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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 01, 2012

Why We Don’t Walk Anymore (plus a Primal Health Challenge)

By Mark Sisson
325 Comments

How many steps do you walk every day? Do you hit 10,000 steps, which experts recommend and is about 5 miles’ worth? Do you match the daily walking of a Hadza man or woman (8.3 or 5.5 km/day, respectively)? If you’re anything like the average American, you’re doing 5,117 steps a day, well shy of the 10,000 step mark and flirting dangerously with a formal sedentary classification. But we’re not alone (though we’re the worst). Of the four industrialized countries studied, not a single one found the mark. The Australians seem to come close, walking 9,695 steps a day. The Swiss follow with 9,650, and the Japanese are a bit further off with 7,168 steps per day. Contrast that with rural South African women, of whom just 11.9% can be classified as sedentary (under 5,000 steps a day) and for whom an average day means walking 10,594 steps (many of them done while carrying a load), or Amish aged 18-75 (PDF), who walk an average of 18,425 steps (men) or 14,196 steps (women) each day, and we’re all looking pretty darn sedentary.

Do we even need the cold hard statistics to know that we’re not walking nearly as much as we should? When I look out the window at 8 AM on a weekday and fail to see hordes of barefoot children walking uphill in knee-deep snow toward school (and uphill again on the way home), I know in my heart that walking is becoming a lost art in this country. But does it have to be like that? I don’t think so. Just take a look at a totally-fabricated-but-completely-plausible average daily schedule for an adult with a standard 9 to 5 job:

His alarm blaring (and eyes bleary), Ken Korg rolls out of bed and trudges to the bathroom. That’s 16 steps.

After brushing his teeth, flossing (if he remembers), and showering, he heads back to the bedroom to get dressed. That’s another 16.

From the bedroom to the kitchen to putter around making coffee, grabing some breakfast (bacon and eggs and a bowl of raspberries), and cleaning up is 40 steps.

He kisses his wife, packs his lunch, grabs his gym bag, and heads out the door to his car. That’s 50 steps.

He sits in his car for 45 minutes, never moving from the seated position. Zero steps.

He parks the car and walks to the office, which is located 300 yards away. At roughly 2.5 feet per step, that’s 360 steps.

He gets up from his desk several times before lunch, to make coffee (30 steps there, 30 back), to use the bathroom (45 steps there, 45 back), and to chat with a coworker (35 steps there, 35 back). That’s 220 steps.

For lunch, Ken likes to hit the company gym and eat afterwards at his desk. After walking to the gym (500 steps), he does a basic circuit, including an easy half-mile warmup on the treadmill (1000 steps) and walking to and from various weight stations (500 steps). That’s 2500 steps, including the 500 back to the office.

It’s 100 steps to an afternoon meeting in an adjacent building, and 100 back. 200 steps.

Ken’s off at five o’clock. He pops in to a colleague’s office to confirm their dinner date later that week (30 steps), then heads to his car (360 steps), for a total of 390 steps.

He stops by the market for a few things. They’re having steaks and grilled asparagus tonight. It’s a 100 yard walk from his car to the store (120 steps). Once inside, he wanders around the aisles (1,500 steps) for a bit, pays for his stuff, and returns to the car (120 steps). That’s 1,740 steps.

Ken gets home and goes directly to the kitchen to drop off the groceries. That’s 45 steps.

He grabs some salt, some pepper, assorted spices, some matches, and heads outside to start the charcoal and prep the steaks and asparagus for grilling. This takes about 80 steps.

After dinner and cleanup (30 steps), Ken and the fam take the dog out for a short, leisurely walk around the neighborhood. They do a mile and a half (3,000 steps), for a total of 3,030 steps.

That’s pretty much it for Ken. There’s some miscellaneous movement around the house, but nothing crazy. Let’s say another 200 steps before bed, for a grand total of 8,887 steps. That’s over 3,000 more steps than the average American takes, and in my eyes, that seems like a pretty easy day of walking. Nothing too strenuous, no dedicated lengthy walks or hikes. I may have been a little generous with the step counts, but it’s overall a manageable sum for an able-bodied adult, wouldn’t you say?

So why aren’t we hitting it? Why is the fictional character outdoing the general population? Why are between 25-35% of American adults completely inactive, meaning they work sitting down, drive everywhere sitting down, and sit down at home?

The main problem is that modern life isn’t made for walking. Though it isn’t true for everyone living within its borders, particularly in dense urban centers, the US (and other industrialized nations, increasingly) is a car country. We drive to work. We drive to the grocery store. We drive our kids to school. We drive to a fitness center to go walk around a track or on a treadmill. We drive because everything is spread out. We drive because our cities aren’t built with pedestrians in mind, because it isn’t always safe to walk. We drive because half the residents in our neighborhood don’t see a need for sidewalks and actively resist their construction. We drive because that’s just what you do, because “all my friends have their licenses already,” because “walking is for poor people.” Oh, and we drive because walking is tiring, dude, and the car is right there. In short, we drive because we no longer have to walk. Walking – real walking, for more than twenty or thirty minutes at a time – has become an elective activity.

And we rarely elect it anymore.

