Walkers: We Need to Chat
We live in a politically correct era. No one wants to tell or hear the real truth We are busy being polite, but all the while we are constantly lying to ourselves and to others. My goal isn’t to pick on walkers, just to make them more aware. Disclaimer: if you are politically correct and you are a walker, please do not read this blog as it is likely to offend you.
This blog was inspired by my recent run across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a gorgeous 55 degree day with low humidity (my ideal running weather), so my husband and I woke at the crack of dawn to run over the Golden Gate Bridge.
There were two lanes to be shared by runners, bikers and walkers. The bikers going to work were bustling past us to get to work heading out of Sausalito to San Francisco, while respectfully remaining an appropriate distance from pedestrians.
Bikers require the most focus on the bridge. They are going fast, sometimes faster than the speed limit and they have limited reaction time at that speed. Runners are engaged, making sure their pace and breathing are well-coordinated. Walkers tend to be oblivious, swaying their bodies and arms erratically while taking up most of the lane without a care in the world. They never walk in tandem, only side by side ensuring that no one can get past their width. Runners and bikers must come to a complete halt before the walkers even notice that anyone is trying to get around them.
Walkers also have a false perception of how much exercise they did. Walking 3 miles burns 300 calories. A 3 mile run can burn up to 50% more calories because running consumes more oxygen than walking.
While walking, legs are mostly straight and the center of gravity is over the top of your legs. Running requires jumping from one leg to the other which raises the center of gravity and lowers it once we land. You fight gravity with the rise and fall of your weight which requires considerably more effort. Cycling is also a quicker exercise than walking and will burn more calories than walking depending on the speed of the rider.
Last but not least, walkers tend to believe that a small amount of walking allows them to consume an extra 500 to 750 calories a day. I have heard on numerous occasions “I walked around the mall so now I can eat this cheeseburger and fries.”
A walk around the mall may burn 200 calories and the cheeseburger/fries combo is often over a thousand calories resulting no health benefit and no weight loss. A runner knows that he/she needs to run about 10 miles to negate the calories of that same meal and will opt to avoid the calorie load altogether.
Walking is a great way to exercise and it can be done anywhere with just a pair of sneakers. I encourage all forms of exercise. Walkers, please just be aware of the moving traffic around you, and please share the road.