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Simple Walk-Cycle

Walking (also called ambulation) is one of the main gaits of locomotion among legged animals, and is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step. This applies regardless of the number of limbs - even arthropods with 6, eight or more limbs.

In humans and other bipeds, walking is generally distinguished from running in that only one foot at a time leaves contact with the ground and there is a period of double-support. In contrast, running begins when both feet are off the ground with each step. (This distinction has the status of a formal requirement in competitive walking events, resulting in disqualification at the Olympic level.) For quadrupedal species, there are numerous gaits which may be termed walking or running, and distinctions based upon the presence or absence of a suspended phase or the number of feet in contact any any time do not yield mechanically correct classification. The most effective method to distinguish walking from running is based on the percent of the stride in which a foot is in contact with the ground (averaged across all feet); defining a walk as greater than 50% contact corresponds well with identification of 'inverted pendulum' mechanics via force plate measurements.

The average human child achieves independent walking ability around 11 months old.[1] The word walk is descended from the Old English wealcan "to roll".

For humans, walking is the main form of transportation without a vehicle or riding animal. Although walking speeds can vary greatly depending on factors such as height, weight, age, terrain, surface, load, culture, and fitness, the average human walking speed is about 3 miles per hour. Specific studies have found pedestrian walking speeds ranging from 4.11 to 4.33 feet per second (2.8 mph ~ 2.95 mph | 4.51 km/h ~ 4.75 km/h) for older individuals to 4.85 to 4.95 fps (3.3 mph ~ 3.38 mph | 5.32 km/h ~ 5.43 km/h) for younger individuals.[2][3] A pedestrian is a person who is walking on a road, sidewalk or path.

Contents

Health benefits of walking

Sustained walking sessions for a minimum period of thirty to sixty minutes a day, five days a week, with the correct walking posture,[4][5] reduces health risks and has various overall health benefits,[6] such as reducing the chances of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression.[7] Life expectancy is also increased even for individuals suffering from obesity or high blood pressure. Walking also increases bone health, especially strengthening the hip bone, and lowering the more harmful bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and raises the more useful good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Paleoanthropology and ambulation

Judging from foot prints discovered on a former shore in Kenya, it is thought possible that ancestors of modern humans were walking in ways very similar to the present activity as much as 1.5 million years ago.[16][17]

Variants of walking

While not strictly bipedal, several primarily bipedal human gaits (where the long bones of the arms support at most a small fraction of the body's weight) are generally regarded as variants of walking. These include:

  • Hand walking; an unusual form of locomotion, in which the walker moves primarily using their hands.
  • Walking on crutches (usually executed by alternating between standing on both legs, and rocking forward "on the crutches" (i.e., supported under the armpits by them);
  • Walking with one or two walking stick(s) or trekking poles (reducing the load on one or both legs, or supplementing the body's normal balancing mechanisms by also pushing against the ground through at least one arm that holds a long object);
  • Walking while holding on to a walker, a framework to aid with balance; and
  • Scrambling, using the arms (and hands or some other extension to the arms) not just as a backup to normal balance, but, as when walking on talus, to achieve states of balance that would be impossible or unstable when supported solely by the legs.

Biomechanics

Human walking is accomplished with a strategy called the double pendulum. During forward motion, the leg that leaves the ground swings forward from the hip. This sweep is the first pendulum. Then the leg strikes the ground with the heel and rolls through to the toe in a motion described as an inverted pendulum. The motion of the two legs is coordinated so that one foot or the other is always in contact with the ground. The process of walking recovers approximately sixty per cent of the energy used due to pendulum dynamics and ground reaction force.[18][19]

Walking differs from a running gait in a number of ways. The most obvious is that during walking one leg always stays on the ground while the other is swinging. In running there is typically a ballistic phase where the runner is airborne with both feet in the air (for bipedals).

Another difference concerns the movement of the center of mass of the body. In walking the body "vaults" over the leg on the ground, raising the center of mass to its highest point as the leg passes the vertical, and dropping it to the lowest as the legs are spread apart. Essentially kinetic energy of forward motion is constantly being traded for a rise in potential energy. This is reversed in running where the center of mass is at its lowest as the leg is vertical. This is because the impact of landing from the ballistic phase is absorbed by bending the leg and consequently storing energy in muscles and tendons. In running there is a conversion between kinetic, potential, and elastic energy.

There is an absolute limit on an individual's speed of walking (without special techniques such as those employed in speed walking) due to the upwards acceleration of the center of mass during a stride - if it's greater than the acceleration due to gravity the person will become airborne as they vault over the leg on the ground. Typically however, animals switch to a run at a lower speed than this due to energy efficiencies.

Walking speed

Average adult walking speed on level surfaces is approximately 80 m/min (4.8 km/h, 12.5 min/km), or about 3 miles per hour. For men, it is about 82 m/min, and for women, about 79 m/min.[20]

As a leisure activity

Race walking. Note that a number of competitors are cheating (i.e., running).