That’s really too bad, because walking is good for our general wellbeing. It’ll help you lose body fat, if you’re into that sort of thing, and the age-old bodybuilder trick to lean out is an early morning walk on an empty stomach (supplemented, of course, with stringent dieting, heavy lifting, and smart supplementation). But it’s also good for your brain, your fitness, your memory, your longevity, your blood pressure, and your general health. From a previous post, see this short snippet of potential health benefits associated with regular walking to get an idea:

So, obviously, walking more is a good thing. That brings me to a challenge. It’s a short one – just a week long – but it’s important. Crucial, even. And I hope you’ll accept it.

I have this niggling feeling that you guys – my whole cow-sourcing, veggie-fermenting, standup-workstation-constructing, type-of-cooking-oil-inquiring Primal readership – still aren’t getting in your five hours a week of low-level activity. Are you? Be honest with yourselves. Do you measure up to Ken Korg, the Australians, the Japanese, the Hadza, or the Amish?

Let’s take a poll. Be brutally honest.

[poll id=”30″]

Well? How’d you do?

Not so great, huh?

To rectify this situation and show you what you’ve been missing, I want you to spend at least one dedicated hour every day (yes, I’m bumping it up a notch) engaging in low-level aerobic activity – walking, cycling, hiking, rowing, swimming, or a mix of all of them. Just log that hour (and more, if you want) every single day. Walking around the mall or grocery store or to and from the bathroom don’t count toward your total. This has to be a solid hour of slow moving, preferably unbroken but splitting up the hour into two blocks works, if that’s easier.

I also want you to track your results. Remember last week’s fasting Q&A, where I mentioned using a logbook and tracking/writing down your results? Do the same thing for this challenge.

As you progress through the week, rank your energy level, mood, general sense of wellbeing each day, restfulness, or sense of productivity from 1-10.

If you’re able to, track an objective marker, like blood pressure or waist size. Since this is just a weeklong challenge, these objective measurements may not change much, if at all, but they’ll likely start to shift if you stick with the daily regimen.

If you have or want one, a pedometer would be a fun way to get immediate objective results. I guarantee if you get that hour of solid movement in, you’ll hit 10,000 steps without a problem.

If you must, walk on a treadmill. Heck, walk around your house like a crazy person. While it’d be ideal to walk outside, preferably purposefully through space and time, say on a wooded path or city street, what we’re ultimately after is the basic mechanics of bipedal movement. Lift foot, fall forward, catch your descent with lead foot, lift back foot, repeat. That is the premier Primal human movement pattern for which all of us are well-suited (injuries and preexisting conditions excluded, of course), and which many of us have forsaken – to our detriment.

Let’s knock that off. Let’s walk (or cycle, or swim) for an hour every day. Can you do that? I’m going to do it. Who’s with me?

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325 Comments on "Why We Don’t Walk Anymore (plus a Primal Health Challenge)"

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The Jaded NYer
4 years 4 months ago

I do walk a lot, but only because I’ve never learned to drive, live in Brooklyn, NY and walk or take public transportation everywhere. I’m sure many of us NYers have an advantage in that because drivers are the minority in this town (in my opinion).

But people like my mom who live in suburban NJ where sidewalks are nearly extinct, it’s not always easy to get around on foot. I’m sending out good vibes to all you suburbanites as you try and fit in an hour of walking/etc this week!

Martha
Martha
4 years 4 months ago
Agreed! I’m also from Brooklyn (also can’t drive), and I walk, bike or take the subway everywhere except Costco 🙂 I’m also a college student who has to walk all over a very hilly campus to get from class to class. However, I’m currently planning my stay in L.A. for the summer, and I’ve been shocked at how difficult it is apparently going to be to get around without a car. I’m hoping to be able to bike, but they certainly don’t make it easy. I’m just now starting to realize how fortunate I was to grow up in a… Read more »
Matthew Caton
4 years 4 months ago
There is actually a study done on this. People in NYC are much more likely to walk, and have much leaner body compositions than average Americans. I wish I could find it. I’ve also noticed this traveling to cities in Europe where the population density is high, such as Amsterdam and Beograd (inner city), almost everyone walks and everyone is lean. I saw only one obese person in Amsterdam. Almost everyone rides a bike or walks in Amsterdam, because they tax the hell out cars, parking, and taxi’s. It’s almost like the government subsidizes walking, but it’s in reverse. Also,… Read more »
Chris Rall
Chris Rall
4 years 4 months ago
There is plenty of evidence that where you live tends to affect how much you walk. It’s not the “modern life isn’t made for walking.” It’s that we have collectively made walking difficult to do in our modern lives through decisions like how we plan our cities, where we build schools, and what investments we make in highways and sidewalks. I get that this site is about personal choices rather than collective choices, so here’s a plug for using walkscore.com as part of the criteria for where you move next. For those curious about digging deeper on the status walking… Read more »
Bob
Bob
4 years 4 months ago

Ah, you’ve met our obese person. 😉

Seriously, there are many obese people in Amsterdam. I am one of them and I don’t remember meeting you. So there are at least two of us..

