129 Interesting Facts About Walking

Last updated on July 29th, 2023

Walking is a fundamental form of human locomotion, allowing individuals to move from one place to another by placing one foot in front of the other. It is a natural and instinctive activity deeply rooted in our evolutionary history. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, walking is defined as the action of moving along on foot at a natural, regular pace. It involves a coordinated effort of muscles, joints, and balance to maintain an upright posture while propelling ourselves forward. Walking has been essential to human survival, exploration, and daily life for centuries, shaping our physical health, mental well-being, and how we interact with the world around us. With these interesting facts about walking, let us learn more about its benefits and other associated things. 

Walking Through History

1. The noun “walk” originated around the year 1200, initially referring to a motion of tossing or rolling. By the mid-13th century, it evolved to signify the action of walking or moving on foot. In the late 14th century, “walk” took on the additional meaning of a leisurely stroll.[1]

2. Approximately seven million years ago, our early ancestors predominantly relied on tree climbing and moved on all fours when they were on the ground. As time progressed, around 1.8 million years ago, our ancestors evolved the ability to walk upright on two legs.[2] 

a family walking together
Photo © Monkey Business Images

3. National Walking Day was established in 2007 and is observed on the first Wednesday of April, aiming to motivate individuals of all ages across the United States to step outside, stretch their legs, and engage in activities that elevate their heart rates.[3]

4. Race walking appeared at the 1904 Olympics held in St. Louis, although it was initially included as part of a decathlon-type event rather than having its own separate category. It wasn’t until the 1908 London Olympics that race walking became established as an independent track event.[4]

5. It wasn’t until the 1992 Barcelona Olympics that the inclusion of women’s race walking as a recognized discipline within the Olympic program was finally realized and officially acknowledged.[5]

an individual during fire walking in a festival.
Facts about walking. Photo © Rusel1981

6. The practice of firewalking, which involves walking barefoot over hot embers or stones, has been embraced by numerous cultures across the globe. Its origins can be traced back to Iron Age India around 1200 BCE, making it one of the earliest recorded references to firewalking.[6]

Mental and Physical Health

7. The average adult will take enough steps in their lifetime to travel around the world three times – that’s a staggering 75,000 miles. This means that a person takes around 7,500 steps per day, which adds up to approximately 2.5 million steps in a year.[7]

8. Walking is classified as a comprehensive physical activity as it engages around 200 muscles during each stride. This is due to the fact that it involves not only the limbs but also the core muscles, all working together to propel the body forward.[8]

9. The best way to lose weight is to exercise. Walking at a brisk pace of 4.5 to 5 miles per hour can burn around 300 calories per hour, making it an effective way to maintain a healthy weight.[9]

10. Though it might be a challenge, sideways walking is a calorie-burning powerhouse, as it can help you torch 78% more calories than walking forward. This lateral movement requires your body to exert additional effort, engaging muscles in unique and unfamiliar ways.[10]

11. Although the average age for babies to walk is around 12 months, some babies may take their first steps as early as 9 months. On the other hand, it is also perfectly normal for babies to take more time and start walking between 17 and 18 months.[11]

12. According to an analysis, engaging in just ten minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, each day would be instrumental in averting over 111,000 premature deaths annually.[12]

13. It’s estimated that regular walking has the potential to save Americans more than $100 billion annually in healthcare expenses. Even a brief one-minute stroll can significantly benefit individual well-being and reduce the financial burden on healthcare systems.[13]

 Big Mac hamburger menu in a McDonald`s restaurant.
Facts about walking. Photo © Pavel Sytsko

14. A Big Mac Meal from McDonald’s includes a burger, a large portion of fries, and a large Coca-Cola, which is about 1300 calories. It would take the average person 4 hours and 57 minutes of walking to burn it off.[14]

15. The average walking speed of humans varies depending on factors such as age and fitness level. However, research suggests that a typical walking speed for adults is around 3 miles per hour or around 20 minutes per mile.[15]

16. Not only is walking a great way to keep in shape, but it can also help you live longer. Walking has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and other major diseases. Regular walking reduces the risk of early death by as much as 30%.[16]

17. Walking for just 30 minutes a day can improve mental well-being, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.[17]

18. Walking barefoot on natural surfaces, commonly known as “earthing” or “grounding,” is believed to provide numerous health benefits by connecting the body to the Earth’s electrical energy.[18]

woman walking barefoot on the green grass
Facts about walking. Photo © Creative Cat Studio

