Meet Mark

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...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
May 01 2012

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

By Mark Sisson
262 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.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

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?

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

262 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Walk Anymore (plus a Primal Health Challenge)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. 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!

    1. 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 city where I got used to walking all the time.

    2. 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, since population density is high driving becomes a burden much more than walking.

      1. 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 in America, there is a great 4-part series that just ran in slate.com:
        http://www.slate.com/articles/life/walking/2012/04/why_don_t_americans_walk_more_the_crisis_of_pedestrianism_.html

      2. 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..

      3. 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

    3. 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 gets better. The benefits of walking are many. Clears your mind, reduces stress, increases awareness, allows you to sleep better. It also takes time to walk your not getting immediate gratification so maybe that makes it less attractive. I mean you have to put your self out there rather than stay in there…..:)

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

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

      1. 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 cod liver oil instead. I also get some nice cold exposure in the winter.

    2. 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

    3. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

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

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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).

        2. 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.

    2. 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.

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!)

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

  8. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 🙂

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

  12. 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 our house in the morning for our walk. It saddens me to live someplace that is so anti pedestrian.

  13. 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)

    1. 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 🙂

    2. 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 more fit if they walked a mile and a half with the dog every day. The rest of Mr Korg’s day is pretty lazy – and typical, I’d think.

      1. 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.

        1. 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, and what they would do in the wild – WALK for hours. As dogs are animals (not children!) it is natural for them to follow their Alpha dog (YOU) and do what the Alpha dog does.

        2. 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!

        3. 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.

      2. 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.

    3. 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!

  14. 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 I can up it to an hour!

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

  17. 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 not just laziness or poor planning, it’s bad pet stewardship.

    1. 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 🙂

      1. 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 it!

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

    1. 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!

  19. 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 get to stop and watch as an oblivious walk and texter almost gets hit by oncoming traffic!

    What’s not to love.

    Obviously some cities are harder to walk in than others. I live in the suburbs of Miami and walking to places is not the convenience as it is in NY where you can walk to the market to pick up fresh food, etc.

  20. 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.

  21. 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 🙂

  22. 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 all those gadget workers have been put out to pasture because there’s no more for them to do. The rest of us are also stuck with nothing to do as a result of the pastured workers’ efforts.

    It’s always been about “freeing time”…to do WHAT ELSE? I’d like to know. Freeing time to spend on Facebook or Twitter, texting some garbled nonsense to the world about what you’re doing that very second?

    Want evidence? Just look at the Roomba, and its outdoor cousin, the Rooma mower. The smart phone is another example. How hard was it ever to run a vacuum cleaner around, or push a lawn mower, or look things up in a library? Apparently for some, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back!

    The only thing someone hasn’t managed to make is an individual cell activity control device, but I’m sure that’s on the horizon.

    It’s always been about making life more convenient–that’s what propelled our economy since the Depression. They call this “progress”, but is it really? We did all this to get off the farm and away from rural roots, to make a “better life” for ourselves, but where do we find ourselves today? Back on the farm, begging for clean food from clean places.

    Have we come full-circle as a society? Perhaps. We’re headed back to the farm, but now the farmer herds his cows with GPS, runs his unmanned farm equipment with remote control, satellite, and GPS, has milking stations on timers, and machines to pick crops. He also buys pre-made food for the animals instead of growing his own. Animals themselves are artificially inseminated because they can no longer remember how to breed, and we call this progress? No–this is CONVENIENCE and TIME-SAVING for the farmer so he can provide us with a little nostalgia.

    This is our epidural to take away the pain of paying premium prices for what should cost less than conventional food–after all, less went into producing it, right? Problem is, now there’s so many more of us to feed!

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

      1. 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… 🙂 )

      2. 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.

    2. 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!

    3. 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.

      1. 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!

    4. 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 primitive societies have always had natural pain remedies much more effective and safer than what we use today and 3) women are less likely to want babies today and have fewer than they ever have. A lot of women that want a lot of babies have natural home births

      Saying that having babies is easier than ever is plain ignorance. Women are more disrespected in their roles as mothers now more than ever and mothers are granted absolutely no legal protections even in marriage. Under population, not over population is becoming the issue now because we simply aren’t having babies. Women now opt for the “safer” option- a career.

      Look up orgasmic birth and belly dance and find that painless natural childbirth is not a new idea and goes way back a long time. I had a natural home birth with only me and two women NO MEN (including my husband ) were present. I felt some pain but nowhere near what society makes it out to be. It was peaceful and I couldn’t believe I had just given birth because society told me it was the worst thing ever but it wasn’t. Nobody touched me and I was able to have a stress free birth that was relatively painless and no injuries. Most women get injured because of what the medical establishment does (slices a woman open without her consent).

      Birth can be peaceful women just need to listen to their bodies and they need PRIVACY. Something that is lost in us today.

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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).

    1. 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.

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

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

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

  31. 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

  32. 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 7 and 12,000 steps per day depending on how lazy I’m feeling …

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

  34. 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 the goal I was yet how easy it was to add 3K steps.

  35. 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 not convenience–I can’t get the things I’m expected or required to do in a day done if I allow time for long walks.

    I do think it’s interesting in Mark’s Ken Korg scenario that, without that mile and a half walk, Ken is walking the same amount as the average American. Maybe just the average day explanation with the math would demonstrate how, without doing something extra, we’re living too sedentary lives?

  36. 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 destinations, or I ain’t moving!

  37. 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.

    1. 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. Walking into traffic is common with texters, and head phones too,
      Cheers

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

        1. Hi,

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

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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 parts of the city I wouldn’t normally need to go to.

  42. 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 miles and 45 active minutes (vigorous activity – which is brisk walking ~ 3.2 miles/hour).

    I walk at lunch whenever possible and it REALLY helps to clear my mind and de-stress. I am hating my job at the moment and if it weren’t for walking at lunch I might end up in jail or with high blood pressure from the nonsense!

  43. 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.

  44. As I read “walking is for poor people” I remember all the stupid faces in Florida two years ago, when my ex-girlfriend and I were walking to the supermarket about 2 miles away (with our big empty suitcase from our flight to put the purchases in). People staring at us out of their cars and we even got some “haha, freaky germans” at the supermarket.
    It wasn’t such a big deal for us. Besides being hungry, we enjoyed it – we’ve seen some nice things along the way, felt the sun on our skin and in the end had what we needed. So that’s why we didn’t get the jokes I guess. The only funny thing to us was that it seemed so unbelievable to the people we met.

    So in my case, living in a bigger german city, I only can recommend cycling for locomotion. Most of the cities have a really good public transportation infrastructure but still I’m even faster by riding my bike. The car, with its stop and go motion and its expensive gas price, is no daily alternative for getting from A to B.