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 4 months ago

Maybe he was talking about you…

Shoobidooo
Shoobidooo
4 years 4 months ago

LOL.. that’s funny

HoneyB
HoneyB
2 years 10 months ago

LoL ! Nice quickie comeback : )

shazkar
shazkar
4 years 4 months ago

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/walking/2012/04/why_don_t_americans_walk_more_the_crisis_of_pedestrianism_.html

here is an interesting 4 part article from slate about the state of walking in america

america and its communities, for various reasons from history, are just not set up for walking

for example, i just visited japan, you could literally take a train and then walk to get anywhere…

compared to my parents house in suburban massachusetts, which is <1.5 miles from an amtrak/commuter rail station, but there is NO safe way to walk to it, because of busy roads with no sidewalks

pamby
pamby
4 years 4 months ago

awesome!! thanks for that laugh! 🙂

Jennifer
Jennifer
3 years 29 days ago
I live in the suburbs of Rhode Island and I can tell you that in Northern RI there is minimal walking. People who use public transportation probably do better specifically in the city. I almost feel “weird” walking when cars are whizzing by. With gas nearly $4.00 a gallon, I just think its a bit selfish to waste it on short trips to anything that is close by unless you have a legitimate reason. Get to know your neighbor! People are afraid of social contact. Before the invention of the cell phone people walked more. I hope this changes or… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
4 years 4 months ago

I’m currently walking every street in my city. This is a great way to make walking exciting, explore the city, and keep the dog happy. I estimate it should be about 125 miles by the time I’m done and I’ve walked about 25% of that so far in the past couple weeks. Get out and walk your city too!

Primal Toad
4 years 4 months ago

What city?

For a second I thought you were this dude: http://imjustwalkin.com/

He’s walking every street in NY City which adds up to over 8,000 miles.

JofJLTNCB6
JofJLTNCB6
4 years 4 months ago

Brilliant! The geek side of me would have a large blown-up map of the city on the wall and I’d color or highlight the roads I’ve walked…but then I’d feel compelled to “catch ’em all” and given that I live in a sprawling suburb, I’d have to devote the rest of my life to it.

Tim W
Tim W
4 years 4 months ago

Well then this site should make you giddy 🙂
http://www.newyorkcitywalk.com/

Todd
Todd
4 years 4 months ago

THANKS! That is one of the coolest sites I’ve seen in awhile! Appreciate it.

Beth
Beth
4 years 4 months ago

I’m SOO GIDDY! Thanks! I need to do this in my city. 🙂

Tina
Tina
4 years 4 months ago

Cool idea!

Trevor
Trevor
4 years 4 months ago
I thought of the map thing to. Just not as organized. Also, I don’t think I thought of it as long. I walk to and from work most days. Maybe take the bus once or twice a month when there is down pour. That gets me to an hour a day already and it takes about as much time as taking the bus. Plus I get some sunshine on the way home which I need. I work nights so sunlight is at a premium during the winter. I take a lot of vitamin D but I should be doing the… Read more »
MamaB
MamaB
4 years 4 months ago

I walk every street in my town every year. LOL – of course there’s only 4 streets and it’s at halloween with 4 kids

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 4 months ago

The city is New Hope, MN, a smaller city of about 5 square miles. It’s amazing that I’ve lived here most of my life and haven’t seen 1/3 of the city. Indeed, I went to city hall and got a poster size map of the city and I highlight all the streets I’ve walked (along with GPS maps).

I have a lot of respect for the people who take on much larger cities like NYC. That’s intense. I’ve thought about walking Minneapolis at some point, which would be about 1600 miles.

Sondra Rose
4 years 4 months ago

Great blog post & challenge, Mark!

I normally walk 1.5-2 hours daily (dog walks, hikes & urban errands) and when I dropped that in half this winter, my waist size went from 25.5 to 27 inches!

Needless to say, I am back on the trails and will make sure to keep walking a LOT all winter.

Greg
Greg
4 years 4 months ago

I’m going on a cruise next week! And although i’m looking forward to it, I panic that there won’t be enough place to just walk like I always do on holiday.

Harry Mossman
4 years 4 months ago

Where are you cruising to? On my cruises to Alaska and the British Isles, it was quite pleasant to walk around the promenade deck several times. On each trip, there was actually a 5K.

Depending on where you are going, there may be lots of opportunities to explore on foot in port. Of course, if you are doing a trans-Atlantic or repositioning, that won’t be the case.

Have a good trip!

Greg
Greg
4 years 4 months ago

It’s a week round the med, Morocco, Gibraltar and Spain so your right plenty of walking off the ship. And a gym on board too. Not forgetting looking after an excited five year old.

Thanks

priller
priller
4 years 4 months ago

On our cruises we actually end up walking a lot. Cruise ships are huge! You won’t have any trouble finding a place to walk. Plus we always use the stairs instead of waiting in line for the elevators.

Stephanie
Stephanie
4 years 4 months ago

The only cruise I have been on, I walked a lot just by avoiding the (long lines at the) elevators. I think we certainly logged more than 10K steps a day.

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 4 months ago

I thought the same thing first cruise I went on, but I averaged 12,000 steps per day (took the pedometer out of interest) one busy day I felt pretty tired at the end of it, looked at my steps and it was 25,000, thats about 25 kms mostly up and down stairs.

Greg
Greg
4 years 4 months ago

thanks to Priller, Stephanie and Sarah, I’ll not hold back too much at meals time then!

Primal Toad
4 years 4 months ago

Mark,

You are scaring the shi* out of me. Just last night I posted the following on my facebook fan page:

“I have an urge to do something crazy like walk across the United States beginning in June.

Anyone want to join me?”

Now you post this?!?! On why we don’t walk anymore? I’ll say this is an omen. I need to do this.

It would be for many reasons. One to just do it. To inspire. And to spread awareness about Primal living.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 4 months ago

haha! I’ve been talking (for the last couple weeks) about riding a bicycle from Washington State to Chile while surviving off the land (as much as possible, of course). I’ve been learning about trapping and skinning small game – I bought a couple of real portable bows, and I recently picked up a couple of books on identifying edible wild greens, seeds, and vegetables.

