Step count of average adult’s lifetime equates to travelling the world three times, new research shows

Study revealed top reasons to go for stroll include fresh air and peace and quiet 

Alice Hughes
Thursday 24 September 2020 14:03 BST
Most polled only manage the recommended 10,000 steps a day three times a week
Most polled only manage the recommended 10,000 steps a day three times a week (iStock)

The average adult will walk almost 75,000 miles over their lifetime – the equivalent of travelling around the world three times.

A study of 2,000 adults found they each typically stroll 6,839 steps a day – amounting to 2,496,235 a year.

This is approximately 1,182 miles each year or 74,462 miles over the average lifetime.

It also emerged that as well as simply walking to get from A to B, those steps will also include two leisurely strolls and another two walks for exercise each week.

Despite this, the average adult only manages the recommended 10,000 steps a day three times a week.

The study was commissioned by Ordnance Survey (OS), ahead of National Get Outside Day on 27 September, after it has seen a record number of people interested in exploring their local areas since the start of the pandemic.

It also revealed the top reasons to go for a stroll included getting fresh air (58 per cent), for peace and quiet (17 per cent) and simply to get outside (54 per cent).

And a third use it as an opportunity to clear their head.

OS managing director for Leisure, Nick Giles, said: “It’s surprising to see just how far you walk – it might not seem like much at the time, but when you add it up, it can mean you cover off quite a few miles without even realising.

“And it’s really interesting to discover the reasons why people go for a stroll and where they like to explore.

“We’re lucky that Great Britain is filled with inspiring walking routes and scenic paths, as well as local parks for those wanting to stay closer to home.

“While recent months have been challenging for everyone, it has been fascinating to witness such a thirst for open spaces in a pattern which was repeated across every town and city in the country.”

The study also found the top destinations to walk are by the beach (21 per cent), in a forest (18 per cent) and a park (16 per cent).

But almost two thirds of adults have visited somewhere purely for a walk, such as a national park or seaside town and 19 per cent have been on a walking holiday.

More than half (51 per cent) also claimed they are more likely to walk somewhere local than further afield though, with more than a quarter wishing there were more walking routes in their area.

And 30 per cent would like to explore more of the best trails in the UK.

It also emerged that a third opt for their own company when walking, although one in eight admitted they lack confidence to go on a solo stroll.

Other barriers stopping people from walking more often include low fitness levels (15 per cent) and working hours (30 per cent).

More than half even blamed the unpredictable British weather for holding them back from walking more often.

The study revealed 47 per cent of people feel refreshed after a walk while 34 per cent are happy and 43 per cent have a sense of calmness.

And two fifths of those polled via OnePoll even said walking is one of their regular forms of exercise.

But dog owners typically go on eight walks a week with their pooch, with almost a quarter of non-dog owners admitting that having a four-legged friend would motivate them to go for a stroll more often.

Mr Giles added: "The more we can help people to get outside more often, the fitter, healthier and more resilient we as a nation will be.”


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