Smartwatches allow people to easily track their movements and know how far they have walked during the day. However, before that, there was George Meegan, a man famous for taking the longest walk ever without much technological help. He traveled from the bottom of South America to the top of North America on foot! Meegan took 41 million steps, used about 13 pairs of shoes, and set at least eight records. Continue reading to find out more mind-blowing facts about walking.
1. Walking Styles Are As Unique As Fingerprints
Unless an individual is injured, walking styles are unique to everyone– just like fingerprints. Professionally known as gait patterns, walking styles vary depending on weight, speed, and posture. The scientific study of how people and other living organisms walk is called gait analysis.
2. There Was a Common Challenge Called “Pedestrianism”
In the 18th and 19th century, there was a popular walking challenge known as “pedestrianism.” Participants were expected to walk 1000 miles in 1000 hours; it was so competitive that gambling was sometimes involved. Captain Robert Barclay Allardice was among the best in the sport. Historians speculate that pedestrianism inspired modern-day race walking.
3. A British Ex-Paratrooper Challenged Himself to Walk Around the World in 1998
In 1998, Karl Bushby, a British ex-paratrooper, challenged himself to walk around the world; he is still at it. Most of his progress has been hampered by Russia, though. For instance, his visa was banned several times in the region, and he had to do 90-day sections per year. Bushby is attempting to become the first human to walk an unbroken path around the world.
4. Jesse Castenda Holds the Record for the Longest Walk in a Day
Jesse Castenda, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA resident, holds the record for the longest walk in a day. Set in 1976, Castenda covered 228.930 km (142 miles 44 yards), setting a Guinness World Record that stands to date. Only males above 16 years are allowed to apply for this record title.
5. There Is a National Walking Day
While walking is a primary human function, a day is set aside to celebrate and appreciate the easiest way to maintain good health. Held on the first Wednesday in April, the National Walking Day traditions include going for a walk, participating in a race walk, and joining a walking club near you. Interested parties also learn about the numerous walking statistics available.
6. Race Walking Is Part of the Olympic Sports
Race walking first became a part of the Olympic Games in 1908. Only men were allowed to compete in the first edition, which featured a 3500-meter walk. Since then, many athletes have made a name for themselves, adapting to the various rule changes. The first women’s Olympic race walking event was at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
7. Various Cultures Globally Accept Firewalking
As its name suggests, firewalking involves waking barefoot over hot stones or embers. Historically, it was first practiced in India around 1200 BCE. Even though it is not as popular nowadays, some communities and cultures worldwide still recognize firewalking as a rite of passage. It also symbolizes strength, endurance, and courage. Some people use it in religion as a test of faith.
8. The Youngest Child to Walk Was Only 8 Months Old
On average, children take about a year to make their first steps. However, some take as many as 18 months, while others have beaten the odds and started at nine months. In 2022, Noor Talwar, a girl born in Faridabad, Haryana, India, set the record for the youngest child to walk. She made her first steps at only eight months, earning her the crown.
9. Sleepwalking Is Called Somnambulism
Sometimes referred to as noctambulism or sleepwalking, somnambulism is a combination of wakefulness that sees the affected engage in physical activities while asleep. For instance, an individual can sit in bed, walk to the bathroom, or eat while unconscious. About 18% of the world’s population suffers from sleepwalking.
10. A Person Is More Likely to Be Killed While Walking Than When Driving
Statistics show that pedestrians are more accident-prone than those traveling in vehicles. The chances of a person being killed while walking is 36 times more than the one driving. On the other hand, flying in an airplane is about 300 times more than walking.
11. There Are Walking Meetings
Thanks to the many benefits of walking, entrepreneurs worldwide continue embracing walking meetings. As its name suggests, walking meetings are hosted while moving and have structures similar to the traditional ones. People can discuss, take minutes, sign deals, and ask questions. The late Steve Jobs and Steve Branson have been known to handle these types of meetings.
12. Walking Involves around 200 Body Muscles
For an average person to make a step, about 200 muscles are called to task. With the arms, core, and legs involved, it explains why many consider walking a full-body workout.
13. Humans Are More Likely to Walk in Circles When Lost
Unless there is a straightforward external reference point, humans are more likely to walk in circles when lost. In an experiment involving 15 blindfolded volunteers, it was observed that most of them walked in small circles of about 20 meters in diameter.
14. The Number of People In a Geographic Location Can Affect How Fast They Walk
Studies show that the number of people in a geographic location, say a city, influences how fast an individual walks. According to the research, if someone moves to a bigger city, they are likely to walk about 24% faster than they do where they are originally from.
15. People Walk at Different Speeds Depending on Who They Are Walking With
Research shows that a man is likely to walk slower when in the company of a woman with whom they are in a romantic relationship. If the lady is a friend or a relative, they will likely go at full speed. On the other hand, two women walking together are likely to be slower than they would individually; it is the opposite for men.
16. There Is A Reason Why Gentlemen Walk on the Street Side of Their Women
Popularly known as the sidewalk rule, gentlemen are often expected to walk on the street side of their women to protect them from various issues. For instance, it is historically thought that, in Victorian times, the act would prevent the woman from being covered in feces as the chamber pots opened through the windows. Additionally, a man walking on the street shielded the woman from filth produced by horses and carriages, kicking up all kinds of dirt.