“I need to do this” from your post reflects my feelings as well.

Primal Toad
4 years 4 months ago

Well, I don’t know how to trap and skin small game or identify wild greens and such really. I’ll probably sleep on strangers couches, spare beds and maybe sleep in a tent many times. I’m not really sure. I’ll be planning this out all through May.

I’d be walking about 20 miles per day on average.

K
K
4 years 4 months ago

Whoa, how long would that take you at 20 miles per day? Where would you be starting and ending? This would be really interesting if you did this. Go for it! I always wanted to hike the whole appalachian and honestly don’t know why I didn’t before I settled down and had kids but I’m stuck (for now).

Stephanie
Stephanie
4 years 4 months ago

Barefoot or in Vibe’s?

Primal Toad
4 years 4 months ago

K – I am just thinking about it for now. Lot’s to think about! It would definitely really crazy if I end up starting soon!

But, I mean, why not do this?

Stephanie – Vibe’s. Probably 2-3 pairs. Good sandals too.

Nick
Nick
4 years 4 months ago

Primal Toad,

My wife and I had this conversation two days ago while watching Forrest Gump…If not for children we might have headed out that night! If you decide to do it good luck. I remember back in the late 70’s somebody did this and documented the trek for National Geographic magazine…it was a great read.

Primal Toad
4 years 4 months ago

A lot of folks have done it. I’m reading about Nate’s aventure right now. He did it last year.

Arty
Arty
4 years 4 months ago

I could easily do that.
I’ve evolved to walk…
Only problem is how to keep on getting a pay check LOL.

Mike
Mike
4 years 4 months ago

If you’re so inclined, this is quite an inspiring book about jus touch a journey.

http://www.amazon.com/Walk-Across-America-Peter-Jenkins/dp/006095955X

Mike
Mike
4 years 4 months ago

*just such a journey

juzzie
juzzie
4 years 4 months ago

Starting really walking again has been pretty big for me, it just feels right. Plus the muscles around my hip section are developing again, including butt muscles, butt muscles are awesome ;D

I get around 30km per week about now, which is in addition to daily living walking, and the results feel good, and so natural.

cTo
4 years 4 months ago

That is one thing San Francisco is good for: driving is absolutely impossible, and the public transit system is such a mess that it’s not a good option either. If I have the time, I frequently say screw it, and walk to my destination, which can sometimes add up to 3-4 miles roundtrip (with hills!)

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 4 months ago

I’m with you! I need to get off my ass…

Turling
4 years 4 months ago

I’m considering gardening as acceptable. That gets me to the nearly 5 hours, if not more.

Hillside Gina
Hillside Gina
4 years 4 months ago

Gardening is great exercise. Bending, squatting, pulling, reaching, kneeling, digging, hauling, etc! Plus being in the dirt and the outdoors.

juzzie
juzzie
4 years 4 months ago

I’d like to make an additional point (I forgot :P). Prior to walking I used to ride bicycle a LOT. And I really noticed since starting walking that your really use yout leg muscles in a completely different way, cycling is awesome for the quads, but walking gives your leg muscles a much more ‘total package’ exercise than cycling. Particularly in the feet and front side pelvis muscles in my experience.

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 4 months ago

I cycle every day, often towing nearly 100 pounds of kids, gear and the bike trailer. I have really cut down on walking since our second child was born. I was just feeling how tight my upper hamstrings were as a result of riding on clipless pedals for such a distance.

I made the commitment early this morning to start walking to work twice a week instead of riding to start stretching my legs out.

Then I read this post and have solidified that commitment. 🙂

Grokitmus Primal
4 years 4 months ago

I work in security and take an intentional walk most days. It’s one of the cool things that my job requires periodic walking rather than constant sitting.

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 4 months ago

Maybe another reason walking is out of style is that it doesn’t seem like a very good return on the time investment. Among all the other exercise options it seems this would be one of the most time consuming yet least rewarding.

Jeff
Jeff
4 years 4 months ago

I’m with you on that. I can easily get 4500 – 5500 steps (measured with Exerspy) in a single 55 minute Body Step class. How many hours of walking would that be? Busy as our modern lives are, efficiency is a must.

On the other hand, when I take a de-load week, a nice long leisurely walk makes for a simple active recovery exercise.

Emily
Emily
4 years 4 months ago

Every 2500 steps is equivalent to a mile for me (I’m short). I can walk two mile in 30 minutes. So your 5000 steps would take me half an hour. If I walked for 55 minutes (the length of your Body Step class), I’d almost be at my 10,000 for the day 🙂

Scott
Scott
4 years 4 months ago

I was about to unwind by playing video games for an hour — but you’ve inspired me to go out for a walk instead.

Erika
4 years 4 months ago
I am one of those strange American adults who does not drive ( due to some vision issues). As a result I’ve always done a lot of walking ( and carrying heavy loads!). I have always lived someplace where I could walk easily and safely. A recent move though has ended me up in a town with no sidewalks and countless blind corners. When I go out to walk with my daughter and my dog I feel like we’re putting our lives at risk. So, as you suggest in this post, like crazy people we walk endlessly around and around… Read more »
rozska
rozska
4 years 4 months ago

I live in the heart of Seattle, and I walk everywhere: to the grocery store, the coffee shop, the bank, to restaurants, to the movies, to downtown, to the park, etc. I also go dancing 1-2 times a week.

