From The Vault: Walking The Walk

It’s free, it’s fun, it helps you see the world, and the only thing stopping you doing it is your own front door.

America has a problem with walking. Its inhabitants walk the least steps per day of all the industrialized nations of the world – and a victim of its own ingenuity, as walking has been, in the words of Tom Vanderbilt, “engineered out of existence.” For all the inspiring quotes out there, people still have a problem taking to the streets without using wheels (not so surprising when those streets are often walker-unfriendly). This week in From The Vault, we take a brisk stroll through 6 walking-related posts from our archives, in the hope they make you leap our of your chair…

Our feet are amazing. Let’s use them wisely. 

…it’s easy to argue for and against flip-flops. On the one hand, they’re light, they allow air between the toes, they’re fun and of course they’re very cheap. And on the other? In today’s world, “cheap” equates to “disposable” – and flip-flops are usually made of eco-unfriendly plastics. And that ache in my ankles? It wasn’t in my head. A recent study by Auburn University (viaMoms Speak Up)  concluded that wearing toe-thonged footwear permanently altered the way you walk, putting unnatural strain on feet and ankles and resulting in the “flip-flop shuffle.

Flip-Flops: Walking On Shaky Ground?

More alpha men and women seem to be answering the call of the wild, signing on as leader of the pack for several hours each day. For herders able to command six-to-ten furry friends at a time in a neighborhood park or at the beach, dog walking can rake in as much as $200 a day (minus the truck fuel). Scooping poop just got a lot more enticing!

But you should know it isn’t all fun and games, warns Emy Sakai, 29, owner and founder of The Urban Paw dog walking service in San Francisco. The consummate animal lover has been pet sitting and dog walking since the age of 12, starting her career working part time while working in office settings and then branching off to launch her own service, which she likens to running a daycare program.

7 Reasons Not To Diss A Career In Dog Walking

Easy tools like Google’s pedometer will help you track how far you will be walking. Plan realistically; if you’re going with a group of friends, you’ll go at a slower pace than you expect. Assume you’ll cover about one or two miles per hour. A great day trip could be 5 or 6 miles with several stopping points incorporated, keeping you active but also ensuring that the day is enjoyable.

The City Girl’s Guide To Urban Hiking

Make your urban hike a girl’s day out. Plan a shorter itinerary to allow for a slower pace – more talking equals less walking – but that hits a few key hot spots: cute cafe for lunch, a local bakery for afternoon coffee and a corner bar for evening cocktails. If you’re having trouble thinking about where to go, pick a theme for the day: Boutique Shopping, Urban Parks, Undiscovered Food Carts, etc.

Take A Hike: 5 More Great Tips For The Urban Explorer

Every wonder how many crunches it takes to burn off a Big Mac from McDonald’s? Or how many miles you have to run to burn off a large French fries from Wendy’s?

First, everyone burns calories in a different way. In other words, a 120 pound woman with 17% body fat isn’t going to burn the same amount of calories as a 250 pound man with 30% body fat. It all varies according to weight, size and metabolism. So for the purposes of this article, we figured in statistics for the average sized American woman – which is 5’4″, 140 pounds, and a size 14.

Here’s a look at our average Jane eating our favorite fast food wonders, and how she pays for them. (Not that we green Janes ever eat fast food…)

What It Takes To Burn Off 5 Fast Food Meals (And A Latte)

For some reason, human beings seem designed to really dig walking barefoot on grass. Seeing a corner of the market, Krispy Kreme (of all things) have now unveiled…the living grass flip-flop.

The world is momentarily speechless. Yes, it’s surely just a bit of fun. But you wouldn’t think it if you read the press release, which equates walking in these shoes to a healthful, one-with-nature stroll in the park. It’s a little too straight-faced to be comfortable with. (So let’s not forget what flip-flops – and doughnuts – can do).

The Living Flip-Flop: A Step Too Far?

Images: JAIRO BD, Moyan Brenn, Steve-hrevolution cycle, brartist, Let Ideas Compete, Krispy Kreme and mikebaird.

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.