Strolling Facts
Strolling Facts

51 Fun Walking Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published December 28, 2016
  • Brisk walking helps reduce body fat, lower blood pressure, and increase high-density lipoprotein.[8]
  • 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.[12]
  • Racewalking has been an official Olympic sport for over 90 years. Distances vary from 1 mile to 95 miles. Racewalking usually is not the most popular sport of the Olympics.[10]
  • The United States walks the least of any industrialized nation. The average Australian takes 9, 695 steps per day (just a few short of the ideal 10,000), the average Japanese takes 7,168; the average Swiss: 9,650; and the average American just 5,117.[15]
  • Given that the world is about 25,000 miles in circumference and that the average walking rate is 3 miles per hour, it would take a person walking nonstop approximately 347 days to walk around the world.[8]
  • Interesting Fire Walker Fact
    Firewalking is both about physics and a state of mind
  • Fire walking, or the act of walking over hot stones or embers with bare feet, is a religious ceremony practiced in several parts of the world, including the Indian subcontinent, China, Fiji Islands, and New Zealand. It was also practiced in ancient Greece and India. Fire walking is said to help guarantee a good harvest or purify the participants.[11]
  • It would take about 225 million years to walk one light-year at the pace of a 20-minute mile. It would take 95,000 years to travel one light-year on NASA’s Mach 9.68 X-43, a hypersonic scramjet that is the fastest aircraft in the world. One light-year is about 5.9 trillion miles.[3]
  • It would take, on average, 1 hour and 43 minutes of walking to burn off a 540-calorie Big Mac.[1]
  • Humans became bipedal three to six million years ago. Scientists believe that humans started walking on two legs to better carry goods and to use energy more efficiently.[6]
  • On average, a person would need to walk seven hours to burn off a Super-Sized Coke, fries, and a Big Mac.[1]
  • Experts suggest walking 6,000 steps a day to improve health and 10,000 steps a day to lose weight.[17]
  • Studies report that the way a man walks can indicate his sexual orientation. For example, as a gay man walks, he will often slightly sway his hips.[4]
  • A 150-pound woman would have to walk 4 mph for 48 minutes to burn off a 240-calorie donut. This would be equivalent to just over 3 miles.[7]
  • The first successful robots to walk had six legs. As technology has improved, robots can now walk on two legs, though they still do not walk as gracefully as humans.[13]
  • Scientists believe that walking originated underwater by “hopping” air-breathing fish.[7]
  • Interesting Pedestrian Fact
    The crisis of pedestrianism (Meinzahn / Getty Images)
  • In modern traffic engineering, pedestrians have often been described as “pedestrian impedance,” or “vehicular delay.” Researchers note that walking has become a casualty of modern life. With the loss of walking as a cultural activity, there is a loss of an ancient and profound relationship with the body, world, and imagination.[15]
  • A 2000 study reported that walking regularly (three times or more a week for half an hour or more) saves $330 a year in health care costs.[19]
  • A 20-minute walk, or about 2,000 steps, equal a mile.[19]
  • Amish men take about 18,425 steps per day. Amish women take about 14,196. The average American adult takes about 4,000 steps per day. Only 4% of Amish are obese, compared to 31% of the general population.[15]
  • To burn off one plain M&M candy, a person would need to walk the entire length of a football field.[7]
  • The best way to lose weight by walking is to take a longer, moderately paced walk (40 minutes at 60-65% maximum heart rate). Shorter, faster walks (20-25 minutes at 75%-85% maximum heart rate) are best for conditioning the heart and lungs.[8]
  • A 150-pound man burns 100 calories per mile walking. A 200-pound man burns 133 calories per walking mile. And a 250-pound man burns 166 calories per mile. A person burns essentially the same amount of calories whether they run or walk a mile. Running just gets a person to a destination faster.[7]
  • An average city block is equivalent to 200 steps.[19]
  • My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the heck she is.