I average at least 70,000 steps a week, though my daily count will vary. How do I know? I use a fitbit pedometer. Don’t know how accurate it is, but I figure it’s close enough. It also helps me track my sleep. (www.fitbit.com)

Katydid
Katydid
4 years 4 months ago

I just bought one a few weeks ago, and I love it. I am not up to 70,000, but I’m working on it. It does motivate me to get off my butt 🙂

Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago
I love my pedometer. (I have an ‘Omeron’ Walking Style II) – I’ve worn mine in my pocket for about 2 years now. I aim for 10K plus steps, and usually achieve this. On a rare, very slow day, it reminds me that slow=sedentary (=unfit and fat!). In the UK, we are better set for pavements/sidewalks, at least in most towns. Mark’s point – and the post – is excellent, but the reason Mr Korg gets 3K more steps than the average American is because of the 1.5 mile walk with the dog. Americans (and Brits, too) would all be… Read more »
Hillside Gina
Hillside Gina
4 years 4 months ago

Mind you, all dogs are not equal when it comes to walking stamina. I have a weiner dog and he is a meanderer and sniffer – straight walking not so much! Although if I go to certain trails or the beach he will walk better than just around our neighborhood.

Barbara Hvilivitzky
Barbara Hvilivitzky
4 years 4 months ago
No so about some dogs being better walkers than others. They are born to walk. I’ve heard The Dog Whisperer on this topic. YOU control the walk, not doggie. He only sniffs and meanderers because YOU let him. Grab that leash and just keep walking – don’t let him stop and sniff at all. And make sure he doesn’t cross your path in front of you – make him stay by your side. After the first half mile let him sniff and pee – then keep walking. You decide pee/poop breaks. That’s what dogs want to do with their owners,… Read more »
amy
amy
4 years 4 months ago

Oh, that reminds me of my doxie. She was passed away at 17 and until she started having seizures, we would go around the block almost every day. She was so slow that I would almost fall over waiting for her. Our neighbors would laugh (good natured) at how long we took especially when Dixie would stop and rest at each driveway. I always had to allow over an hour, just to walk around a small neighborhood block. Good memories!

Emily Crow
Emily Crow
4 years 4 months ago

It’s true that not all dogs are equal when it comes to walking. My wiener dog is actually a great walker (unless it’s hot)…when he wants to meander too much, I just say, “Let’s run!” and he loves to run a few blocks with me, good exercise for us both. My cocker spaniel can also keep up. But then I got a Pom. After a mile I have to carry him, even sooner if it’s hot. It has nothing to do with who’s the Alpha Dog either. The Pom is just too tiny and he can’t keep up.

Don!
Don!
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, Americans and their dogs would be a lot fitter if they took a 1-2 mile walk together. NYT just did an article on overweight pets and it looks like there are a lot of them.

I have hip dysplasia, and extra weight makes it hurt more, so my lady takes me for a walk every day to keep the extra weight off and keep those hip muscles strong.

amy
amy
4 years 4 months ago

I used to live in downtown Portland. Walked everywhere; it was wonderful. Mark’s post has spurred me on to walk more here in Carson City now. Whoohoo!

Scott
Scott
4 years 4 months ago

ps. you can also get pedometer apps on your smartphone

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 4 months ago

Accupedo Lite!

.. it’s not what it sounds like.

Amy
Amy
4 years 4 months ago
I’m new to my office and always walk during my lunch break, for about 45 minutes. Several colleagues approached me about walking (they were actually watching me outside their office windows!), so I started a group. I send out an email reminder so people don’t get too wrapped up in their work and forget,and set up a reminder on my outlook calendar. We walk 3 days a week for a half hour.I do more on my own, but it feels good to motivate my coworkers and it’s a great socializing opportunity, especially with management folks. I’m going to see if… Read more »
Kristy OT
Kristy OT
4 years 4 months ago

Honest question: what’s the difference between this and “chronic cardio”?

John
John
4 years 4 months ago
Chronic Cardio is where you’re going for 20-45 minutes or so trying to hit 70% of your maximum heartrate, or some such measure. You’re pounding away at the gym, working up a sweat. This is simply walking. Unless you are seriously out of shape, a walk around your block shouldn’t leave you panting, out of breath. But that same amount of Cardio probably would. Basically, a slower pace. Also, there’s probably some other benefit. A 30 minute bike ride along the beach is much more rewarding than the same 30 minutes on the stationary bike at the gym.
Martin
Martin
4 years 4 months ago

70% of HRMAX is not that much. If you’re trained well enough and if you’re body is good at burning fat (read: keto-adapted), you can keep running at this heart rate for hours and use fat as fuel. That’s what humans evolved to be good at.

jake3_14
jake3_14
4 years 4 months ago

Assuming your knees hold up.

Real Food RD
Real Food RD
4 years 4 months ago

that would be jogging, running, harder cycling, swimming fast laps, and other activities that really boost your heart rate. then do those activities often, and for long durations and you have the “chronic cardio” concept or overtraining. gentle walking, swimming and easy cycling confer fitness without the heavy wear and stress of excessive cardio.

Drumroll
Drumroll
4 years 4 months ago

Real Food gets it right. The occasional bout of cardio for up to even an hour (I wouldn’t do much more than that, ever though), isn’t going to do much damage. It’s when you do 45 minutes to 1 hour on a regular basis, almost daily, that it DEFINITELY gets to be too much.

