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WikiProject Organismal Biomechanics (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon Walking is part of WikiProject Organismal Biomechanics, an attempt at creating a standardized, informative, comprehensive and easy-to-use resource covering organismal biomechanics. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit this article, or visit the project page for more information.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
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It is requested that this article be expanded to include a diverse array of animal taxa in order to improve its quality.


The reference to walking with crutches is more misleading than anything: firstly it assumes underarm/axillary crutches, which are little used in major parts of the world (I can't remember the last time I saw a European using anything but forearm crutches), equally permanent users across the developed world, including the US, tend to use forearm crutches and generally won't use the described gait (which is either swing-to or swing-through depending on whether the feet are brought up to or past the crutches. More common is a three-point (crutches, left leg, right leg) or four point (right crutch, left leg, left crutch, right leg) gait. DWG, 5 Feb 2006


"For humans, walking is the main form of transportation without a vehicle or riding animal."

Unless anyone expected us to fly naturally, this is a stupid statement. Walking is probably the main form of transportation in the world. See bicycles without borders. I can't even see the purpose of this statement enough to correct it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

This is not a stupid statement. Wikipedia is about facts. And as such this should be mentioned whether or not someone finds it "stupid". Humans can also run, swim, climb etc. However none of these are the main form of transportation although they can still be categorized as a form of transportation without a vehicle or riding an animal. Rbaleksandar (talk) 08:36, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Walking speeds[edit]

The article in two different places states two different average walking speeds. This should be fixed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:14, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

There's nothing here about the average speeds of walking on various terrain. I'd like to know this.

I am an avid hiker (that means I like to walk in wilderness areas, typically on trails and up and down hills or mountains) and a competent English speaker. From this article, I couldn't tell what you meant by "walking"--I mean, it would really help if you would explain exactly what happens, where you go, what you do, etc., when you are "walking" in the sense you describe here. --LMS

undated comment above by LMS 16:44, 12 September 2001

I'd like to see some discussion about walking speed when used as transportation for long distances in the past; various forms of infantry's speeds for example. I remember a figure of 20 miles in a day...

    • 20 miles of walking in a day is a lot. Most people can do it - once. The next day they will be sore in the feet, ankles and legs and will need to rest for several days before they attempt such a long walk again. With a lot of regular distance walking, someone might condition himself for 20-mile daily walks, but that's a major goal that only the most persistent can reach. Most of the time, when someone claims to have walked 20 miles every day for several days in a row, they're lying.
    • When you walk distances over five miles, you will discover that the condition of your shoes and socks is very important. A minor irritation, such as a hole or a thin spot in the socks, can be "put up with" for a couple of miles. But if you try to ignore that irritation for ten miles, you will end up with an injured foot - a bad blister, at least.
    • Beginning distance walkers often think that "walking speed" is five miles per hour, and they are surprised to discover that they can barely average half that speed over several miles. With regular walking to improve the relevant muscles and increase the stamina, someone might raise his average speed to almost four miles per hour. A few long-legged and very practiced walkers may reach five miles per hour on long walks, if they push themselves hard.
    • I regularly walk at 4mph (so 6.6 km/h) over shortish distances (say two or three miles) on relatively flat ground. I don't consider this fast, just brisk, and I'm including pausing to cross roads in town etc, although I am often running a bit late. Definitely just a brisk walk though - I'm no racewalker and if I was really in a hurry I'd run. I've updated the article accordingly as I think the top speed given previously was misleadingly slow. Biguana (talk) 21:48, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
    • There's a formula for determining calories burned per hour on level-ground walks as a function of the walker's weight, pace distance, and average speed. I don't remember what it is. Obviously, the equation can be transposed so that distance becomes the independent variable.
    • What I'd like to know is the mechanical efficiency of the muscles involved. What percentage of the calories burned by the body go into covering ground, and what percentage is lost as heat and motion that doesn't really do anything important? Ditto for climbing stairs; I'd like to know the percentage of calories burned that actually satisfies the difference of gravitational potential energy between the bottom of the steps and the top. (Jerry Abbott, 2 July 2006)

Yes, I'd very much expect to find at least the average energy expenditure (calories, joules...) of walking as a funcion of distance, time and perhaps the walker's weight? Anybody familiar with this? 22:12, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

There are several tabulations on the web of energy output in METS (factor times metabolic base rate) as a function of speed, and also Kenneth Cooper's tabulations of 'Training points' which are a slightly different thing, but still pretty interesting. Bob aka Linuxlad 22:39, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Unlike the automobile, the efficiency of transport in animal life does not vary with the rate at which it occurs. Running is neither more or less efficient than walking. Instead the efficency varies with the mass of the organism. I don't feel that the table is good enough for inclusion in articles, because I question its accuracy. See the summary of the image for details.