  45. I just mapped it out and found that my office is a tad over 5 miles from home, depending on which route I take. Coincidence? I think not!

  46. Treadmill desk for office workers is a great place to start! I love my LifeSpan Fitness desk!

  47. I use the fitbit with clients to make sure they are walking enough during the week. Plus, most of them love the competitive aspect.

  48. I remember walking in the USA and being looked at as if I was some sort of wierdo or criminal. I’ve heard about similar problems in Australia due to the distances but there’s nowhere in Europe with such an anti walking attitude as even small towns in the US.
    I’m not saying that other cities or nations are so much better, but with realistic petrol prices rather than artificially deflated ones at least there are some social bonus points for walking.

  49. Every day I see parents driving their kids to the bus stop. The kids sit in the cars until the bus comes then the parents turn around and drive home. I live in a development with sidewalks. The bus stop is, at most, .25 miles from their house. Probably less. Teachable moment, parents! Get walking!

  50. Think about using your breaks at work to walk, and get away for a bit.

    I have two 15 minute breaks at work and we have a large parking lot that I walk around on each break, about a half mile. This is a nice and productive break. I used to mostly work through my breaks.

  51. I can’t really walk since I’m injured, but I’ve just been cleared for swimming and I’ll be able to cycle on a trainer in a couple of weeks. Do I get extra ‘credit’ for walking with crutches? That’s much harder than normal walking!

  52. Periodically I must travel to different states for work. 6 years ago I traveled to a small Pennsylvania village for work. (I am a Californian). This job ended up lasting 15 month’s. I never had a car! I walked to work (1.5 miles each way). After observing the mainly obese customers at the 1 local diner, I swore off that place and cooked in my hotel room with a crockpot. Groceries and laundry also meant more walking (w/ a load!). I have to say the walking was instrumental in my fitness journey. I am now a Level One Crossfit Trainer and looking to start a career in the fitness industry. Walking rocks!

  53. I don’t personally know anyone who walks as much as I do. Seems most people in my neighborhood would drive to the bathroom if they could, which boggles my mind. I live in an incredibly walkable neighborhood. We have a score of 75 here http://www.walkscore.com/ but as I don’t mind walking farther than the average Jane I consider my location to score 100. I never drive, but my husband drives us on the weekends if we are going somewhere farther than the neighborhood with the children. My kids go to 2 different schools in opposite directs of home and I walk them, rain or shine or -40. This alone is a minimum of 6km/day. Add in the grocery shopping and other errands I run on foot and it easly hits 8-10 km many days. My kids used to resent me making them walk to school, but over the months they have gotten used to it and no longer complain. They know it’s good for us and the planet. We do also cycle now that the snow is gone but we still walk plenty. I often dream about living in a community with no vehicles and all the streets are for cyclists.

  54. I’m one of those crazy walk in the living room people! This winter on days when it was horrible, I would walk the loop from living room to kitchen while listening/watching terrible TLC shows. Every few loops I’d launch up and jump on the couch. May have worn a path in the carpet…

  55. yea but…… It is pouring here in NH… ummm and it is cold ( 44 f) and ummmm I have my 6 year old…..

    There was that a good whine?
    I am working my way into walking more. Just learning to silence the inner whiner….

  56. I spend most of my day with my 18 month old toddler. He’s very active and doesn’t stop moving for a moment. I love how active he is. I however, am 9 months pregnant and find that it’s difficult to do much walking at all. I do hike up and down our stairs a lot and even carry our little boy when it’s time for a nap (all 25 lbs of him). When I go for any sort of a walk I get very excruciating round ligament pain to the point where I can’t walk anymore and just double over for the pain to stop. Trying to push through it just makes me want to lay down right where I am. I had this happen to me a block from my house, which I could see and thought, “it’s not that far”. Every step was slow and painful. It took me 20 minutes to get to the door and I was sweating by the time I got there. I collapsed on the couch and couldn’t move for some time. My doctor says it’s normal for pregnant women to have these experiences and recommends taking Tylenol if it happens. I can’t wait to deliver my baby in 4 weeks so I can progress on to more normal forms of exercise. Walking just isn’t happening.

    1. I so feel your pain. BTDT, totally understand how exhausting carrying a baby can get in the ninth month. For this last month, give your body a little TLC and don’t fret that you can’t do as much as you used to be able to do. Believe me, within a month of delivery, you’ll be more active than you’ve ever been, with two babies in the house!

    2. Right there with ya. I am 7 months pregnant and while my ligament pain isn’t that bad yet, my feet, legs and back can’t take my being on my feet for more than 45 min to an hour.

  57. I recognized the southward movement of my rump recently (the joys of aging, huh) & made some changes to my standard routine in an effort to force it to move back north 🙂

    I work on the 2nd floor of my office building with the community printer just around the corner from me. I deleted that printer and changed my default to the printer DOWNSTAIRS and further down the hall. While this added perhaps 1 minute to my print retrievals it has shaved 1/4″ off my upper thigh & there has been a northward shifting of my rump. Whoo hoo!

    Drunk on this success, I’ve begun parking at the back of every parking lot I park in hoping to incite further progress north.

    I’m now adding Mark’s challenge to the efforts…

    1. What a great idea! I think little tricks like this help so much at an office job.

  58. If you want a great walking vacation, check out el camino de Santiago in Spain. I walked across the whole country and spent only around 500$. Of course, that was a long time ago….

  59. Coming from the UK, I’m having trouble even visualising a town without sidewalks (or pavements as we call them) – how does it work, how do things get delivered – does the road go right up to the walls of the house? From here it seems very strange, only our motorways and some very narrow single-track country roads don’t have pavements and as soon as you near a village, a pavement will appear. I never realised how difficult it would be to get around without them, I have taken them for granted but am ever so grateful now.

    1. In between the roads and the houses are vast stretches of grass, Americans call the ‘front yard’. (These exist all over suburbia – though many big cities do have pavements…)

    2. I lived in Germany for 9 months and fell in love with the way their pedestrian system worked. Here, if you live in the country or an unplanned community (which is most of the places outside of the city) people will have a front yard to give some space from the road, a ditch for the water runoff, and then the road (if they need to widen the road they will “eat” some of your front yard which technically makes your property extend to the center divide of the road). If you go for a walk you walk on the road. If a car comes you walk in the ditch if it’s not full of water and mud. It’s very inconvenient if there’s no ditch to go to as you have to share a sliver of road with a maniac driving a big car who’s not paying attention. This happens often in the countryside. As far as deliveries go, the post office has mail boxes on the road they deliver to, that you get to walk to. If it’s a parcel service like UPS or Fedex, they get as close to the house as they can and leave a box on your porch, running the whole way so they can get their vehicle out of traffic.