Professional runners (and even cyclers) that train for hours a day, daily, definitely do too much. Even recreational runners that run 3 or 4 times a week might be doing too much. But once or twice is probably ok.

Meg
4 years 4 months ago

The main difference is the amount of strain on your body. “Chronic cardio” is the stuff that makes you sweat heavily, gets your heart pounding, and makes your knees weak when you try to walk around afterward. A long walk for an hour per day may leave you a little more tired or even sleepy, but shouldn’t strip you of all of your energy.
If it does that, I would think that walking slower or working up to an hour over the course of a few days would be in order to get yourself used to it.

Dave M
Dave M
4 years 4 months ago

CC is forcing cardiovascular adaptation that is detrimental in the long term to retaining muscle mass while walking causes no significant training effect because it is of insufficient intensity.

Shannon
Shannon
4 years 4 months ago

Honestly, I think a lot could be done to solve this problem in adults if they took away benches at playgrounds. I’m completely serious! I see so many adults who take their kids to the park, plop themselves on a bench, and let their kids run around like crazy. I love to play with my kids at the park–it’s the easiest exercise ever. Parents with kids–when your kids are active, be active yourself, and I bet you’ll get that time in easily.

ioelus
ioelus
4 years 4 months ago

I saw the same exact thing at a science museum in Pittsburgh, filled with children exploring and parents and grandparents sitting on their asses on the benches everywhere. They even have benches on the ramp that leads to the upper floors, so people can stop and rest when they get winded between floors. I remember thinking that one of the worst things people ever invented was a place to sit.

jake3_14
jake3_14
4 years 4 months ago

The benches are also helpful to those who have back problems that become painful after standing too long. Even us fit people have other health challenges.

wolfemum
wolfemum
4 years 23 days ago

Without those benches some children would never get to the playground. Years ago when my eldest was little I would need to sit for 15 minutes after the uphill walk to the playground or risk passing out.

Sarah
4 years 4 months ago
I don’t understand how so many people can own dogs, yet still not walk enough. I have a lab (middle-of-the-road as far as exercise needs go) and in order for her to stay healthy, she *needs* an hour-long walk every day. Every dog expert you ask will say that. Sometimes it’s broken into a 20-minute walk and a 40-minute walk, and if I have more time we take it and do an hour and a half or two hours. I can understand (sort of) people not taking the time for themselves, but for another being for which they’re responsible? It’s… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 4 months ago

I’m with you, I walk my dog (a lab mix) 4-5 times a week around 4.5 miles (1.5 hours). The other days we either do the dog park or shorter walks. If we don’t get a walk, she doesn’t let me sleep at night. I should admit to being very fortunate, in that my husband, lets me stay home with the dog 🙂

Barbara
Barbara
4 years 4 months ago
Agreed. I have a pair of English Cocker Spaniels – they get (and need), a short walk in the morning and at lunch time and then a good hour of running around in the evening. If they didn’t get it they’d drive me nuts so it’s a fair trade off for an easy life. But the fact is that I love it – evening walk is a fantastic way of shedding the stresses of the day…and I’ve made loads of new friends too. Weekends are a whole different ballgame – hillwalks, beach trips – 2-3 hours at least. I love… Read more »
Joooolia
Joooolia
4 years 4 months ago

Luckily, Boston is a very walkable city. It’s such a chore to find parking that walking is almost always the better choice.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 4 months ago

I lived in the South End for many years and walked everywhere with a double stroller, even in freezing wether. I used to walk several miles, between going to parks, running errands and getting groceries. Having moved to the suburbs, I don’t get to incorporate walking into my daily routine–I have to make time for it. I miss the walking culture of Boston!

Jake
Jake
4 years 4 months ago
I lived in Boston over the summer and made sure to walk to and from work each day. It was about a mile and a half each way. I only took the T twice the entire summer when the weather was bad. I actually found my morning walk to be rather relaxing. It helped prepare me for the day ahead and walking home helped me leave things at the office and help clear my mind. Plus if you live in a city walking can be great fun. You may even meet people walking alongside you on the street! Or, just… Read more »
Andreva
Andreva
4 years 4 months ago

I walk every day, between 3 and 5 miles, but I live in Center City Philadelphia and only use my car if I need to leave the city. That’s fairly typical for people in my area, but atypical for most others in Philly.

ramsmom
ramsmom
4 years 4 months ago

Needed this – thanks! Will do

Rob Horton
Rob Horton
4 years 4 months ago

I’m with you! Honestly while I certainly live within the 80/20 rule for my primal eating, I admit my primal movements fall far short. Time to take things up a notch, make another “small correction” and take the next steps (pun intended) to even better health and well-being!

Great article! Thanks! … ran outta exclamation points so I have to stop commenting here 🙂

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
4 years 4 months ago
Life today has become MORE CONVENIENT than it was in the past–the work has been taken out of it! Even having babies has gotten easier, as the epidural has taken all the pain and second-thoughts about having kids away. Now we can have as many as we want pain-free, along with the disposable diapers, jarred baby foods, nannies, and all other manner of making kid-rearing convenient! The information age, electronic era, or whatever you want to call it has done their very best to make just about everything as push-button, remote-controlled, automated, and motion-sensored as it possibly can, and now… Read more »
MissJenn
MissJenn
4 years 4 months ago

Point taken and understood; however, no amount of pain meds or convenience is going to convince me to have another kid.

