The Garmin E Trex showing the temperature according to weather services
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According to Apple Health I take an average of 14,553 steps per day, over the last year. It doesn’t stop there. Not only do I take fourteen and a half thousands steps per day on average but I run up, up to fourty five floors per day and I walk at six kilometres per hour, rather than the four kilometres per hour that normal people walk.

Articles like this speak about walking pace, number of steps per day, as well as steps climbed in some cases.

2,500 daily steps is about the point at which the risk of death was significantly reduced (by 8%), when compared to 2,000 daily steps.

2,700 daily steps is about the point at which the risk of both fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease events like heart attack and stroke was significantly reduced (by 11%), when compared to 2,000 daily steps.

7,000 daily steps, roughly, is the optimal number for those looking to reduce their risk of both fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease events (51% reduction).

9,000 daily steps, roughly, is the optimal number for those looking to reduce their risk of death from any cause (60% reduction).

Each 1,000 additional daily steps, or about 10 minutes of walking, will reduce your risk of death to some extent, though not in predictable intervals.

Each additional 500 daily steps, or about five minutes of walking, will improve the health of those with low levels of physical activity.

During yesterday’s run I switched to running for five minutes for the Nike Running club app. Three quarters of the way through that run I noticed something unusual in a field so I turned around. It was a dog. The dog saw me and then started to walk towards me. I retreated and yelled “leave me alone”. I think the dog’s owners heard me and called the dog back. The damage was done. I changed course and walked across a wet field, rather than risk being attacked.

Long Walks to Avoid Dog Walkers

Plenty of people see dogs as lovely animals but I don’t. I see the signs warning of dangerous dogs on properties. I see them bark aggressively at me. I see them charge me, on more than one occasion in recent years, and now I’m fatigued. I’m fatigued that dogs will approach you threateningly in some cases, and curiously in others. After being threatened so many times in recent years I don’t trust dogs at all.

My walks are huge, compared to those of normal people, in part because I choose routes that have the least likelihood of encountering dogs, and if I see a dog I will ever take a longer detour to avoid them, or a shortcut to circumvent them. The only time I didn’t follow the instinct to avoid a dog it was within three strides of biting me.

The benefit of fearing dogs, rather than trapping me at walk, and discouraging my walking habit, does the opposite. By walking routes that dog walkers don’t walk, and by walking routes, where I can see things, well in advance, gives me the opportunity to go for daily walks, without being afraid.

There is a walk by a river that I loved to walk, and I would often get muddy in the process. After encountering dog walkers with their dogs unleashed I eventually gave up that route, because I had nowhere to flee, and I saw these dogs once it was too late to retreat.

People love to say “don’t be afraid, dogs only attack people who are afraid of them”, and that’s the entire source of my fear. If they threaten me, I feel fear, and if I feel fear they want to threaten me all the more.

In yesterday’s incident I don’t think the dog was going to attack me. I think it was curious, but because I was walking by a farm property, with the people out of sight I thought it could suddenly decide to defend the property and bite. I need help to overcome that fear.

Playing with Personal Activity Intelligence

This morning I ran up three floors three or more times as I moved recycling from the apartment to the car. In the process I got a good workout but it didn’t count as active enough for my PAI score to change. Either I wasn’t active for enough minutes in a row, or it’s not trained to recognise that increase in heart beat as a PAI event.

The Pandemic Boosted my Steps

During the pandemic my step count exploded. I went from walking 10,000 to 20,000 or more, daily. I was walking so much because there was little else to do.

Gender Gap

In the article Why Do All the Men in My Life Walk So Fast? the issue of walking pace difference is brought up. Months or years ago I came to the conclusion that I walk fast because I walk alone so I gradually sped up. I walk fast even by London standards. It’s due to playing a game when I was younger. I would stride from one coloured tile to another at school so my stride became longer. The second reason is fitness. The fitter you are the more powerful your stride and pace. It’s not about gender. I know men who walk slowly. I call it undertaker pace.

I love when women walk as fast, or faster than me. I love when I have to keep up with them, rather than the other way around. To me, this signals that we will have the freedom to enjoy pleasant walks together.

Christine Reed, in Alone in Wonderland also wrote about the frustration of others walking faster than her. She wrote about how they made it effortless to move at speed.

One of the reasons for the difference in walking speed is simply that some people walk a lot more than others. The more you walk the higher the speed at which you walk. The reason some people look as if they’re walking fast effortlessly is that they walk enormous amounts. In 2020 I walked five and a half million steps. I would walk from two to four hours a day, every day, to the point of eventually becoming fatigued, and decreasing the distance.

During the pandemic walking was fun because there were no cars, and without cars walking is a pleasure. Cars don’t respect pedestrians by the side of the road. During the pandemic every road was walkable. When the pandemic ended those roads became dangerous again. It’s because of danger fatigue that I stopped walking my favourite routes. It’s why I now have one walk with four variations, that I can do clockwise, or anti-clockwise.

If walking was made safe, along roads, I would have 40-80 kilometres of walk, without ever needing to get in a car. It’s because of dangerous car driving that those routes are not worth the risk, out of lockdowns.

It is for this reason that I argue that we need roads to be dedicated to pedestrians and cycling. We need those routes to be banned to car drivers.

Elena Colgato argued for a world without cars, but the problem is not cars. The problem is how people drive those cars around pedestrians and cyclists, as well as how few routes are safe for pedestrians to walk along.

As a prime example millions are being spent to redo the motorway exit for Nyon, but nothing is being done to make walking between Nyon and Signy safe for pedestrians. If you want people to walk more, you need to make it safe to walk. If you want people to walk faster, you need to make walking a viable option. My biggest frustration is that walking is not safe between villages and towns.

If people want a world with fewer cars, the countryside needs to be safe for walkers, from all villages to all other villages, along most roads.

And Finally

For me, the goal is not to replace cars with buses and trains, because people would still be unfit. For me the ideal situation is to make walking between villages and towns safe, without needing buses or trains. Buses and trains should be so regular that you can go from A to B every fifteen minutes, rather than once an hour.

If you make it safe for people to walk, and cycle, you encourage them to walk and cycle, and if they walk and cycle their walking pace will increase, which in turn will speed up getting from A to B on foot, and negate the need for buses, which would reduce the carbon footprint of getting around.







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