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25+ Walking statistics

In the modern era, people rely on different modes of transportation more than ever. However, the simple truth is that walking has a long list of health benefits. Here’s a rundown of some facts on walking.  

Walking as a competitive sport

  • Racewalking as a sport first appeared in the Olympics in 1904 (Wikipedia) 
  • The summer Olympic has a racewalking event of 31 miles (50km) for men and 12.4 miles (20km) race for both men and women (Wikipedia) 
  • Some racewalking competitions are longer; for example, the Paris-Colmar is 450 to 500km (Wikipedia) 
  • Walkers have a lower risk of injury (1% to 5%) than runners (20% to 70%) (Harvard, 2018) 

Walking trends

  • 111 million people reported walking for fitness in 2018 (Outdoorindustry, 2019) 
  • Walking is the most popular form of exercise, with six out of 10 people reporting walking at least once in the past week (CDC, 2012) 
  • The average person walks about 110,000 miles, which is the equivalent of 5 trips around the Earth (Snowbrains, 2020) 
  • On an average day, 30% of Americans walk for exercise (Everydayhealth, 2015) 
  • The average walking speed of an adult is 3mph (Healthline, 2019) 
  • The average age when a child learns to walk is 12 months (Sciencedaily, 2013) 

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Who walks the most?

  • Some jobs require more moving; waiters walk an average of 23,000 steps a day, nurses 16,000 steps, and retail workers 15,000 steps (ACE, 2015) 
  • People who live in cities have a lower risk of being overweight because they walk more, compared to those who live in the suburbs (Harvard, 2018) 
  • Australians walk the most with an average of over 9,000 steps per day, Americans walk the least out of the countries surveyed with an average of just over 5,000 steps (Verywellfit, 2019) 
  • Dog owners walk four times more than non-owners (Theladders, 2019) 

Health benefits of walking

  • Walking can help lower the risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers (CDC, 2012) 
  • Adding 150 minutes of walking in a week can add 3.4 years to a person’s lifespan (Everydayhealth, 2015) 
  • Women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week (Harvard) 
  • CDC recommends walking 7,000 to 8,000 steps every day for significant health benefits (Humana, 2014) 

Mental Health Benefits of Walking

  • Regular exercise has been shown to combat the onset and advancement of Alzheimer’s and dementia (Everydayhealth, 2015) 
  • Walking improves mental well-being; physically active people have a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed (Walkingforhealth 
  • Walking can boost creativity by up to 60% (ACE, 2015) 
  • Research has found that a 15-minute walk reduces sweet cravings (Harvard) 

General benefits of walking

  • Regular walking will save you up to $330 a year in health care costs (Gaiam) 
  • People who walked at least 2 hours every week had a 39% lower all-cause mortality rate (Jamanetwork, 2003) 
  • People who walked at least 20 minutes, five days a week had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less (Harvard) 
  • Breaking a workout into smaller chunks of time during the day has the same benefits as one long workout (CDC) 

Walking for weight loss

  • Walking on an incline burns 70% more calories (Veincenteratiowaheart, 2019) 
  • Taking less than 5000 steps a day is considered a sedentary lifestyle (10000steps) 
  • The use of pedometers boosted people’s daily walking by 2,000 steps, approximately one mile every day (Humana, 2014) 

Walking is an inexpensive and the simplest form of exercise, and it has undoubtedly significant health benefits.