Many people walk as a hobby, and in our post-industrial age it is often enjoyed as one of the best forms of exercise.[21]

Fitness walkers and others may use a pedometer to count their steps. The types of walking include bushwalking, racewalking, weight-walking, hillwalking, volksmarching, Nordic walking and hiking on long-distance paths. Sometimes people prefer to walk indoors using a treadmill. In some countries walking as a hobby is known as hiking (the typical North American term), rambling (a somewhat dated British expression, but remaining in use because it is enshrined in the title of the important Ramblers), or tramping. Hiking is a subtype of walking, generally used to mean walking in nature areas on specially designated routes or trails, as opposed to in urban environments; however, hiking can also refer to any long-distance walk. More obscure terms for walking include "to go by Marrow-bone stage", "to take one's daily constitutional", "to ride Shank's pony", "to ride Shank's mare", or "to go by Walker's bus". Among search and rescue responders, those responders who walk (rather than ride, drive, fly, climb, or sit in a communications trailer) often are known as "ground pounders".[22][23]

The Walking the Way to Health Initiative is the largest volunteer led walking scheme in the United Kingdom. Volunteers are trained to lead free Health Walks from community venues such as libraries and GP surgeries. The scheme has trained over 35,000 volunteers and have over 500 schemes operating across the UK, with thousands of people walking every week.

Professionals working to increase the number of people walking more usually come from 6 sectors: health, transport, environment, schools, sport & recreation and urban design. A new organization called Walk England launched a web site on the 18th June 2008 to provide these professionals with evidence, advice and examples of success stories of how to encourage communities to walk more. The site has a social networking aspect to allow professionals and the public to ask questions, discuss, post news and events and communicate with others in their area about walking, as well as a "walk now" option to find out what walks are available in each region.

The world's largest registration walking event is the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen. The annual Labor Day walk on Mackinac Bridge draws over sixty thousand participants. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge walk annually draws over fifty thousand participants. Walks are often organized as charity events with walkers seeking sponsors to raise money for a specific cause. Charity walks range in length from two mile (3 km) or five km walks to as far as fifty miles (eighty km). The MS Challenge Walk is an example of a fifty mile walk which raises money to fight multiple sclerosis. The Oxfam Trailwalker is a one hundred km event.

Sheep walking along a road

In Britain, the Ramblers' Association is the biggest organization that looks after the interests of walkers. A registered charity, it has 139,000 members. Regular, brisk cycling or walking can improve confidence, stamina, energy, weight control, life expectancy and reduce stress. It can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, bowel cancer and osteoporosis. Modern scientific studies have shown that walking, besides its physical benefits, is also beneficial for the mind — improving memory skills, learning ability, concentration and abstract reasoning, as well as reducing stress and uplifting one's spirits.

As a form of tourism there are many options for walking. The most famous one would be "walking tours" normally offered in different cities by paid guide tours. However, there are some volunteers that can drive walking tours for tourists and do not charge for it, but just ask for a small tip at the end of the walk. Websites such as Bluewalks[24] promote walking as a form of collaborative and green tourism allowing travelers to share their walking tours.

As transportation

Walking is the most basic and common mode of transportation and is recommended for a healthy lifestyle, and has numerous environmental benefits. However, people are walking less in the UK, a Department of Transport report found that between 1995/97 and 2005 the average number of walk trips per person fell by 16%, from 292 to 245 per year. Many professionals in local authorities and the NHS are employed to halt this decline by ensuring that the built environment allows people to walk and that there are walking opportunities available to them.

"Walking is convenient, it needs no special equipment, is self-regulating and inherently safe. Walking is as natural as breathing". John Butcher, Founder Walk21, 1999

On roads with no sidewalks, pedestrians should always walk facing the oncoming traffic for their own and other people's safety.

When distances are too great to be convenient,walking can be combined with other modes of transportation, such as cycling, public transport, car sharing, carpooling, hitchhiking, ride sharing, car rentals and taxis. These methods may be more efficient or desirable than private car ownership, being a healthy means of physical exercise.

Walkability

There has been a recent focus among urban planners in some communities to create pedestrian-friendly areas and roads, allowing commuting, shopping and recreation to be done on foot. The concept of walkability has arisen as a measure of the degree to which an area is friendly to walking. Some communities are at least partially car-free, making them particularly supportive of walking and other modes of transportation. In the United States, the Active Living network is an example of a concerted effort to develop communities more friendly to walking and other physical activities.

Walking is also considered to be a clear example of a sustainable mode of transport, especially suited for urban use and/or relatively shorter distances. Non Motorised Transport modes such as walking, but also cycling, small-wheeled transport (skates, skateboards, push scooters and hand carts) or wheelchair travel are often key elements of successfully encouraging clean urban transport.[25] A large variety of case studies and good practices (from European cities and some worldwide examples) that promote and stimulate walking as a means of transportation in cities can be found at Eltis, Europe's portal for local transport.[26]

The development of specific rights of way with appropriate infrastructure can promote increased participation and enjoyment of walking. Examples of types of investment include pedestrian malls, and foreshoreways such as oceanways and riverwalks.

