• 41% accept that they don’t feel that they walk enough each day.
  • One-third said they would skip a short flight of stairs, and rather take an escalator to the floor.

The ‘path of least resistance’ is described in scientific circles as ‘the physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion by a given object or entity, among a set of alternative paths.’ Normally used to describe the path of say water or electricity, when stripped down of its scientific jargon and applied to humans, it can be summarized in two words: we’re lazy.

Indeed, a study of 3,394 respondents by BarBend.com, the world’s leading strength training resource and news outlet, appears to confirm this proposition – that we are willing to take the easiest route to get somewhere, the path of least resistance. They discovered that, if given a binary choice, almost 1 in 3 (30%) Marylanders admit they’d rather drive, than walk to a destination that’s a mere 5-minute walk away. This compares to a national average of 32%.

Infographic showing results across America

Aside from the fact that walking has multiple health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, alleviating stress and improving sleep quality, it can also provide a perfect opportunity to clear your head in the midst of a busy lifestyle. Not to mention that choosing to walk saves on gas costs and reduces harmful car engine emissions into the environment.

The research also uncovered other surprising results. Despite so many admitting they would drive instead of walk to get somewhere, 41% accept that they don’t feel that they walk enough each day.

In fact, when quizzed about the number of steps they walk each day, it was found that the average respondent walks around 3,167 steps per day. Men tended to walk more, clocking on an average of 3,789 steps per day; as compared to 2,902 steps for women.

However, these numbers are likely dependent on external factors such as the weather, as the majority of respondents said once the temperature drops to 32°F, there’s little chance of them walking anywhere. Here is a breakdown of temperatures that people are unwilling to walk in:

  • 32°F – 60%
  • 36.5°F – 8%
  • 41°F – 6%
  • 45.5°F – 11%
  • 50°F – 7%
  • 54.5°F – 2%
  • 59°F – 8%

Finally, when presented with another binary choice, 31% respondents said they would skip a short flight of stairs, and rather take an escalator to the floor they need to be. Moreover, the maximum distance people would walk up instead of taking the elevator was three flights of stairs.

‘It’s not always easy to fit exercise into our busy schedules.’ says Max Whiteside from BarBend.com. ‘Walking somewhere instead of driving is good way to fit in more active time into our days. It’s great for our physical and mental health, and gets us outdoors and breathing fresh air.’

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