19. Though many people prefer walking barefoot, history shows that shoes have been worn for a long time. The world’s oldest known shoe, made of cowhide leather and estimated to be over 5,500 years old, was discovered in Armenia. This ancient footwear demonstrates the long history of humans walking and protecting their feet.[19]

20. Walking can enhance cognitive function and memory. Research suggests that walking for 40 minutes three times a week can increase the size of the hippocampus, a brain region associated with memory.[20]

21. To prevent Type 2 Diabetes, engaging in regular physical activity, which entails at least 150 minutes of brisk walking or an equivalent activity per week, is recommended. This translates to a manageable goal of just 30 minutes of daily exercise.[21]

Walking for forest bathing
Facts about walking. Photo © Cwefe3

22. A journey of “forest bathing” or “shinrin-yoku” in Japanese, walking amidst the embrace of nature, offers a delightful experience and remarkable health benefits. Scientifically proven, this therapeutic practice has been shown to alleviate stress and reduce blood pressure.[22]

23. Walking on uneven terrains, such as hiking in nature, engages more muscles and is a more strenuous workout than just taking a casual stroll. Hiking can burn up to 20% more calories than walking on a flat surface.[23]

24. On average, an individual has a stride length ranging from approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet. This implies that covering a distance of one mile would take over 2,100 steps. If someone were to take around 10,000 steps, they would have walked nearly 5.5 miles.[24]

Boys walking the dog, for facts about Walking
Facts about walking. Photo © Sonya Etchison

25. Studies have shown that walking with a dog provides exercise for the owner and helps strengthen the bond between humans and pets. It promotes better physical and mental health for both parties, and those who walk their pets walk on average 22 minutes more daily.[25]

26. By synchronizing your walking pace to the rhythm of the song “Shut Up and Dance,” you can maintain an approximate speed of 3.5 miles per hour. However, if you can match the tempo of “Shake It Off,” you’ll find yourself effortlessly gliding at a brisker pace of over 5 miles per hour.[26]

27. Among the surveyed industrial countries, Australians are found to be the most active walkers, with an average daily step count of 9,695. In contrast, Americans tend to walk the least, averaging around 5,117 steps daily.[27]

28. Roughly 18% of the global population experiences somnambulism, commonly known as sleepwalking. This sleep disorder involves individuals getting out of bed and walking while still in a state of sleep.[28]

walking with sticks
Facts about walking. Photo © Kamila Starzycka

29. Nordic walking, a popular fitness activity, originated in Finland in the 1930s. It involves walking with specially designed poles that engage the upper body muscles.[29]

30. Researchers discovered that keeping your arms still while walking takes 12% more energy than swinging them. They also looked into something called an “anti-swing” walk, where you intentionally minimize arm movement to save energy.[30]

31. According to the analysis conducted in the “Mean Streets 2000” study, based on federal safety and spending databases, walking is reported to be 36 times riskier than driving when considering the measure of danger per mile traveled.[32]

Junior school children leaving school
Photo © Monkey Business Images

32. Data from the National Household Travel indicates that approximately 11% of children in the United States choose to walk or bike when traveling to or from school.[31]

World Records

33. The world record for the fastest mile walked by a human is held by Tom Bosworth. This speed walking hailed from the United Kingdom and managed to walk a mile in just 5 minutes and 31 seconds in 2017.[33]

34. Jean Beliveau, a neon-sign salesman, accomplished the remarkable feat of completing the longest recorded walk around the globe. He traversed approximately 46,600 miles, visiting a total of 64 countries in 11 years.[34]

35. Manoj Mishra from India holds the record for the longest distance traveled while balancing a football on his head, covering an impressive 49.17 km (30.5 miles). This remarkable achievement occurred in West Bengal, India, on January 1, 2016.[35]

36. Ariana Wunderle accomplished an incredible feat by achieving the farthest tightrope walk ever recorded while wearing high heels. On May 16, 2022, in Westminster, Vermont, USA, Ariana skillfully traversed a distance of 194.983 meters on a tightrope.[36]


37. In 1959, the concept of the modern outdoor pedestrian mall was introduced in The United States. Kalamazoo, Michigan, transformed a section of the downtown area into a car-free pedestrian zone.[37]

The Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China
The Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China. Photo © Yulan