      1. Wow – sorry but this sounds like some sort of cruel and unusual punishment for having workable legs. I think I’d be tempted to walk on the edge of the swathes of grass but guess I probably wouldn’t last too long would I :-O!

      2. As I live in Germany, I totally agree. Even the smallest village has sidewalks and I’ve always taken it for granted up until now.

        @Janet Cliff: There are no swathes of grass 😉 In Germany, the streets are reserved for motorised traffic and adult cyclists, the sidewalks for walkers and kids on bikes. Everything has its pros and cons.
        Of course the hard ground is not extremely comfortable to walk on (but totally manageable if you have two more or less healthy legs).
        On the other hand you always have safe & steady ground, even if it has been raining like crazy, and I love inline skating, sooo… Also don’t get me wrong, these sidewalks are only in housing estates. You can still leave them for unpaved routes in parks, the woods, etc. It is also very safe for kids who learn to stay on the sidewalks from childhood on.

  60. I’m in, though I work from home and have four kids, so my “walks” will involve a double jogging stroller and a baby strapped to my back! Walking+heavy lifting… nothing like multi-tasking 🙂

  61. I walk a lot because I have an outdoor job as a parks gardener, and I am Australian 🙂 Though I could be sitting on a mower all day I tend to choose the job that gives me the most walking, which makes me popular with my colleagues who enjoy sitting on a mower all day. I will have to get a pedometer to see how many steps that I do, I’m sure it will be heaps

  62. I have to walk a lot at work, and I cycle to and from work for roughly half an hour each way every single day.
    I feel like I probably do about 12,000 steps on a good day. On a bad day I probably manage about 8,000.
    Feel pretty confident about this, but could still push for some more steps so I’m buying a pedometer to see where I could improve. 🙂

  63. It’s pretty easy to walk. I don’t have a car and don’t plan to get one. My feet and public transportation (which often requires quite a bit of walking) is all I’ve got. So I hit 4-5 hours easy each week without putting in an effort. Some busy weeks I may go well over 5.

  64. my waitressing job thankfully keeps me on my feet and walking for hours at a time, 3-5 days a week. Also being a student, I walk to all my classes which are just about a mile away. I want to join this week though and make a concerted effort to do and hour unbroken.

  65. Walking has always been one of my favorite forms of exercise so I’m almost always well over five hours/week. I’m lucky to live in a very walkable area for shopping/errands as well, so can go for days without the car. And when the weather’s really bad, there’s always my default in-house option: fetching and then putting away multiple loads of laundry one item at a time. Although sometimes I cheat and put away a complete pair of socks at the same time 🙂

  66. Awesome. I love walking; I would walk everywhere if I could (and I’ve honestly wondered how long my fifteen minute drive to work would take on foot). True, the market on the corner is a bit more expensive than the other one down the way, but I can walk there, and do every chance I get. Once, I walked to the cheaper one (two hour trek, there and back), and it was glorious. Unfortunately, it’s not very do-able if I need to pick up milk. The fifteen minute walk works much better in that respect.

    I can never stay seated for very long, anyway. Great post! I hate driving, anyway. Viva la walking!

    1. I walk to the stores all the time, and for heavy items I use a small backpack, rather than a hand-held or shoulder bag. I don’t buy milk, but I use it all the time to schlep canned cat food home from the Petco a mile away (it holds two cases easily). My shoulders and hands thank me for that.

      There’s a 97-year-old lady who lives in the roominghouse next door to me, and she goes out every single day, no matter what the weather is, with her wire “granny cart.” I know she walks to the library every day to read the papers, which is about 3/4mi. from home, but I see her much further afield, too. She’s often gone all day. When I’ve been out with the car and seen her in stores I’ve offered to give her and her cart rides home–nope! She doesn’t need ’em! She’s slow, and uses a cane, but if she walks fewer than 5mi. a day, I’d be very surprised. Which, I imagine, is why she’s 97 and still walking everywhere…

  67. Are Vibrams really any better than minmus shoes? I use minimus and walk barefoot as much as possible.

  68. Very timely. My CW doc just sent me to a cardiologist today in hopes he could convince me to take statins, lipitor, etc. (He did not give hard sell and I continued to say no.)

    Cardiologist asked how much I walk. I said, “Uh . . . .”
    Doc: “When was the last time you walked?”
    Me: “Um…Saturday.”
    Doc: “How much do you walk in an average week?”
    Me: “Um, well, I am working on improving.” (blush)
    I came home and did a 45 min. walk.

  69. I walk our beagle almost every morning, and run on the other mornings. I also lift weights some days. I’m going to add in a lunch hour walk at work – I’m very guilty of working my way through breaks and sitting at my desk too long. Thanks for the reminder! Will be bringing my vibrams to work 🙂

  70. I’m a nurse and on some busier shifts I’ve averaged over 10,000 steps in 8 hours.

  71. I read the article, answered “1 hr/week”, set my alarm for 30 minutes, said “ill be right back”, the just started walking away from work. I have my trusty crackberry (hence the post), so they can get me if they need me. Thanks for the wakeup, Mark!

  72. I’m already doing it, only problem is i find that my legs get really sore after 2 days of continuous one hour walks and i believe it is important to listen to your body and give it the adequate time to recover, so if your legs are sore u should stop and switch to something else (cycling) that will not stress that part of your body (legs) so you can recover properly, Mark is it better for your joints to walk on sand / grass instead of concrete, i find concrete hard on my legs? Also i sprained my ankle 2 weeks ago as the ground surface was uneven, the no. 1 reason for ankle injuries is uneven terrain. I love walking but i hate breathing in teh fumes of trucks / cars and motorbikes, think i’ll do my walks on the beach from now on, its just a pity we don’t get very nice weather here in Dublin, Ireland, ah well i suppose u can’t have it all!

  73. Interesting to see Switzerland high on the list. I think there is a correlation of more walking with good quality public transport and bad traffic congestion/parking issues. I know I’d rather walk to the metro/bus and take it into the city, and then walk where I want to go, than try and take my car and hope to find a place to park it and pay the huge parking fees.

    It’s also a cultural thing – you can’t get a driver’s license until you’re 18, so since teenagers (who are similar the world round) don’t want to depend on their parents, they instead depend on public transport and end up getting used to walking to and from places early on. I think it just becomes a way of life. My 19-year-old hasn’t shown much interest in learning to drive, because it’s so easy for him to get around independently. I also know several families who have renounced on a car altogether – it is easy to get to shops and a season pass on the public transport (including trains) is cheaper than a year of car insurance.

