Recently I had the opportunity to wander around London for a few days, especially for the different subway lines that run through the subsoil of the city like an inextricable tangle. Although I live in a large and cosmopolitan city like Barcelona, one of the things that surprised me most about the city is that pedestrians, in general, they were speeding. At all hours. In all age groups. Even exceeding the speed I developed when I was in a hurry.
You can read with more profusion of details my experience in Five things I can't stand in London (II): the extreme speed of the people.
This characteristic of Londoners acquired macabre dyes when they walked the corridors of the subway, especially the escalators. There people kept running, moving forward, jumping, dribbling, to the point that the accidents on the stairs of the London Underground had led to an awareness campaign for users to stop running.
But To what extent are all these idiosyncratic perceptions of a traveler or a tourist? Is London an exception? Now we walk faster than before?
Accelerating the rhythm of the legs and tongue
According to an analysis carried out in 2007 on pedestrians in 34 cities around the world, the average pedestrian walks almost 4.5 kilometers per hour. It is a considerable speed. Especially if we consider that only ten years ago, it was at a rate 10% lower.
In fact, in cities like Denmark, people even speak 20% faster than ten years ago.
These data contrast, however, with those collected by Bill bryson in his book about the United States Stories of a great country, in which he says that the average American takes the car even to go buy the bread around the corner.
Bryson says that this laziness is nothing strange in the United States, as a researcher at the University of Berkeley concluded that 85% of Americans are essentially sedentary and that 35% are totally. The average American walks less than 120 kilometers a year: just over 2 kilometers per week, just 350 meters a day.
Walking fast is a great way to burn calories, although running is preferable: ss the conclusion reached by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California after a 6-year study with 15,237 people who walk regularly and 32,216 who go running several times a week.
According to research, weight loss and variation in Body Mass Index(BMI) can be up to 90% higher for every hour dedicated to running instead of walking, especially in overweight and obese people, according to the specialized magazine Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Anyway, at least it will be an advantage for my cardiovascular health to return to the adrenalinic London and start running in front of the subway users so as not to be overwhelmed.