38. The world’s longest pedestrian street, Nanjing Road in Shanghai, stretches for approximately 6 km and is renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, luxury shops, and bustling crowds.[38]

Trials and Hiking

39. The Inca Trail, a famous hiking route in Peru, attracts thousands of adventurers each year who trek through breathtaking landscapes. It is a trail of moderate difficulty and takes hikers on a 26-mile trek to reach the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu.[39]

Appalachian trail approach sign
Facts about walking. Photo © Kelly Vandellen

40. Arguably the world’s most famous walking trail is the Appalachian Trail. This trail is so famous it’s even been featured in movies and stretches over 2,190 miles. It crosses through 14 states in the eastern United States and offers breathtaking views of mountains, forests, and wildlife.[40]

41. The Great Himalaya Trail, one of the world’s most challenging long-distance treks, stretches for approximately 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) across the entire length of the Himalayas. Hikers brave extreme altitudes, varying terrains, and stunning mountain vistas. [41]

42. Kuala Lumpur Bird Park in Malaysia is a massive walk-through aviary that covers an area of 20.9 acres and is home to over 3,000 birds of various species. Visitors can stroll through the park’s lush landscapes, encountering colorful and exotic birds in their natural habitat.[42]

Pedestrians Only

Buchanan Street, Glasgow
Buchanan Street, Glasgow. Photo © Simon Peare

43. In 1972, the first pedestrian-only street in the United Kingdom, Buchanan Street in Glasgow, was created to promote a more pedestrian-friendly city center. Pedestrian areas are very prevalent in modern-day living, but it was thought to be revolutionary at the time. [43]

44. Strøget in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the world’s largest pedestrian-only urban street. The street spans approximately 3.2 km and is renowned for its extensive shopping opportunities, historical landmarks, and vibrant atmosphere.[44]

45. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy conducted a study to determine the world’s most walkable cities. London in the United Kingdom was ranked as one of the top walkable cities and beat almost 1,000 cities in all three categories of the study.[45]

Japanese young students are coming back from elementary school in Nara near Kyoto, Japan.
Japanese young students coming back from elementary school. Photo © Bidouze Stephane

46. The “walking school bus” concept was introduced around 1962 in Japan. It was a safe and healthy way for children to travel to school. Similar to a regular school bus, a walking bus involves a group of children walking together under the supervision of adult volunteers.[46]

Long Distance Walking

47. Though no human has ever completed the route, it is said that the longest walkable route on earth is from South Africa to Russia. This 22,387 km journey would start in Cape Town, go across Africa, Asia, and Europe, to end on the eastern side of Russia.[47]

Pilgrims walk along the Camino De Santiago.
Pilgrims walk along the Camino De Santiago. Photo © Rui Vale De Sousa

48. The oldest pilgrimage route in Europe, the Camino de Santiago, dates back to the 9th century and attracts thousands of walkers annually, all seeking spiritual fulfillment and personal growth.[48]

49. The world’s oldest recorded long-distance walking event, the Nijmegen Four Days Marches, has been held annually in the Netherlands since 1909. It attracts tens of thousands of participants from around the globe.[49]

Walkers in the center of Nijmegen during the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen
Walkers in the center of Nijmegen during the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen. Photo © Marcel Rommens

50. With over 40,000 participants from various nations, the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen is also the largest organized walking event in the world.[50]

51. The world’s oldest long-distance footpath, the Pennine Way in the United Kingdom, stretches approximately 268 miles, traversing rugged moorland, beautiful valleys, and the stunning landscapes of the Pennines.[51]

52. In 1977, a former British sailor, George Meegan, started an extraordinary journey, becoming the first person to walk from Argentina to Alaska. His expedition covered a distance of 19,019 miles. After an incredible 2,425 days, Meegan concluded his remarkable odyssey in 1983.[52]

53. Ivor Houston accomplished a remarkable feat: walking an astounding distance of 4,000 kilometers from Perth to Sydney. He is a determined explorer who reached Australia’s longest straight road in Western Australia during his epic adventure.[53]

Walking for Charity

54. One of the world’s largest walking events for charity is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. The foundation has raised almost $1 billion to support breast cancer research, education, and patient support. Participants walk a total of 60 miles over three days.[54]

55. Another massive charity-oriented walking event was the Worldwise Walk to Fight Poverty fundraiser that was organized by the Iglesia Ni Cristo Church based in the Philippines. An astounding 283,171 people participated in the event in 2018.[55]

