5 trips around the Earth.
10. A study conducted in the early 2000’s reported that walking regularly (three times or more a week for half an hour or more) saves $330 a year in health care costs.
11. Walking on a rough but level track requires 50% more energy than walking on a paved road.
12. An average city block is equivalent to 200 steps.
13. A 20-minute walk, or about 2,000 steps, equal a mile.
14. To get a close estimate, count the number of steps you take in one minute and divide by 30. For an example, if you take 120 steps you would be walking about 4 m.p.h.
15. Walking around 20-25 miles each week can extend your life by a couple of years compared to people who do not walk.
16. Walking is also known as ambulation. The term “walk” is from the Old Englishwealcan, or “to roll.”
Now you know!