Cira 17:24, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Alternative medicine[edit]

The latest addition encapsulating walking within Alternative Health is not very convincing. There are, of course, health benefits to walking but there are plenty of reasons for walking which have nothing to do with health, for example, it is a form of transport. Would the health enthusiast care to reconsider...

Every article can be classsified more than one way. So, it is with a lot of mainstream activities like exercise and diet. They are part of natural approaches to health such as Natural hygiene which is classified alternative medicine. I have replaced the orange box with one that doesn't even look like a box. -- John Gohde 07:40, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
John, this is certainly an improvement. However, whether it is a box or not, my point is that the extended reference to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is inappropriate. I do not readily accept the argument that since every article can be cross-referenced in more than one way this entitles a proponent for one of these ways to make a "land grab" for the topic. On that argument, we could anticipate banner cross-references cluttering up the page from every sort of enthusiast. I advocate moderation and discretion in promoting your links. For example, how about suitable links to Health as well as CAM? I am a supporter of CAM but I do not believe that it should be cross-referenced in this way. The reasons for my opinion are :firstly, the reference is unnecessarily large especially in relation to the overall size of the preceding text. One gets the impression that one is reading an entry in some faddish health advertising-supported website rather than an encyclopaedia. Secondly, the reference itself includes subreferences to major topics such as philosophy and history which is (a) misleading since they refer only to the philosophy and history of CAM (as opposed to philosophy and history in general or the philosophy and history of walking) (b) unnecessary since if the interested reader wants to find out about these topics they can follow the link from the main CAM page.
PS The correct spelling of "Complimentary medicine" should be "Complementary medicine"
-- JPF 09:07, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
If someone put in more about the health benefits or otherwise of walking it might make sense. At the monement I don't see that it does.Geni 22:42, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I suggest that we remove the references to alternative medicine from the bottom of the article until someone cares enough to write something to actually link it in to the article; as it stands, the alt-med links at the bottom are wholly divorced from the article, and so are inappropriate. I have neither the expertise, nor time and inclination, to do so myslef...
James F. (talk) 13:45, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)


Should this page have any reference to efforts to get robots to walk? It is a non-trivial problem, and one that hasn't been completely solved yet.


  1. As per a question on the Reference desk, why do people swing their arms whilst walking?
  2. Yes, there should be a section on getting robots to walk - could anyone contribute to this?
  3. Are there any good diagrams of walking motion available? Perhaps an animated gif?
  4. Info on the muscles used in walking would be good.

I think this is a really good option for the article improvement drive, as there's a lot that could be done on this article that has not yet been done, and it's quite an important area in human development. And if I knew the answers to the above suggestions myself, I would add them. Proto t c 16:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

The segment in section 2 stating "Others have major flaws in their urban planning and public transit that leaves them entirely dependent on the automobile and fossil fuels, being a major cause of global warming and extreme weather events." seems to me to be rather biased, or at least of an unnecessarily condemming tone. Jccleaver 23:49 07 January 2006

Shouldn't we talk about the health benefits of walking? As well as bring up new emerging lifestyles about walking such as working from home and having your computer setup on a treadmill, allowing you to walk all day along at low pace while working? I have seen few different people build their own solutions for this and there is now a commercial product for this as well. [] Tuke 03:12 25 October 2007 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:13, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Main picture[edit]

I like the fact that the main picture gives a good idea of what it looks like to walk, but I think there are several problems with that picture; 1. It's too small. Its size makes it very difficult to see clearly without clicking to enlarge it or plastering your nose to the computer screen. 2. She's naked. It's not pornographic, and one DOES expect to see nudes in articles about the body or art, but I think the nudity is unnecessary in THIS ARTICLE. 3. She's going down stairs, and it might be better to have something that shows a person walking on a flat surface, as the process is a little different. Perhaps something better could be found? Additionally, it would be nice to have some pictures that illustrate how things other than humans walk. Perhaps horses (4 legs) and insects (6, or even 8 legs). What do others think? ONUnicorn 21:01, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

