Pedestrianism in America

Tom Vanderbilt, writing for Slate magazine, wonders why Americans don’t walk more:

Why do we walk so comparatively little? The first answer is one that applies virtually everywhere in the modern world: As with many forms of physical activity, walking has been engineered out of existence. With an eye toward the proverbial grandfather who regales us with tales of walking five miles to school in the snow, this makes instinctive sense. But how do we know how much people used to walk? There were no 18th-century pedometer studies.

Interesting read -- I especially recommend the etymological look at pedestrian in the piece.

As someone who walks out of necessity (not having a license or car will do that), I, for one, appreciate life as a pedestrian. Before coming to the realization that the Jawbone UP is a unmitigated piece of crap1, I found out that I average over 12,000 steps per day. And I think I’m a healthier person for it.2

(via Chris Martucci)


  1. It really is. For as excited as I was to get one, the sheer disappointment of its suckness was pretty upsetting. I went through two because the battery died after barely a week of use each time. My advice? DO NOT BUY.  ↩

  2. Richer too – I save a helluva lot of money from not having to pay for gas and insurance.  ↩