    1. I visisted Switzerland last summer, and we walked everywhere. The trail systems there are amazing and we didn’t bother spending the somewhat ridiculous public transportation fees.

  74. I walk about 20-22 hours a week and lift weights / body weight resistance for 3 hours a week. Two sprints on average. Two years ago I excersized zero hours a week. Needless to say I have totally turned my life around with Marks excersize pyramid.

  75. I’m 65, four years ago I went from being a chef/owner of a restaurant to a desk job (long story, don’t ask). I went from being on my feet from early early morning till evening to hardly walking at all. My weight balooned, my health went downhill. I was searching for help when I found this site and this lifestyle. My challenge is still moving around enough. Thanks Mark for this reminder. I do NOT walk enough and I need to resolve here and now to do more.

  76. How slow is slow enough to be a low-level run? I ran 5 miles in 43 minutes today, and I dont think I can move any slower without walking.

  77. Thank you for this post. I have been getting lazy about my walking. I live in a northern climate & don’t like walking outside in the winter because I don’t want to fall on the ice. So I walk around my large basement listening to audio books, podcasts or best of all, motivational workout music on my MP3 player which entertains me so the time passes quickly. My routine was recently messed up and I haven’t been motivated to start again. This post is just what I need and now I can move my walking outdoors. I also found my pedometer is a great motivating tool (when I use it). Also, I have a desk job and I set my cellphn alarm for a reminder to get up every 30 minutes to walk, stretch or do some kind of exercise. It surprises me how soon a half hour comes up, but without the reminder I end up sitting for much longer periods of time.

  78. We have had a border collie in our family for the last five years. She is a guarantee that I will get 45 minutes in a day of walking in the morning and the same again in the afternoon for the kids. Snow and ice? She doesn’t care. After Chicago’s blizzard last year, we were out walking. Love it. It does as much for me as it does the border collie.

  79. That’s one thing I miss about living in France. No car, no problem. ‘Walking distance’ attained an entirely new definition. Since I had little money, and I wanted to save what I had for nights out with my friends, lol, I walked EVERYWHERE. Not so much now, but I still manage to put in at least an hour a day on the treadmill at a moderate pace, inclined to the max.

  80. I live near the Coast in Calif and I try to walk to the market as much as I can. 1.8 miles each way. Other things are too far to walk to so I do go to the coast and walk along the beach and pier. It is on my list to walk as much as I can this week before I saw this post.

  81. My Dad came over from Sweden to visit me in So. California. After a day with me in the car and after experiencing a drive thru bank he said… “If the theory of evolution is correct. Americans will be born without legs in a couple of generations.”

  82. My wife got a pedometer a few weeks ago because she was curious how much we walk. We walk a lot! We live in downtown Austin, I walk with her every morning to her downtown office, and we go for an hour-long walk nearly every evening. On the weekends we almost never use the car.

    First week’s result: Just over 46 miles!

  83. I work 3km away from home and walk to/from if I’ll stay dry doing so.

    I’d recommend checking out walkscore.com for things that are walkable in the neighborhood you live and/or work in.

    I wasn’t surprised by my neighborhoods scores (work and home) but I did learn about some interesting things to do in both areas.

    I also learned exactly how close some things are (less than 1km and I was transiting or driving or not going because it seemed to far to walk).

  84. Im a landscaper so walking is something i do 6 days a week March through November. All i can say is at 26 and doing this my whole life in the family biz, i have a lot of miles on me

  85. “I want you to spend at least one dedicated hour every day (yes, I’m bumping it up a notch)…” M. Sisson

    THAT made me laugh!

    I hardly ever sit down…once I hit the couch it’s already 8 or 8:30pm…by 10 pm I’m in a laying position until next day 8 am, where I’m back up on my feet walking, working, house choring, dog walking, grocery shopping…again. 🙂

    Heck, I average 2.4 miles alone walking my 4 dogs. That’s before I think about breakfast.

  86. Just got back from a lovely hour-long walk during my lunch hour. I feel great! Now, on to my Big Ass Salad….

  87. I only rarely hear golf mentioned at MDA, but I think it hits a lot of primal targets, walking not least among them. 18 holes at 6200 yards once a week adds about 7400 steps, far more if you play as badly as I do. I have had the honor of playing not a few rounds with fit old men, some of whom work out before their round.

    There was recently a woman in the club where I golf who died at a ripe old age, but not before sinking a hole-in-one just a few months earlier. Would that we all could go out like that.

  88. I would love to see more relatively small challenges like this! Rids me of a few excuses and appeals to the part of me that loves a good challenge.

  89. If you need the motivation, make a competition out of it. Seven of us in our office have been competing for nearly 2 years to see who can get the most steps in a month. The losers have to buy lunch for the winner. Yes, this can encourage chronic cardio, but most of our steps are from walking. To even have a chance to win, we need to average 13,500 a day.

  90. Timely article (frequent occurrence Mark, thanks). I’m in!

    In February i began a walking for 1 hour in the morning before breakfast. It’s a leisurely pace (20 min/mile). My heart rate stays in the 90 bpm range (non-panting). I wear a weighted vest most days. That’s coupled with 4-5 days per week of ‘lifting heavy things’ later in the day at the company fitness center.

    I’ve been wearing a pedometer for more than a decade. Getting 10K steps is a breeze with that morning jump start of almost 7K steps before leaving for work. My new daily average steps has increased from 8k to 15K.

    In the past 60 days, my waist has decreased by 1 inch from 34 to 33 inches. My weight has remained relatively constant between 154 and 159 pounds.

    Over the several months, the goal is to have a waist size of 32 inches and then 31 while maintaining, if not increasing body weight.

    I encourage everyone to walk more. In addition to Primal Blueprint’s “walk a lot’ encouragement, the morning walk routine was ‘seconded’ after reading the 100 Workouts article by Dr. Lonnie Lowery. The article has been published several places. Here’s one from T-Nation: http://goo.gl/NaFJZ.

    Grok on!

  91. I’m not sure how many Americans know of the GCC but it has been big both here in Australia and parts of Europe for a while now. I’ve done it for at the last 5 years.

    http://www.gettheworldmoving.com/

    I thoroughly recommend getting involved in it at least once as an awareness exercise.

  92. If your work/school is too far to walk, try biking! If everyone who worked within 5 miles of their homes biked instead of drove imagine how much fitter our country would be? Walking is also great, but can start to get time consuming if your work is >2 miles from your home. Plus biking to work starts your day off so much better than driving. Of course, this is another thing where our society is designed with cars and not bikes in mind.