I've removed the image. While I'm all for anti-censorship, "walking" is an article I can easily see a child looking up and it is unneeded. Also, I think this page needs a gif.--SeizureDog 02:21, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I found a gif on Insect which I copied here. My new digital cameral is capable of "continuous action" shooting, and I've managed to make animations with pictures taken that way and powerpoint, but I don't have the software to make an animated gif from them. If I upload them frame by frame, is there anyone who can assemble them into a gif? ~ ONUnicorn (Talk / Contribs) 20:05, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


Would anyone be for the creation of this category? There is already a Category:Running and since there are a large amount of articles on walking and it's various incarnations and expressions, I thought it would be a good addition to Wikipedia. Thoughts? Tyciol 15:04, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good category addition to me. ONUnicorn 13:00, 26 July 2006 (UTC)


I removed this:

Walking in a "shopping mall" is often called "trolling."

Where is this true? It is certainly not called that anywhere I have ever lived (and I have lived in a number of English speaking countries) and the OED does not list this as a meaning for "trolling". So if it is to be included then the locations where this is common should be included in the same way the next sentence (taken from the article) does "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' Association), or tramping (the invariable term in New Zealand)." --PBS 19:02, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

They probably incorrectly meant "trawling"... (which actually means to catch with a net). The term could be colloquial for casual "window shopping" by means of walking past. (talk) 10:13, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Could have also meant "Strolling" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

What is your problem with the "Walkengland" website[edit]

Mkeranat,you have reverted this from the External links section under the pretext of it being "advertising". Why advertising? Is it a commercial website advertising so we may buy their goods or services? I don't think so. If you remove this, you would have to remove the Ramblers' Association website. "Walkengland" is a website telling us about facilities for our wellbeing presumably (that walking is good), and is about a lottery funded organisation created by the Department of Transport, who as far as I can see are not trying to sell us anything here. If you have other reasons for removing the link then you must tell us so, not just claim that it is for "advertising". I shall revert this for the time being until you give us a better reason why it should be removed. Dieter Simon (talk) 00:26, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Mistake in unit[edit]

I think you mean to say mps!?! 2 to 3 mph would be around 50 times slower than a snail!!! --SuperFacO 01:29, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

answer: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:43, 27 February 2009 (UTC) You're confusing miles with meters...

Baby walking[edit]

What about add information about walking in babies ?. --Mac (talk) 10:00, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Where are you going to get enough babies from to be able to do that? (talk) 10:29, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

As a leisurely activity?[edit]

Why is there a picture of race walking under "As a leisurely activity" Racing is more of a competition, and leisure and competition are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Perhaps there should be a new section added to an article such as "As a competitive activity" or something of the like. RAWINPUT (talk) 20:09, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


does the average walking speed really depend on culture? what are we really trying to say here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:21, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

As a leisure activity[edit]

Walks as Walk Japan's Nakasendo Way and the Inca Trail tour finally offer the combination of sightseeing and body exercice. [1]

Include in article, or in other article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 11 August 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps add

this image

KVDP (talk) 13:21, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Why? It adds nothing and the angles are wrong. Mokele (talk) 13:59, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Arm Movement[edit]

I believe that swinging of the arms is an important component to walking. For one thing all humans do it naturally and in a specific rhythm which matches the stride. Perhaps someone who works with robotics can write a section discussing this, since they probably understand the advantages to balance better than anyone else. (talk) 23:56, 15 February 2011 (UTC)DCrow

Actually, the human biomechanics folks have some of the best articles on the topic (ie. experiments, not just math). See [1]. Mokele (talk) 13:01, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree that arm movement should get a section maybe redirecting to a bigger one (like robotics locomotion). Arm movement is essential for balance. Rbaleksandar (talk) 08:30, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Non-justified reverts[edit]

I have made three edits to this article, and these have been reverted twice, without explanation, by the same editor. This is rude and unacceptable. For my part, I provided edit summaries as needed. These were my edits:

  • In this edit, I stated that the material removed was WP:OR, as well as contradictory of the rest of the article. Now I can understand if that's not 100% clear--I didn't come here and provide a detailed analysis. But I can, and would gladly do so, if asked. Simply reverting me without a single word of explanation is rude.
  • In this edit, I removed a statement that I thought to be absurd. To demonstrate my point, I provided an analogy. Again, if my meaning was unclear, I don't might being asked about it, or even challenged. But reverting me without explanation is completely rude.
  • In this edit, I did not provide an edit summary, but that's because all I did was provide a wikilink to knee and changed a number 6 to "six", per WP:MOS. Again, reverted without explanation.

