Wednesday, December 17, 2008

People Were Meant To Walk

Walking and and the Human History
No matter what you believe on the origin of man, one thing is for certain. Until recent history people walked everywhere. Mass migrations across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas have occurred. Towns and cities throughout history have an average distance of five mile. That is what one person can reasonably walk in one day, do work, and walk back. Armies walked to battle, pioneers walk to new homes, workers walked to work, mothers walked to the store, and children walked to school.

Domesticating The Horse
Around 4000 BC humans began to domesticate the horse. Though you could ride a horse, most people used the horse as a work animal. They plowed field, pulled wagons, or moved and lifted heavy objects. Rarely to you ride your horse for transportation.

Mongols Riding the Horse
The great Mongol army of Genghis Khan few road the horse as transportation. The group had soldiers and their families and they walked to combat. Once they arrived near an enemy, the soldiers would mount their horses. As soon as the battle was over, they got off. A few would ride to heard the horses and other farm animals to the next battle.

Hollywood and the Cowboy
In every western I have seen cowboys road horses everywhere. It actually seemed everyone road horses everywhere. Cowboys crossing the plains on unending rides. Horse hitches outside every building. Everyone had a horse.

The Real West and the Horse
Though horses were common, most people walked to town. They would never waste the strength of their horse to go to town. Hitching up a buggy took time also. If you had a buggy, you had a servant that would set it up for you. Even then, you took the buggy to church or to town, and then spent the rest of the day walking around. At the end of the day you took the buggy home. You would still walk to work, to school or to town.

How Far Can A Horse Travel
If you race a horse, it can run almost two miles and then it is to tired to run any farther. If you road a horse at a run, you could reasonably take it 10 miles. This was also the distance used by the pony express to change horses. If you walked a horse it could go 20 to 40 miles. For quick long distance travel the horse was great, but around the home and town. You still walked.

Our Body is Designed to Walk
If you look at the way our bodies are designed you quickly see that walking is the most efficient way for us to travel. You might say "Duh, No Kidding." Though it is obvious, everything behind the design of our body revolves around walking. We burn fat most efficiently when walking. Our legs can take use 10 miles in a day at an easy pace (with a couple of breaks) and you would not feel tired. The way our eyes see allows us focus on an object even when walking at a fast pace.

Why We Don't Walk
Well, someone invented the car and then Ford made them cheep enough for everyone, then the government made roads and freeways every where. Now the store is too far away to walk to. Work is too far away to walk to. School is too far or too dangerous to walk to (though I walked to school, elementary, Junior high, and high school. Even college.) The mall is no longer down the street, the movies are on the other side of town, and we have altered our culture to be about cars. So without a car we are in trouble.

How We can Become A Walking People
First you have to (including me), decide we are going to walk. If it is close enough, walk. My grocery store is a half mile away from my house. Unless I am buying bags of groceries, I walk to the store. Get out your front door and walk with someone. Meet at a park or walkway with friends and walk. When you take kids to the park, don't sit on the benches, walk around the playground. It does all start with deciding to walk.

How Far We Should Walk Every Day
Everything I have read about walking for fitness or walking to loose weight points to one magic number. That number is not a measure of time or miles, but steps. Every person should walk 10,000 steps every day. you are probably thinking "WOW! 10,000 STEPS! ARE YOU HIGH!" Well, I'm not. I put on a pedometer last spring and walked 2000 steps just doing laundry. Walking back and forth between the dirty cloths, the Washer, the dryer, and where I folded cloths, and then putting them away. I walked 2,500 steps just to the store and back. I walked 15,000 steps mowing my lawn (long story).

Here Is The Walking Challenge
I challenge everyone to walk 10,000 steps every day. Even if all you do is walk around the house, walk to the corner and back, or walk around doing house or yard work. You will feel better physically, feel better about yourself, and you will notice that you will loose some weight too. Next post will be about walking and burning calories.

The Prize
Part of the prize is going to be a very nice Omron pedometer. I have one, my wife has one, and they are great. Tell your friends about the contest and have them check out my blog. Post comments about your walking. We want to hear how your doing. Good luck and have fun walking.

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