What is Walking?
Walking (also known as ambulation) is one of the main gaits of locomotion among legged animals, and is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step. The word walk is descended from the Old English wealcan "to roll". In humans and other bipeds, walking is generally distinguished from running in that only one foot at a time leaves contact with the ground and there is a period of double-support.
In contrast, running begins when both feet are off the ground with each step. This distinction has the status of a formal requirement in competitive walking events. The most effective method to distinguish walking from running is to measure the height of a person's center of mass using motion capture or a force plate at midstance. During walking, the center of mass reaches a maximum height at midstance while during running, it is at a minimum.
Although walking speeds can vary greatly depending on factors such as height, weight, age, terrain, surface, load, culture, effort, and fitness, the average human walking speed is about 5.0 kilometres per hour (km/h), or about 3.1 miles per hour (mph). Specific studies have found pedestrian walking speeds ranging from 4.51 kilometres per hour (2.80 mph) to 4.75 kilometres per hour (2.95 mph) for older individuals and from 5.32 kilometres per hour (3.31 mph) to 5.43 kilometres per hour (3.37 mph) for younger individuals; a brisk walking speed can be around 6.5 kilometres per hour (4.0 mph). Champion racewalkers can average more than 14 kilometres per hour (8.7 mph) over a distance of 20 kilometres (12 mi). An average human child achieves independent walking ability around 11 months old.