To be perfectly honest, my initial impression was that perhaps I was being reverted by some IP-hater. But after that last edit kept getting reverted, I realized that it was probably the work of someone who doesn't understand Wikipedia policies. Accordingly, I've taken the time to write out this long explanation to inform all concerned that, if it happens again, I will be reporting such editors to the proper authorities. I don't have time for this shit. (talk) 22:32, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

While a few of your edits have been productive, your removal of so-called "OR" is entirely false. Any biomechanics textbook will explain, in excruciating detail, the pitfalls and flaws of kinematic-based gait definitions and merits of kinetic definitions (based on center-of-mass trajectories and energy exchanges between kinetic, potential and spring energy). Any of your productive edits which have been removed have been casualties of rollbacks to restore this content (after all, information is more important than mere formatting). If you cease removing correct information, your other edits will not be collateral damage. I'm modifying the intro now to include some refs, as well as improving clarity.. Mokele (talk) 02:26, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Buddy, I don't pretend to understand anything about the detail of kinematic gait definitions or any of the stuff you're talking about. I'm a reasonably intelligent person with my degrees in completely non-biological realms, but that doesn't mean I can't think and edit in other areas. I simply saw something that that didn't make sense to me, it was unsourced, and I suspected that someone had written up something that made sense to them. So I called it as I saw it, but was courteous enough to explain briefly why I did so. You've finally taken the time to explain your edits, and I'm glad that you've improved the article. But I hasten to point out that the fact that "Any biomechanics textbook will explain, in excruciating detail" your point, doesn't matter. The average reader of an article like this will not have, nor will they ever have, access to such texts, let alone actually read them. Our article is supposed to be written for them, not arrogant desktop professors.
I appreciate that you have now taken the time to improve the article. Now might I suggest that you improve your interaction with fellow editors, unless it is your wish that you continue coming across as an asshole. (talk) 03:12, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Strange sentence[edit]

I still am perplexed at the purpose of this sentence:

For humans, walking is the main form of transportation without a vehicle or riding animal.

I am holding out the possibility that I am completing missing the point of this sentence. I mean, from my perspective, what are the other choices here? What other forms of non-vehicular or non-animal riding transportation are there? What are we comparing here? Running and walking? Is there anyone on the planet who would read this and think, "damn, I thought most of us just ran!", or "Unbelievable--most people walk instead of crawl?" That's why, in my ES, I compared the above sentence to this:

For humans, swallowing is the main form of drinking without gulping or guzzling

I mean, these sentences both strike me as being true and yet completely unnecessary to include in an encyclopedia. They might be useful in an extraterrestrial's Guide to Earth and Human Behaviour, but in, I don't see the purpose.

On the other hand, it would be very useful to see a comparison of walking vs. animal riding vs. human-powered vehicle (e.g., bicycle) vs. powered vehicle. But the above statement, to me, appears completely calorie-free. If I'm seeing it wrong, please explain it to me. (talk) 03:23, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Biomechanics of Walking[edit]

Hey, I changed the intro slightly. duty factors of greater then 50% are not indicative of walking. People mostly use Center of Mass height when being very careful about it, as many birds run with duty factors greater then 50% and humans will do so as well, for example when obese, wearing weights or rounding sharp corners. I'm also tempted to move the sentences

"Definitions based on the percent of the stride during which a foot is in contact with the ground (averaged across all feet) of greater than 50% contact corresponds well with identification of 'inverted pendulum' mechanics and are indicative of walking for animals with any number of limbs, although this definition is incomplete.[1] Running humans and animals may have contact periods greater then 50% of a gait cycle when rounding corners, running uphill or carrying loads."