  93. I walk to and from work, and walk at lunch too. On weekdays I do about 15k steps and about 50 floors equivalent up hills. And I have a standing desk. I’d say my walking activity level is pretty good. 🙂

  94. Nice post, Mark, thank you.

    Question:

    My daily routine doesn’t include a lot of walking. Walking’s just not my thing – after years of foot pain, followed by recent surgery that I’m not fully recovered from yet – I’m just not that into it.

    I really love cycling, though. It doesn’t strain my foot like walking does. I ride 5 mornings a week. Not low level – about an hour at a range of challenging paces, followed by about 15 minutes of Primal-type moves (squats, etc.) and stretching.

    I’m guessing that’s a bit too much “cardio” for most people’s liking on this site … but, as those favorite Stones lyrics say – I like it, like it, yes I do!!!! 🙂

    I spend the rest of most days at my standing desk. When I need to go somewhere, I usually take the bus or a taxi.

    I live in NYC. Time is at a premium, for lots of reasons, including how I’ve spent my early morning time (i.e. cycling, working out). And the weather sucks, more often than not. This isn’t Malibu 🙂

    So, based on these facts and circumstances, am I good? Or am I totally missing out on something, because I haven’t built walking into my day?

    Thanks.
    Susan

  95. Walking 20-30 minutes in the morning before work works for me, but if I try to walk an hour, it takes another hour to cool off. Walking at lunch is out because in the Alabama heat I’d have to shower before going back to work. In the evenings, it’s hotter still.

    I figured out that I started gaining weight after I quit walking to school (uphill both ways–really!) I’m trying to walk in the mornings & evenings again, but like I said, the heat here makes afternoons tough sometimes. That absolutely requires two showers a day.

  96. Where you live is a huge part of this too. I’m currently in the suburbs where nothing is close enough to walk to (groceries etc.) I was thinking out loud to my husband the other day about retiring to a more walkable town. Maybe back to the beach life. Although that’s dense and expensive. Everything is a trade-off.

    Right now we play a lot of table tennis, which is our low-level aerobic activity. That and gardening on a hillside is probably getting us a lot of steps per day. But even with that I feel we could do a lot more.

  97. Hey i was so inspired by this blog post that i decided to create a challenge on The Daily Mile… (http://www.dailymile.com/challenges/5382-why-don-t-we-walk-anymore)

    I decided to extend the challenge for the entire summer… (you can read my OCD parameters on the challenge page at Daily Mile)

    Would be so fun to have some primal cohorts join me over there and we can log our miles/hours all summer long.

  98. I liked this article, I bought a fitbit 3 months ago and it’s a lot of fun to see if I can get 10,000 steps in a day. I make it a goal and I can usually accomplish it. If I’m close, I get on the treadmill and walk while I read. If I’m not…well there’s always tomorrow.

  99. I am in Italy for the semester so I am walking minimum of 2 hours a day which is awesome (though my primal eating habits have kind of flown out the window for the time being :/). It will be so weird when I go home to suburban Ohio where 30 minutes of walking a day is like the maximum

  100. When I was growing up in the 70s I did not like walking the approx 2.5 miles(one way) to elementary school. We lived in a quiet El Paso neighborhood with side walks and part of the walk home was up a street with a moderate incline.
    I was so jealous of the kids that had their mothers drop them off and pick them up. But my Mother made me walk to and from school. I now cannot thank her enough!!! 🙂 Because I know it made me get used to and enjoy walking and other exercise later in life. I also believe it prevented some health issues.

  101. WOW I could not believe the article (and comments below it) about the residents arguing about whether to have a sidewalk and the city building half! What a strange mindset some people have. Here in New Zealand developers of new subdivisions must include a sidewalk (we call them foot-paths) on at least one side of the street, if not both. I can’t conceive of a street without a foot-path, and I didn’t realise that some countries don’t see them as a priority.

    As I live reasonably close to the centre of my town, I walk every where. I hate paying for parking!

  102. I have said that “Walking is for poor people” on countless occasions, but everyone I have said it to knew it was in jest. I aim for 20-30 miles of walking a week and I spend at least 1/3 of my time at work walking around our building going to my different work areas, so I definitely see the value in it. I am a car guy, too, so it’s extra tough to leave the cars at home but I love it!

    This week some coworkers and I entered a spring activity challenge at work, so my goal will be to walk/lift/sprint for at least an hour every day. So far, so good.

  103. Walk the dog a minimum of 2 hours a day. I’m a teacher also, so I probably get 10,000 steps in on top of that just walking around my classroom all day (and to the office, the copy machine, to and from parking lot, etc….)

  104. I come in about 2.5 to 3 hours a week right now. But in my defense, I’m 7 months pregnant, and I can only stand to be on my feet for about an hour.

  105. Essy enough, I walk my dogs everyday already. The main reason I got my dogs was to have a reason to walk that whines and begs. If you are not walking, get a dog!

  106. I get the point and certainly am down with the concept. The problem is time. It would mean taking that hour of free time after dinner and its clean up to go walking or whatever. I don’t think I want to do that every day and sacrifice that time when I already get up in the morning to exercise 5 days a week. It would be more realistic to get my laptop hooked up to a treadmill to be honest. Bummer, though, because the only one I’m hurting here is me.

  107. I work in physical therapy at a hospital, and I get patients up and walking as much as possible and as soon as they are capable. Even 60 feet, twice a day can make the world of difference in patients that just got out of surgery, or haven’t walked in years. I teach people how to walk again, and its amazing!

  108. You caught me at the right time! I have been walking 6 or 7 hours a week for the past few months. It started when my truck mounted bicycle rack was stolen…no rack meant no bikes along on our RV trips, so walking became my default. I actually enjoy it more than riding, it’s safer and your attention can be directed wherever you desire at any time.

  109. I love this post! I have a non-sedentary job (I am a cook, on my feet 6 hours or more per day) I also do my own yardwork/landscaping, clean my own house, and walk my dog everyday. I hike on the weekends for R&R. I hate the gym with a passion, blew my knee out many years ago, and fitness classes make me feel like a child, so I do not exercise. I figure my life is enough exercise! So, while I do not look like a perfectly-sculpted bikini model, I can wear a pair of shorts without dying of embarrassment, I have the energy to enjoy every day, and my doc says my vitals are far healthier than average. And all I do is avoid processed food and get up on my feet everyday. That’s it, that’s all…and it’s working!

  110. Stay-at-home motherhood: you will never sit down for more than 2.5 minutes. 🙂

  111. Funny,
    I was just about to DRIVE to the gym (about 1.5klms) for a Personal Training session. Just decided to walk it instead.
    Thanks for the reminder of how simple it should be.

