Americans Walk Less than Anyone, Including the Amish and their Own Grandparents
This just in via Andrew Sullivan: The average American walks 5,117 steps per day, which ranks them way below (among others) the Swiss and the Aussies, who log about 9,600 steps daily on average, AND the Japanese, who are at 7,100 steps per day.
Slackers! Sullivan links to a nice summary of recent walking research by Wayne Curtis. Turns out we're historically slothful. Writes Curtis: "In 1906, just as cars were coming into vogue, the nation was afflicted by a small outbreak of long-distance walking — multi-day walking races and long-distance walkers seemed to be tromping everywhere."
How far would the average 19th Century American walk in a day? To sort that out, researchers apparently visited the Old Order of Amish in Canada, and equipped those folks with pedometers. This, it seemed, a reasonable simulation of normal 19th Century life. Turns out the average non-motorized Amish male logs 18,425 steps per day, or roughly nine miles.