by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Walking is the most popular fitness activity today, and with the aging population, should continue to attract those who want to maintain youthful vigor. But walking for health and inspiration isn’t a new invention. Here are some quotes from famous walkers you can use as trivia questions for your next walking promotion, incentive program, or door prize drawing (see the answers at the end of the article):


  1. This German philosopher (1844-1900) believed the ideal person would be able to channel passions creatively rather than suppress them. He noted, “... only those thoughts that come by walking have any value.”
  2. This New England writer/naturalist (1817-1862) was associated with transcendentalists and known for his ability to observe and record detail, especially in the wilderness. Believing 4 hours or more of walking each day preserved health and spirits, he commented, “The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise... but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”
  3. Often called the father of the conservation movement in North America, this Scot (1849-1914) was an avid walker, prolific writer, and passionate nature lover. At 29, for example, he walked from Indiana to Florida — 1000 miles — and kept a thorough notebook. He commented that when walking we feed on “... abounding, inexhaustible spiritual beauty bread.”
  4. There’s no mistaking how this popular British author (1812-1870) felt about walking. Known for tales of Victorian life and times, he gives us 2 great pieces of wisdom: “... walk and be happy; walk and be healthy” and “... certain ancients, far gone in years, have staved off infirmities and dissolution by earnest walking — hale fellows, close upon 90, but brisk as boys.”
  5. As our third president and Declaration of Independence author (1743-1826), this walker used the activity to stay calm. He noted, “The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you’re walking, but divert yourself by the objects surrounding you.”
  6. A public official, writer, scientist, and printer (1706-1790), this man of many interests played a major role in the American Revolution. Author of a successful almanac and parts of the Constitution, he also loved to walk. Advice to his son: “There is more exercise in... 1 mile’s walking on foot than 5 on horseback... there is more in walking 1 mile up and down stairs than 5 on a level floor.”
  7. This robust veteran — a Union spy in the Civil War whose first long trek was from Boston to Washington to attend Lincoln’s inauguration — made walking his life. At 29 he walked from Portland, Maine to Chicago, repeated the feat 40 years later, walked from New York to San Francisco (nearly 4000 miles) at age 70, and kept going until age 90 (1929). A sickly child, he: “... began to walk to gain health, and kept on walking for the joy of it and to interest the public in it for health and pleasure.”

1. Friedrich Nietzsche 2. Henry David Thoreau 3. John Muir 4. Charles Dickens 5. Thomas Jefferson 6. Benjamin Franklin 7. Edward P. Weston


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