  112. I work as an Occupational Therapist in a skilled nursing facility–the facility is a long city block long, and I walk that at least 15 times a day to get patients. That doesn’t include the time I spend walking with patients. Typically I walk my dog another mile or two after that. So yeah, I think I come pretty close most days.

    Seeing my patients improve, I can attest to the power of walking–it is truly one of the most important activities we engage in as humans. The fact that so many engage in it so little speaks volumes to the level of unhappiness in what is considered such a “prosperous” society.

  113. Walking is kind of part and parcel of what I do every day. Walk to the stockroom at work, lift and toss a bunch of big, heavy boxes until I have a respectable stack on my cart, drag it out to the section I am working that day, and walk back and forth with armloads of heavy books and magazines putting them up and taking them down. Not to mention that if anyone asks me where something is, it is always on the other side of the building, so I get more steps in showing them where it is! Folks who just can’t find time/money to work out could just get a job in retail (I work in a bookstore) and get a paycheck for walking and lifting instead of paying the gym membership!

  114. I’m Australian and when I don’t have university I walk a lot. When I’m at uni the parking is convenient And lectures take up most of my day so I don’t. I think the public transport and parking is just so bad in most of the major Australian cities that everyone just walks. Also there are a lot of pretty places to walk. It’s often also a socialization thing- if a friend or family member comes over, you go out for a casual walk for an hour or so to catch up- is that something that happens often in other countries?

  115. I love this topic! Since I can walk without pain now, I put on my Fila shoes (vibrams aren’t substantial enough in an industrial environment), leash up my spaniel/border collie mix and walk. I especially love stopping at rest areas with nature walks. Many other stops have landscaped hills to run, narrow gullies to jump, and walking paths. I usually drive 500+ miles per day bites definitely make an effort to get away from the truck and walk a few miles a day. There are places too dangerous to walk around ( mostly east coast) and some places that, as a stranger with a large black dog, I’m not welcome,but we are lucky enough to just move on to the next place.

  116. I live in Kobe thus, every time I move from my house I have to face a slope… I end up walking like a mad (4 km round trip) just to get to the station and back home. Running if I am late. So, it does not really matter if I take the train or not: I end up walking at least 5 km each time I leave my house. That was a nice primal addition to my everyday life!

    Walk on!

  117. I’ve been taking my bike to the work almost every day for a year now (total 12 km), wonderful feeling and not more time-consuming than taking the metro…!

  118. I work as a kitchen manager in a very busy restaurant. As a result, I am on my feet for a good 9 or 10 hours a day, moving intermittently. How would this count? Would I also walk another hour on top of that?

  119. It’s hilarious. Some of our clients go from working in hospitality where they walk 15-20K steps a day to doing a desk job and wonder why they stack on the pounds.

    Move it to lose it we say

  120. London is very walker-friendly. There’s as much traffic on the sidewalks as there is on the roads! And a lot of people cycle. In fact, with the expensive tolls and parking fares, I think they purposefully discourage people from using cars. I walk everywhere 🙂

  121. I walk. A lot…however, I’m constantly amazed by the love everyone seems to have for subsistence living.

    Newsflash guys—those people who walk 6+miles a day have it hard and would cheerfully have it easier. I’ve lived without running water and farmed without (much) machinery and even that was harder than I’d like to admit. I had a nice solid house and water down the street…..

  122. Hello everybody, this is kind of off topic but i want to here your thoughts. Im researching super nutrition academy. Has anybody taken any class’s?

  123. Be an ER NURSE. I can easily log 14,000 steps in one shift. Now to nail the food part…

  124. A timely challenge, THANK YOU for lighting that fire under me… no more excuses, I’m IN!

  125. I’ve taken the challenge… time to put this great knowledge into action! I’m about 210 and need to be around 175 pounds, so I have work to do!

    I just walked to work… exactly 1 hour. So another hour back tonight and I’d say I’m on my way. This site is a tremendous resource of BS free info.

    Thanks!

    PS – I also started fasting yesterday. So I went all day until about dinner time (6pm) with only water and tea. I had a few minor bouts of hunger, but because I was at work it was easy to get past and eating dinner made it doable for me versus 24 hours. My mind was alert and sharp all day… going the same today.

  126. Our kids (Australians)get given pedometers every year for our national “walk to school” day, and there is a whole flurry of information about the place…they all seem to know that they need to log 10,000 steps a day.

    When we were on holidays in Queensland (a state to the north of us) they have a government campaign called “get your 30 a day”…. To educate everyone to get 30 mins of exercise every day, somehow, even broken down into small bursts.

    Our most current campaign is to become a “swapper” ….. Along the lines of re-educating people to think that if they are going to the park, to swap the car to the bike, or to walk, or if they are going to eat fast food to swap to a better fast food choice or swap to a healthier option other than fast food.

  127. Lots of walking is just one perk of living in NYC….and why you see relatively few obese people here.

  128. Mark, I live in Melbourne Australian and have to say that I’m very skeptical that the study result of the “average Australian takes 9,695 steps per day” being an accurate reflection of the true average. I haven’t read through the methods used to reach this conclusion however I suspect as a general population average it’s substantially less and definitely so for the adult, city-dwelling, professional demographic of which I am a part. I’ve been using a fitbit to track my daily steps and ensure that on most days I exceed 10,000 steps (and in my Vivobarefoot Ra’s that I’m able to pass off as dress shoes) however find that even with walking the dog, walking to and from the train station and between the train station and work, making a conscious effort to take am extra walk or two during the day and including my incidental movements throughout the day (admittedly as an office worker) it barely brings me past 10,000. If I compare my activity levels to many of those around me I suspect unfortunately that they would not reach even a third of that total per day. We all need to walk more!

  129. I live in one of the least pedestrian-friendly cities in the U.S. – probably the world: Houston, TX. Not surprisingly, we are often rated as one of the fattest cities in the nation. Yuck! Like L.A., people drive everywhere here. I’m a cyclist, and I have to drive at least 20 miles out of town to find a safe place to ride. There are folks who ride in town, but between unfriendly cars, traffic lights and lack of bike lanes, it’s really a lot of stress and no fun to ride. I started my primal lifestyle 2 weeks ago tomorrow. I feel great. I’m a recovering high carb eating, high-intensity cardio addict. I teach spinning once a week, but I taught aerobics for 17 years! I’m up for this moderate intensity challenge. Fortunately, I have live in neighborhood that’s great for walking. Grok on!

    1. Yeah the Dallas Texas area is also not too pedestrian (or bicycle for that matter ) either. I mean EVERYTHING is so spread out that you really cant walk to the grocery store for example. Also, I very rarely see a gaggle of kids walking to school
      However they are building a lot of communities in which shopping. restaurants etc right in the same area i.e below apartments/condos. This of course encourages walking

  130. Did anyone see Dr. Sanjay Gupta telling folks on Sunday that SUGAR is the main culprit in cancer?

    Mark, I don’t know how to get directly to you but I thought you may be jumping for joy on that one!

