General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Does each person have a natural walking pace?

Asked by LostInParadise (31487points) June 27th, 2021
20 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

If I go hiking on my own, there seems to be a natural pace that I walk at. It is a little faster than I walk in my home or in a city. I was thinking that the legs might act like pendulums, but I know it is more complicated than that. If you bend your elbows, you will walk faster.

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stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course that is true. What is equally true, is that you can easily adjust that pace to suit yourself. But if the question is about multitasking—walking and chewing gum, surely we all can do it.

Zaku's avatar

I have several paces that feel natural, depending on the situation or my mood.

I often want to walk slower than some people, because I like to spend time to notice and appreciate details and small things, or just be with a place, or talk to a cat or a plant or watch bugs, appreciate architecture, see funny things, reflect on ideas, etc.

But sometimes I walk faster than most people, if I’m in a hurry or enjoying striding about, and I have longer legs than most.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Can’t say. If I’m in a hurry I hustle, if I’m not I’ll mosey. Depends on where I am and what I’m doing.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes. In my youth (up to around 30–35) I was a very fast walkr – long legs and just a rapid gait.

As I aged, in particular after some leg issues I had a while ago, my regular walking speed slowed significantly. I am steady and regular at the lower speed, but it isn’t what it used to be,

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes. There are techniques that can be used to identify a particular individual using their gait.
Rochester Institute of Technology has been experimenting with this for years while observing students walk across the quad.

Biometric identification using gait analysis

ucancallme_Al's avatar

I purposely slow my pace to an almost crawl when out walking my dog.
This is so I can enjoy our hikes to the max, phone stays at home too, zero interruptions equals bliss!

sorry's avatar

@LuckyGuy I like that idea about someone’s walk is so unique to them that it can be used to identify them. Fascinating stuff and it makes a great deal of sense when you think about it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLoon Fortunately, my wife is snoring. Usually this sort of lecherous grin on my face draws her instant attention and the confiscation of the phone or ipod.

LostInParadise's avatar

@LuckyGuy , I did not realize that so many factors influence how we walk. The article did say that a person’s height influences how fast they walk, but they did not say how big a factor it is.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@LostInParadise The terrain makes a difference too. As does the weather. If there is a long, slight incline (like on the campus) they can observe how much the person slows down and make some inferences as to the walker’s state of health.
They effectively stack all the strides and movements together to get an average with a standard deviation. Then they look at changes from that average.
There is much research going on in the biometric fields thanks to DARPA, DHS, and others. Many grad students will have it on their resumes.
“Hey! I think Walker #234 has been working out.” “It looks like Walker #123 is carrying something heavy in his backpack – again.” “Walker #324 has some good gossip.”

ragingloli's avatar

I think it is less natural and more conditioned.
For example, I used to basically speedwalk to school back in the day, for about 1km.
That is in effect my normal walking speed now, and everyone else seems slow.

Smashley's avatar

There was an interesting RadioLab where they suggested people’s walking and talking pace was related to the population density where they lived. I’d assume a person’s pace is something they habituate to. It becomes their natural state, but it can be changed over time.

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zenvelo's avatar

I have been criticized for the uniformity of my pace. I go at the same pace whether on level ground, up hill or down hill. My pace is just over 3 mph when unburdened; 2¾ mph when backpacking at altitude..

LostInParadise's avatar

3 mph is a brisk walk.

zenvelo's avatar

^^^^^. @LostInParadise One man’s brisk walk is another’s stroll.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And another’s death march.

LostInParadise's avatar

@zenvelo , The defining characteristic of a brisk walk is that you can carry on a conversation, but can’t sing/

zenvelo's avatar

@LostInParadise You have never heard me sing. Using your definition, some would say I have brisk sit.

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