Todd
Todd
4 years 4 months ago

Yeah, I was going to say, ‘tell that to my wife’ 🙂

Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago

My thoughts, too. Great comment, and I agree 99 percent. But, I was very glad for pain relief in child birth! (I had a c-section for medical reasons that saved the life of both me and the baby. Not all progress is bad… 🙂 )

K
K
4 years 4 months ago

LOL, me too. I think the real reason it’s so easy to pump out kids with little thought about it is because if you can’t support them the government will. But that’s another topic entirely.

Marion
4 years 4 months ago

I HATE HOUSEWORK! The best thing I bought lately was a neato vacuum cleaner. Now while my little “pet” cleans the house, I get to do fun things like go for a walk before the kids come home from school and demand all my attention, or spend some time on a dressmaking project. Sorry, but cycling, walking or playing with the kids totally beats vacuuming, ugh. Technology is not bad per se, depends what you do with the free time!

Marcia
4 years 4 months ago

Keep your little fingers off my epidural (as I’m 2 months from having my 2nd kid). Seriously, it’s not the childbirth that will kill you, it’s the 1.5 years of sleep deprivation.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 4 months ago

I totally agree! Having given birth to three kids in five years and nursing them them on demand for years, the pain of childbirth is a distant memory. It’s insignificant compared to the years of sleep deprivation and chronic exposure to noise pollution! Epidural or not, you couldn’t convince me to have any more children!

britbrit05
britbrit05
2 years 9 months ago
What an absolutely ignorant comment. 1) pain in childbirth is largely the result of religion and deeply ingrained cultural beliefs. We expect it and think it is a must and it becomes a very real physical reality. It makes survival sense that there is some distress to signal to a woman that she needs to take cover and find a safe place as she will be vulnerable as will her child and the presence of men in childbirth is causing a lot more difficult and painful labors for women I believe and ruining intimacy and destroying male-female relationships 2) many… Read more »
Goyo
Goyo
4 years 4 months ago

10K steps everyday seems rather unnecessary for every individual. Besides some of us are a little more fit than that and dedicate our time to other pursuits.

I’d rather spend my recreation hour each day practicing something I actually want to be good at – strength, power, and stamina.

Walking is for the weekends when I have leisure time.

Jill
Jill
4 years 4 months ago

I wondered about this too. If I’m spending 1-2 hours a day doing more intense activities that I enjoy (bike riding, tennis, evening trampoline class), does it really matter that don’t walk much? I’d love to, but it’s just not possible with the typical 11-hour work days and 2.5 hour roundtrip car commute.

Jenna
Jenna
4 years 4 months ago

Mediocre, but I do stand, mostly – standing work station for my computer + being an at-home mom = no real need to sit down more than once a day (I do sit for about an hour in the evening, usually).

Goyo
Goyo
4 years 4 months ago

Standing should count towards walking. It is impossible to stand completely still even if all one does is shift his or her weight from foot to foot.

I am a big believer is standing.

lostAnnfound
lostAnnfound
4 years 4 months ago

Count me in

Debra
4 years 4 months ago

Just got a pair of Vibrams yesterday, so I am taking my dogs and my dog for a walk. I’m in!

Cathy
4 years 4 months ago

Debra, I have been wearing my Vibrams for over a year now with my dog. Enjoy them!

Marissa Davidson
Marissa Davidson
4 years 4 months ago

I’m pretty lucky as I ride my bike to work (a short distance, less than two miles). I also work with very young children, so I get to spend at least an hour a day outside with them. Then, I come home to a very energetic dog, so I usually roller skate with her or play a rousing game of fetch for about twenty minutes.

I don’t consider myself one that “exercises,” but I’m not sedentary either. I think it is nice to have that freedom to be outside and moving.

Orielwen
4 years 4 months ago

I walk to work: that’s about a mile there and a mile back. Sometimes I get out in my lunch hour and do another mile. That’s about an hour in total and still only three miles, of the five recommended. But what with a full-time job, and the gym, and my church responsibilities, and choir, and orchestra, and the garden, and the housework, and the husband, I honestly don’t see how I can make time for any more.

Elaine
Elaine
4 years 4 months ago

This article is strangely timed for me as well. As I just decided over the weekend to spend my luch breaks walking 2-3 miles. I’ve always been a low carb person, now attempting 21 day PB.

BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers
BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers
4 years 4 months ago

Coincidentally, I was just reading Mark’s previous post on walking last night and checked my town’s walk-ability score at walk score dot com. It was only 49%, but I think that’s because I live just beyond the one mile point for most destinations. I realized that I could easily walk while doing errands, instead of doing errands and finding time to walk. I’m already planning to walk to the farmers market, which opens this week.

jake3_14
jake3_14
4 years 4 months ago

Egads — my town scored 23%! But I know I can do a 40-minute loop from my apt. that includes 2 hills.

Cherice
Cherice
4 years 4 months ago

Working in a restaurant has got me covered on this one. 36 hours a week on my feet!

jack
jack
4 years 4 months ago

Play golf. A 6500 yd course turns out to be a 6mi walk omce you count all that walking looking for the ball. Also there is no better way to have nice walk in the woods

oliviascotland
oliviascotland
4 years 4 months ago
I’m lucky – I live in the countryside and I have two dogs who just love their walks, so they get about an hour a day. On top of that, I spend a lot of time fetching wood for the fires in the winter, coal for my Aga every day, as well as gardening several times a week. My house is not small, so I can walk a mile before breakfast just getting around the house and doing those early morning chores (putting dogs out, getting coal, etc)! The few times I’ve used a pedometer, I’ve been notching up between… Read more »
rose
rose
4 years 4 months ago

While walking to the gym this morning, I was thinking it was time to resume my early morning hikes! I’m in!