  131. I think the main issue is walking is BORING. I mean seriously how uneventful does your life have to be for a walk to be exciting??

    I find it therapeutic if I need to relieve stress or interesting if it’s a walk somewhere scenic. But WALK to the grocery store?? In suburbia?? Forget about it. When I lived in a slightly more urban area I would bike to the grocery store. But that’s exciting, and you feel like you’re really MOVING. It’s a rush.

    I don’t know man, this is a HARD SELL. I’d rather do sprints on the beach, ride a bike, lift weights, snowboard, play kickball…. but walking?? What am I an old man with no other options?? No thanks.

  132. I started walking for exercise January of 2010. At work they started the Virgin Healthmiles program. I started to get my steps in how ever I could. The next month I discovered the movie FatHead. I started out at 390, last June I was down to 225. I am still hovering around that area. I try to walk 6.5 miles (around 16-17k steps), Mon-Thurs, Fri-Sun get 8.5 miles (20k+ steps) a day. Last month I hit 13 million steps.

  133. I’m in Mark. This post is so timely! I’ve been a Primal Blueprint community member for almost 2 years, and still learning so much. I keep going back to the idea that the low-level aerobics is really that crucial conditioning-base you’ve discussed. It’s a foundation for health, as well as any other exercise that happens. As of 2 weeks ago, I committed to 1 hour (or more when I can) of walking. Right when I made the personal commitment, I came across an organization called the Better Block Project (you can google them) who promotes walk-able and bike-able community areas. A fantastic way to counter the modern issues of urban life. Thanks for this post, and all the others. Hugely impacted my life.

  134. Most of my walking is done with my dog. So it’s rather stop/start. It’s what you get when you walk a male dog who’s not been snipped around a neighbourhood where there are lots of other dogs.

    My mind boggles at the thought of residential streets without sidewalks (pavements to my british mind). Although there are plenty of roads without pavements around me, they’re country roads without houses (very minor roads, no lines down the middle types).

    I have been thinking recently that there is lots of the day where I am sat down where as if I was a hunter-gather I probably would not. I accept your challenge.

  135. What about stair-climbing? I live in a townhouse with a narrow floorplan and four floors (including the garage, which we use for storage space).

    This morning, I counted flights of stairs I climbed. In my regular daily routine of getting ready for work, I climbed *UP* 12 flights (never mind the DOWN flights).

    When my wife or I am cleaning the house or playing handyman, it is a big workout, just handling all the cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaner, tools, etc. On a typical Saturday all day at home I’m probably exceeding 30 flights upstairs. Maybe 50 flights.

    Does anyone know how to measure this type of exercise against Mark’s ideal “slow pace movement” ?

  136. My brother and I have recumbent trikes, which we ride daily on a nearby trail, or through the neighborhoods downtown. We go for 45 to 90 minutes. We enjoy seeing the town from a great perspective on the trikes, and talking with our neighbors who like the trikes. By the way, the latest research shows that it is the cumulative amount of time spent exercising in a day that is important, not the iron rule that it must be at least an hour per exercise session. Cheers.

  137. I do get my more than 5 hours a wevk by swimming at least 6 days a week, usually for 60-75 mins. But I do need to walk more now I’ve got the weight down a bit.
    Thanks for the needle, Mark, I’ll try for at least 3 early walks a week.

  138. I have it covered: I cycle to work daily,leisurely, with the mp3 player, half an hour each way. 5 days a week makes 5 hours.

  139. I used to walk 30-35min everyday for years. It was either just before dinner in the short days of the year or after dinner so that I would be out just as everything is turning pink and purple around sunset. It was a beautiful time of the day and if I missed it I would feel a bit wired, somehow unsettled in the evening.
    At some point I really felt connected, relaxed, sweet during the walk as my mind quietened down. I would just “see” everything as it is. I often felt high as everything just went kind of quiet inside. I know this may sound weird but it almost felt like I was having some kind of spiritual connection with the entire universe.. must be the chemicals in the brain that got released. But hey, it was so good. Really good and I wanted that feeling everyday .
    The health benefits were huge. I felt relaxed as a result, happier in general as I felt connected to myself and the whole damn scene, my legs and butt felt really toned, my weight/blood sugar was stable and I felt, at least at that time, like a whole person instead of this crazy fragmented, stressed person I have become as this amazing habit slipped away from me 2 yrs ago with my heavy work schedule.
    I really miss that routine and reading this has reminded me how important it was to keep me not only healthy but sane.
    Damn it, I am going to try to recreate this as part of my daily routine.
    Thank you so much Mark for posting this.. Great timing. I gave up one of my part-time jobs so no excuses.

  140. I sold my car years ago and have walked everywhere since. Not only do I walk about 15 hour per week plus any distance for whatever I do with my kid on the weekend, but I pace whenever I can and fidget when that isn’t possible. If I’m not moving I’m asleep. The only problem with that is the number of Vibrams and boots I go through every year.

  141. My husband and I recently added another puppy to the family and we walk her almost every day just so she will sleep at night. We walk to the library and return books/ pick up new ones. We are doing two things many people do not: walk and read.

  142. This is one of the upsides of Asia.

    Everything is very close together, so choosing to use alternative transport is not difficult.

    Here in Taiwan, even in a fairly rural town I can walk 8 mins to work, ride my bike 30 mins to my other work, walk 10 mins the inlaws place, ride 10 mins to take the kids to school, walk 20 mins to the intercity bus, no need for a car at all. I probably don’t walk the 10,000 steps described here, but keeping moving all day is not a hard choice.

    But it is still a choice, as most people choose to ride scooters everywhere, despite the proximity of everything.

  143. Lol. To the ‘convenience’ post above, I’ve had two babies (on just turned 2 and the other is 4 months old), and both were natural delivery without pain meds. Neither have or will have jarred baby food (heck, just cut open an avocado, people).

    Anyway….I’m a SAHM now for 8 months and I’m always on my feet, and half the time I’m holding at least 15 pounds. In fact, I do baby squats (hold the baby, squat, repeat), baby lifts (hold baby, lift above your head, slowly lower while making some sort of cooing sound), etc. I rarely sit and I’m always on the move. My daughter (2) begs to go outside, “Mommy can we please take a walk?”, so I guess I’ll start saying ‘yes’ more often, Mark. My daughter thanks you.

  144. I’m going to get plenty of walking in next week – going to Walt Disney World for 8 days. I’ve read that that’s an average of 9 miles a day….true?