    - Ellen DeGeneres

  • A significant difference between walking and running is the amount of time each foot contacts the ground. While walking, at least one foot is in contact with the ground at any given time, and the length of time the foot is in contact is longer than while running. During a run, foot contact with the ground is less than walking, and there is a period of time where both feet are not in contact with the ground.[8]
  • Chickens, pigeons, cranes, quails, and at least eight of the 27 families of birds bob their head when they walk. Researchers suggest that they do this because head bobbing helps with balance, provides depth perception, and sharpens their vision.[18]
  • Sleepwalking is called somnambulism (Latin somnussleep” + ambulare “to walk”). About 18% of the world suffers from somnambulism.[14]
  • Most babies begin to walk around 13 months, though some may start as early as 9 or 10 months and as late as 15 or 16 months.[8]
  • Walking is also known as ambulation. The term “walk” is from the Old English wealcan, or “to roll.”[8]
  • Researchers at the Universite Catholique de Louvin showed that a woman’s sexual history, specifically if she regularly experiences vaginal orgasm, could be detected in the way she walks.[2]
  • Interesting Pedestrian Facts
    A woman’s sexual history may be detected by the way she walks

  • Walking can help decrease the risk of heart attack, decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and can even reduce the risk of bone fracture. Additionally, brisk walking can reduce stress and depression levels as well as improve cancer survival rates.[17]
  • A person is 36 more times likely to be killed walking than by driving a car. A person is 300 times more likely to be killed walking than by flying in an airplane.[16]
  • Even though Americans use walking as their mode of transportation in less than 6% of their trips, over 13% of all traffic deaths involve pedestrians.[9]
  • Walking briskly for one mile in 15 minutes burns approximately the same amount of calories as does jogging an equal distance in 8.5 minutes.[9]
  • The most popular form of exercise in the United States is walking.[9]
  • Even though over 40% of the trips taken in the U.S. are less than one mile, less than 10% of all trips are made by walking or biking.[9]
  • A typical pair of tennis shoes will last 500 miles of walking.[3]
  • Little Known Walking Fact
    Tennis shoes can take a beating and keep on walking

  • In 1970, 66% of children walked to school. Today, only 13% walk.[9]
  • Younger people walk dramatically more than older age groups. Five 15-year-olds have almost twice the percentage of the walking trips as the 40-to-64-year-old age group (15.2 and 7.8%, respectively).[9]
  • The highest rate of walking is in the Mid-Atlantic States where 15.8% of trips are made by walkers. The East South Central States have the lowest walking rates, with just 6.0 % of all trips are made by pedestrians.[9]
  • 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.”[13]
  • All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.

    - Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols 

  • Less than 50% of American adults exercise enough to gain significant health or benefits. Inactivity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., second only to tobacco use.[9]
  • Mortality rates among retired men who walked less than one mile per day were almost twice as much as those who walked more than 2 miles per day.[9]
  • Researchers have found that women who walked at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function than women who walked less than 40 minutes a week.[19]
  • Walking helps prevent osteoporosis. Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk around one mile per day each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk less.[19]
  • Walking reduces the risk of both breast and colon cancer.[19]
  • The average human walking speed is about 3.1 miles per hour, or 5.0 kilometers per hour.[8]
  • There are two types of formal walking: 1) power walking (or speed walking) and race walking. Race walking is an Olympic sport with rules, while power walking is a recreational sport.[13]
  • Random Facts about Walking
    Several parts of the human skeleton remain poorly adapted to bipedalism
  • Researchers note that the human backbone was not designed to work in the vertical position of walking on two legs. That is why modern humans suffer from sore backs, slipped discs, arthritis, and more.[5]
  • Experts note that when shopping for walking shoes, you should always buy shoes that feel comfortable right away. There is no “breaking-in period.” Also, feet swell during the day, so it is important to get fitted for walking shoes at the end of the day when feet are their largest.[8]
  • When the body walks faster than speeds of 3.1 mph, a person’s stride length naturally increases, which burns more calories. In fact, research shows that at maximal levels of exertion, oxygen consumption is only slightly lower for race walkers than it is for runners.[13]
  • In 2009 the National Household Travel Survey reported there are an estimated 42 billion walking trips nationwide every year. Americans take a total of about 388 billion annual trips. Walking, then, makes up roughly 10.9 % of all trips.[9]
  • Reasons People Walk in the United States[9]
    Personal errands17.3%
    To go home10.2%
    Visit a friend or relative8.8%
    Walk the dog4.0%

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