Susannah
Susannah
4 years 4 months ago
After reading the 10K steps goal elsewhere a few months ago, I bought a pedometer to check myself. I found with some chagrin that my usual count was about 7K steps a day. But once I knew that it was easy to bump it up to 10K more or less by taking stairs, parking at the farthest end of lots, and being inefficient at home (carrying single items up and down the stairs instead of multiple items to save trips). Fitness writers always advise this but it wasn’t until I got a pedometer that I realized how far short of… Read more »
ioelus
ioelus
4 years 4 months ago
I wish I could walk more, though the challenge has got me planning. I do everything I can to walk more, including parking as far from the school where I teach as I can. You should hear the questions I get. While I hear and understand some of the comments about prefering to work out rather than walk, for me, it’s all about time. I’d love to ride my bike to the store, as walking would make the trip ridiculously long and difficult, depending upon what I buy, but even bicycling is something I can’t make the time for. It’s… Read more »
spincycle
spincycle
4 years 4 months ago
I just spent 25 min. walking verrrry slooowly as I pushed my 4 y.o. on her brand new bicycle, and walked my brand new (to me) 8 month old puppy who is not sure how to walk on a leash yet. I bet I barely logged any steps, but made lots of starts and stops! Also, I’ve been yearning lately to live in a town where I could walk to the grocery store, to walking/hiking trails, and my kids could walk to school. Next time we move, it will have to be pedestrian friendly and built for walking to actual… Read more »
sgl
sgl
4 years 4 months ago

I have two public trans. options to get home and I chose the one that forces me to walk 25-30 min. on either side of my commute. I’m walking in the city though, and it’s nothing like a quiet stroll in the country. does anyone have suggestions for noise-blocking/cancelling headphones/earplugs? I don’t even want to listen to music as I walk; I just want to drown out urban noise pollution. Please help. Walking is great but not if you feel like you’re going through a war zone.

Heather
Heather
4 years 4 months ago
Noise canceling works on constant noise, such as jet engine noise. They need to sample the noise and then manufacture an audio signal that is the exact opposite, to cancel it out. So the hustle bustle noise of a city won’t get cancelled out too well, as it is too variable. Also a city is a dangerous place to walk in if you are not completely aware of your surroundings. Not so long ago down in Victoria a pedestrian walked in front of a train, as he had his headphones on too loud and didn’t hear any of the warnings.… Read more »
sgl
sgl
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks for explaining noise cancellation Heather. I guess I’m stuck with city noise. The benefits of walking may prove worth it.

Apple
Apple
1 year 2 months ago

Hi,

You can get battery-operated noise blocking headphones online. It’s worth a try!

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 4 months ago

i was recently on vacation, and walked at least45-60minutes every day. barefoot on a sandy beach. now that i’m home, i’d have to wake up about 530 am to get that morning hour in. i just have to make sure and get to bed earlier – another challenge! at least this time of year the sun rises early,too!

The_Spartan
The_Spartan
4 years 4 months ago

I usually get 15 to 20 hours of low-level aero exercises a week. Walking back and forth from training sessions, and around town. This doesn’t count my normal training either.

Sandy
Sandy
4 years 4 months ago

Walking is actually one of the few exercises I enjoy. We have two very energetic dogs that require a couple hours of walking a day unless we want them to destroy the house. Pretty good incentive. I don’t always go on both walks, one in the morning and one in the evening, 45 minutes to an hour each but even at only one per day it’s good. I’ve also started trying to take a 30-ish minute walk in the afternoon by myself, which is great for stress reduction and gets me out from behind my desk.

Debs
Debs
4 years 4 months ago
What a great post. I used to walk 5 miles a day to and from work and when I became self-employed I noticed the negative effect of not walking so much. Aside from the increase in waist, I noticed my joints stiffened and my muscles were much less ready for activity. I still walk everywhere I need to go, I just don’t need to go to so many places. But now I have my dog – a labradoodle who could walk forever – she is the perfect excuse to walk for a couple of hours a day. We go exploring… Read more »
Dan
Dan
4 years 4 months ago

American cities are not walker friendly. Elected officials have made the political choice of favoring driver convince over walker safety. This is reflected in how streets and sidewalks are designed. Designs can be changed:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/walking/2012/04/walking_in_america_how_we_can_become_pedestrians_once_more_.html

Linda T
Linda T
4 years 4 months ago
My company has Virgin Health Miles as a benefit. We wear a pedometer and based on the number of steps or active minutes that we have in a day we can earn health miles- up to 100/day. There are levels and achieving a new level actually earns MONEY. By July I will earn 525.00 dollars. It isn’t a down payment on anything but it is money that I wouldn’t have had and it does encourage me to walk on days that I might have taken a day off. I average 13K day and I have a personal goal of 5… Read more »
Ian Cannon
4 years 4 months ago

I’m up for the challenge and I’m sure my little Yorkie would love the longer walks… if it stop raining!
Also, my obsessiveness over stats in general makes me tempted to get a pedometer as you suggest, as it could well spur me on to go further.

diane nestor
diane nestor
4 years 4 months ago

Splendid idea, I say!

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