  145. A lady who takes my Zumba class at least once a week wore her pedometer (or whatever the personal devices are called)for a couple of 45 minute classes. Each time she clocked in at about 5,000 + steps each time. Pretty good for 45 minutes. And hella fun!

  146. I didn’t read all the comments but I am curious if it matters whether someone walks slowly/relaxed or does it only count if it’s power-walking. Most people walk fairly slowly, especially in other cultures where people are not in such a hurry. So does relaxed walking work well or are we talking about breaking a sweat, getting the heart rate up, 4-5mph kind of walking?

  147. I am an Aussie and walk whenever & wherever possible. I also get to travel this great country a lot as part of my job and when in different locations my main form of exercise is 1-2 hrs of walking each day in my Vibrams.

    When I am in the US for work, where I am predominantly based in Raleigh NC, I find that walking is far more restrictive there and I don’t do as much of it as I normally would when at home. It’s very frustrating for me actually.

  148. I try to sneak away from the office for 30 minutes a day to get some sun and log some steps. I also realized that much of my time on the computer at night was just reading and light navigation so I mounted an old 20″ monitor onto the wall in front of my treadmill (hooked to an old computer on the other side of the wall in the basement). I control the system using a small wireless trackpad/keyboad. Now I can triage e-mail, read my RSS feeds and watch online videos while walking on the treadmill. If I want to be productive, I can also dictate to the system using an iPhone app.

  149. I didn’t think I walked that much at work, so I bought a pedometer to check. Today was pretty slack for me and I still got in 14,449 steps! I can’t wait to see what a busy day is like.

  150. I’ve been walking five miles a day. Had to start talking more rests because my feet started to go sore with the vibrams (I hadn’t worked up the strength quite yet to go that distance nonstop in them). I feel so healthy now, and it’s become addicting. I had to force myself out the first few times, but now all I want to do is walk and walk and walk some more. Also a perfect way to catch up on some of Jimmy Moore’s podcasts 🙂

  151. Although I understand that (after reading everything here from Mark’s post to the slate 4-series monograph) European cities are build in a more pedestrian-friendly way than most USA ones here we are starting to suffer from the same lack of walking problems.

    Where I live my colleagues and me use to go to work by underground/ bike most of the times, but we are just very very fortunate to be able to ride a bike to work. Here bike commuting is not so well implemented and we lack special bike lanes (here being northern Spain). However, there was a “movement” sort of some years ago where townsfolk from different places were asking to link the villages via a bike lane, and thus far it has worked wonders. Perhaps that kind og thing would work for the ones of you living in smaller suburbs!

    P.S: Unrelated question, but I am SO curious about this little detail…. Do you guys really brush and floss your teeth -before- breakfast and not after it?

  152. Best way of all time I’ve found to maintain toned legs and avoid ever gaining too much weight even when eating badly? Walk—- a lot—— due to complete lack of a car.

    Half the problem with exercising in general is that we don’t actually need to do it. The entire world around us has been designed with cars in mind, not the constant walking of ancient cities. Sometimes you need a car to get to far-off places, but in a city like D.C. with buses and an elaborate Metro system— there’s no excuse for me (And no other option) not to walk everywhere else.

    This combined with a daily light jog/sprint/walk for thirty minutes every other day, and a Primal diet…and I should be in the best shape of my life. 😉 That, and it turns out seaweed tastes really really good. Going to walk up to the grocery store and retrieve it at next opportunity.

  153. I walk quite a bit on my job, but most people are stuck in one spot all day. When I was a kid we walked to the store, walked to the tv to change the channel, walked and run to play, walked to explore.. Kids and adults today don’t do this very often anymore.. they have groceries delivered, use a remote, play video games, and don’t get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air.. We have become slaves to innovation.

  154. I think this varies a lot from place to place. I live in a city in Europe and don’t own a car, and so I walk to work, walk to the grocery store, etc. Sometimes I take the bus if I don’t have time but in general I walk a lot. However, I have never really felt that walking is exercise!

  155. This seems ridiculous to me, I live in England and I probably do around 18,000 steps a day, many of which are pulling,pushing or carrying heavy cages/loads plus doing 5 miles cycling at differing intensity. 5000 steps a day gives the impression that all Americans (going by the main focus of this article) are just waking to and from work once a day.
    I’m no health nut I don’t go to the gym I enjoy my food, I’m not obese but could probably stand to lose a few pounds and I manage to smash this without ever trying….but my actual point is this can’t be accurate…5000 sounds way too little

  156. Manhatten and its most populous other buroughs of new york city were made for walking. NYC is built densely like most cities should be. Thus you have more self sufficient neighborhoods or areas. And if you can’t walk there’s always buses and subways and cabs.

    Once central Los Angeles was densely populated, you had sidewalks, and grocery stores, the barber, the doctor, the whore, the church, were within walking, cab or bus distance. Were talking like early 20th century.

    Since the National Defense Highway Act of 1955, Los Angeles became a sprawling mess for the sake of the automobile and trucking industry.

    Most cities and towns in the US have become this way. the downtowns and mainstreets are either slums or there like ghost towns. Even malls are dying. the big box and strip mall development at the thruway exits has killed life without a car. its very sad

    btw: This is very rare for the past 20 yrs. We had a locally owned grocery story in our old working and middle class neighborhood. It was there for probably 50 years so i was told. It had produce, canned food, a deli, everything you can get at these idiotic super markets. they made home made ice cream in summer. it was great, no air pumped into it. I didn’t mind paying maybe a quarter to one fifth more in lieu of them not making profit via moving more groceries of the super market. but the stupid neighbors and others who knew how good the store was sold out to the car because they think they are really benefitting economically from buying from the cheaper per item super markets. what idiots

    Just 2 years ago it went out of business. You know what that store space is used for today? a fucking martial arts school for kids which is used at most 25 hours per week. what a waste of space.

  157. I lost my suv 2 years ago along with my job, as a result I walk everywhere and occasionally use public transportation. I live in Jacksonville, Florida where the public transportation is terrible considering it is the largest city land wise in the continental USA. Most people find it is more of a necessity to drive than it is to walk because a block here can be as long as 3/4 mile. I was a gym head but would bulk up very easily, but now I more streamlined from my forced form of exercise.

  158. Walking is one of my main 3 mantras to help maintain my weight and a healthy diet lifestyle. I walk an average 2-3 miles a day with a rest day in-between. Since I can no longer run long distances I had to compromise on what physical activity I was doing. II enjoy all your blogs and I have shared them with family and friends. I love your site and what you stand for. Very inspiring for me.

  159. I walk a minimum of 55 miles a week. Sometimes less when I throw in some cycling and running and weight lifting.