56. In 1969, Project Bread started the Walk for Hunger 20-mile walk in Boston, Massachusetts. The walk is held annually and raises close to $1 million. The walk has become shorter over the years and is now only a 3-mile stretch.[56]

57. Captain Sir Tom Moore wanted to do his part for charity, and in 2020 he decided to raise money by walking 100 lengths up and down his garden in the United Kingdom. He raised over $44 million and broke a world record for the most money raised by an individual.[57]

Bridges, Elevators, and Tunnels

58. Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge, the Henderson Waves Bridge, stands 36 meters high. This iconic bridge boasts an impressive undulating design inspired by wave-like formations.[58]

59. The world’s highest and longest glass pedestrian bridge, the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in China, spans a height of 430 meters. The bridge offers a thrilling experience with its transparent glass floor, providing panoramic views of the stunning Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.[59]

60. The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge in China spans an incredible length of 102.4 miles. This railway bridge is the longest in the world but also accommodates pedestrian walkways. It connects the cities of Shanghai and Nanjing, showcasing impressive engineering feats.[60]

61. Those afraid of heights should steer clear of this tourist attraction. The Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado is the world’s highest pedestrian-only suspension bridge. It spans a breathtaking height of 955 feet, offering stunning views of the surrounding canyon and the Arkansas River below.[61]

the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Randa, Switzerland.
The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Randa, Switzerland. Facts about walking. Photo © Mihaela Nica

62. The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Switzerland, spans an impressive 1,621 feet and offers breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps.[62]

63. The world’s tallest outdoor elevator, the Bailong Elevator in Zhangjiajie, China, allows visitors to ascend a staggering height of 326 meters (1,070 feet) within a quartzite cliff. The elevator provides an incredible opportunity to combine walking and vertical transport.[63] 

64. Gotthard Base Tunnel is the world’s longest pedestrian tunnel. The tunnel is in Switzerland and measures an impressive 35 miles. It is part of a major railway line connecting northern and southern Europe.[65]

The Future

65. In 2019, a 28-year-old man, paralyzed from below his shoulders, achieved the ability to walk using a robotic exoskeleton. The specially designed machine, connected to the ceiling to maintain balance, covered his arms, legs, and body.[66]

66. Scientists have developed a four-legged, dog-sized robot that undergoes a learning process. Like young animals finding their balance, the robot learns from its experiences and progressively improves its walking technique. The robot was completed in 2020.[67]

67. Walking meetings are just that; participants discuss business matters while strolling. Though the idea has only recently become popular, the concept has been around for ages; even Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher from the 1800s, was an advocate.[68]


The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China. Facts about walking. Photo © Yuri Yavnik

68. The Great Wall of China stretches over 13,000 miles, and it is a walking enthusiast’s dream. With all of its magnificent walkways and stairs, tourists and natives alike can enjoy hours of exploring.[69]

69. The Isle of Wight Walking Festival takes place annually on the Isle of Wight, England. The festival offers over 300 guided walks for all ages and abilities, allowing participants to explore the island’s picturesque landscapes, coastal paths, and historical sites.[70]

70. Free Tours by Foot offers extensive walking tours across major cities worldwide. With over 400 tour options in cities like New York, London, and Rome, visitors can explore landmarks, neighborhoods, and hidden gems on foot, guided by knowledgeable local experts.[71]

The Peace Maze, the largest hedge maze in the world, in Northern Ireland.
The Peace Maze in Northern Ireland. Photo © Krylon80

71. One of the world’s largest walking mazes, the Peace Maze, is located in Castlewellan Forest Park, Northern Ireland. Covering an area of 2.7 hectares (6.7 acres) with over 4,000 yew trees, the maze offers visitors a unique walking experience as they navigate its intricate pathways and try to reach the center.[72]

Space Walking

72. In 2018, NASA astronaut Andrew R. Morgan set a unique record for the first person to walk in space and conduct a spacewalk while wearing a suit entirely designed and manufactured on the International Space Station.[73]

first moon landing with the apollo 11
Photo © Mathieu Van Den Berk

73. On July 21, 1969, a monumental moment in human history occurred as American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon. Exiting the Apollo 11 lunar module, he bravely ventured onto the surface of the Moon, taking “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”[74]

74. Micheal Jackson, the world-famous pop star, performed a moonwalk of a different kind. His iconic dance was first introduced to the world in 1983 during the television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.[75]

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