To keep the introduction more concise. It would fit well within the biomechanics of walking section somewhere though. Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Richgellis (talkcontribs) 22:35, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. The 50% duty factor bit is in there because, in spite of the exceptions, it's a decent first approximation in most circumstances, and can be useful when it's not possible to use more complex instruments (ie. fieldwork, particularly small animals, etc). Anyhow, your edits make it clear that you know your biomechanics, so feel free to edit however you see fit - I've been meaning to edit this article for a while and just never gotten around to it. Mokele (talk) 14:11, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Copyright concern[edit]

I just want to check—is the wording I'm using at Walking#Evolutionary origin of walking among all life forms a copyright violation? Should what I am saying be said any differently? Thanks. Bus stop (talk) 04:28, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Possible source[edit] is part of a series on walking or being a pedestrian, and it might be useful as a source for this article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:37, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Babies learning to walk[edit]

I would like to see at least a small mention of what age human infants on average start to learn to walk, wouldn't be completely out of place here. Carlwev (talk) 12:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

I agree. I think it's something like around one year, but there have probably been studies that would tell us about the diversity of when people learn to do this. Unfortunately, I don't know of any myself, and Wikipedia is generally quite weak on information about infants and young children. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:48, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Better, real images[edit]

Would it be possible to replace the current lead image and the blender animation with images of actual walking humans or animals? CGI is nice and all, but real data from real organisms is always preferable to simulations. HCA (talk) 19:29, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Page Split[edit]

I think it might be useful to split the topic, with the current page focusing on the bio-mechanical concept of ambulation and a new page at Walking (exercise) or something that focuses on the sociological role of walking for health or pleasure. The content would primarily be drawn from the Walking#Health benefits of walking and Walking#As a leisure activity sections, and then possibly merged with one or more walking-related stub articles such as Mall walking. Does anyone object? Angrysockhop (talk to me) 06:01, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

I don't object to you creating a new page with any material that you may have, but I think this page is coherent and not very large, so I don't think you can split the page as such. Op47 (talk) 18:54, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Dangers of Walking and Walking Related Conditions[edit]

Accordingly, walking has been known to attribute to bodily injury in humans. Conditions such as bunions, arch failure (in females) and various forms of more serious conditions such as hernias and slipped joints have historically been associated with walking. Excessive walking can increase the probability of food allergies to affect metabolic levels, as in the diagnosis of herniated tissue. Primary conditions such as hammertoe, athlete's foot, callus and other instances can if untreated lead to secondary conditions; including amputation and even death.

Dangers of walking and their collective medicines are generally researched by the field of Podiatry, which is a sub-specialty filed Orthopedics. There is no specific pathology in treating foot-related conditions due to congenital and non-congenital variances; yet when walking related conditions alone are argued, joint articulation and collective prognosis attribute to a majority of cases.

[citation needed] --Triskele Jim 03:29, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Risk of Walking?[edit]

This is incorrect. Quoted research is not about risks of walking, it is about correlation between walking intensity and health benefits. If simplified, research shows that person whose walking speed (ml/min, not min/ml) is slower than some ratio (see the research), has higher risks of death due to various causes, studied in the research. Paragraph in this article presents incomplete equivocal picture, especially with the title that sounds like 'Risks of Walking'. This must be fixed. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:09, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

I find this section confusing/ambiguous and suggest that it be deleted, unless someone clarifies matters. I don't understand why the author of the above comment didn't do this. Rwood128 (talk) 19:15, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Dubious/Contradiction: Leisure Activity / Largest Walking Event?[edit]

The article states that the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen is currently the world's largest walking event, with more than 40000 participants. Yet it mentions two other events which seem to be larger: the Labor Day walk with more than 60000 participants and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk with more than 50000 participants. Without further clarification it seems odd or even wrong to label the event in Nijmegen as 'largest', considering those numbers. By what criteria is it the largest? Numbers of spectators? Media coverage? I don't want to edit the page myself because I stumbled on this article randomly without much knowledge about the topic, but I find this statement confusing because there seems to be a contradiction, so I tagged it. Besides, there are two sentences in the same paragraph which call it the largest event, so at the very least there's some redundancy which should be cleaned up a bit. (talk) 07:31, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Furthermore, this article states the number of military personnel which partake in the Nijmegen event is "about 5,000". However, the main article International_Four_Days_Marches_Nijmegen claims that "In recent years the military participants have numbered approximately ten thousand." A statement like "in recent years" is pretty vague anyways and should better be replaced by one or a few examples with concrete dates and numbers. (talk) 08:56, 2 August 2015 (UTC)


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