In robotics

The first successful attempts at walking robots tended to have 6 legs. The number of legs was reduced as microprocessor technology advanced, and there are now a number of robots that can walk on 2 legs. One for example, is ASIMO. Although robots have taken great strides in advancement, they still don't walk nearly as well as human beings[citation needed] as they often need to keep their knees bent permanently in order to improve stability.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Samra HA, Specker B (July 2007). "Walking age does not explain term versus preterm difference in bone geometry". J Pediatr. 151 (1): 61–6, 66.e1–2. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.02.033. PMID 17586192. 
  2. ^ "Study Compares Older and Younger Pedestrian Walking Speeds". TranSafety, Inc. 1997-10-01. http://www.usroads.com/journals/p/rej/9710/re971001.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  3. ^ Aspelin, Karen (2005-05-25). "Establishing Pedestrian Walking Speeds". Portland State University. http://www.westernite.org/datacollectionfund/2005/psu_ped_summary.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  4. ^ Mayo Clinic - Proper walking technique
  5. ^ Community Development Department, City of Cambridge, Massachusetts - The Health Benefits of Walking
  6. ^ About.com - Benefits of Walking - How Walking Reduces Health Risks
  7. ^ AARP - The Numerous Benefits of Walking
  8. ^ Boone, Tommy. "Benefits of Walking". HowStuffWorks. http://health.howstuffworks.com/benefits-of-walking.htm. Retrieved September 2009. 
  9. ^ "Walking for fitness: How to trim your waistline, improve your health". Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612. Retrieved September 2009. 
  10. ^ Crawford, Deborah. "Why Walking is the Most-recommended Exercise". BellaOnline. http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art32177.asp. Retrieved September 2009. 
  11. ^ Balish, Chris (2006). How to live well without owning a car. Ten Speed Press. p. 134. ISBN 1580087574. http://books.google.com/books?id=7Aaqef3g6J0C&pg=PA134.  (Google books)
  12. ^ Brown, Marie Annette; Robinson, Jo (2002). When your body gets the blues: the clinically proven program for women who feel tired and stressed and eat too much. Rodale. p. 82. ISBN 157954486X. http://books.google.com/books?id=gqhknevjpikC&pg=PA82.  (Google books)
  13. ^ Yeager, Selene; Doherty, Bridget (2000). The Prevention Get Thin Get Young Plan. Rodale. ISBN 1579542174. http://books.google.com/books?id=Qai4MRKlKmgC&pg=PA104.  (Google Books)
  14. ^ Edlin, Gordon; Golanty, Eric (2007). Health and wellness. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. p. 156. ISBN 0763741450. http://books.google.com/books?id=0MUi2yslAS0C&pg=PA156.  (Google Books)
  15. ^ Tolley, Rodney (2003). Sustainable transport: planning for walking and cycling in urban environments. Woodhead Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 1855736144. http://books.google.com/books?id=738aG1QxoBUC&pg=PA72.  (Google Books)
  16. ^ Dunham, Will (February 26, 2009). "Footprints show human ancestor with modern stride". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE51P82420090226. Retrieved August 2009. 
  17. ^ Harmon, Katherine (February 26, 2009). "Researchers Uncover 1.5 Million-Year-Old Footprints". Scientific American. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=15-million-footprints-uncover. Retrieved August 2009. 
  18. ^ "Walk without waste". ABC Online Index. January 2001. http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/health/HealthRepublish_232296.htm. Retrieved August 2009. 
  19. ^ Uyar, Erol; Baser, Özgün; Baci, Recep; Özçivici, Engin (before 2003). "Investigation of Bipedal Human Gait Dynamics and Knee Motion Control". Izmir, Turkey: Dokuz Eylül University - Faculty of Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering. http://web.deu.edu.tr/mechatronics/TR/webpagedesignbipedal/humangait.pdf. Retrieved August 2009. 
  20. ^ Burnfield, JM, and Powers, CM. Normal and Pathologic Gait, in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Secrets edited by Jeffrey D. Placzek and David A. Boyce, Hanley & Belfus; 2 edition (June 6, 2006), chap. 16 [ISBN 1560537086; ISBN 978-1560537083]
  21. ^ Walking benefits
  22. ^ Ground pounders
  23. ^ - Ground pounders - unpaid volunteers
  24. ^ http://www.bluewalks.com/ Bluewalks collaborative, green tourism
  25. ^ Non Motorised Transport, Teaching and Learning Material
  26. ^ European Local Transport Information Service (ELTIS) provides case studies concerning walking as a local transport concept

External links


WALK may refer to:

  • WALK (AM), a radio station (1370 AM) licensed to East Patchogue, New York, United States
  • WALK-FM, a radio station (97.5 FM) licensed to Patchogue, New York, United States


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|Racewalking sample, Colombia.]] Walk or Walking is the way people or animals travel on their legs. If a person goes out walking, it is said that he or she 'went for a walk'. Walking, for a long time, is known as a healthy exercise.[1][2]

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References








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