Why aren’t more men walking?
Posted by Sue
Now that I have a Fitbit, I’ve been going for frequent evening walks. Something occurred to me a few days ago: I hardly ever see men, alone, going for walks.
In my suburban neighborhood, I often see women walking, just like me, briskly swinging their arms, wires dangling from their ears. I also see couples (usually elderly) walking; men walking their dogs; and sometimes pushing a stroller or carefully following a youngster on skates or a scooter.
But whenever I see men out on the streets unaccompanied by a woman, kids or dog, they are almost always jogging, running or cycling, and they look as if they’ve been jogging/running/cycling for ages, or training for some event. Walkers, meanwhile, come in all shapes and ages, from teenage girls in high-school athletic uniforms to older ladies in sweats.
A Google image search for fitness walkers seems to (unscientifically) confirm the gender imbalance in walking. Take this photo, from the website of Leslie Sansone, queen of “at-home walking” exercise DVDs. Where’s Waldo? I’ve seen better male-female ratios at PTA meetings.
Even boxing legend George Foreman tried marketing a set of walking DVDs, which stayed in print for less time than it takes to Foreman-grill a steak. Apparently the masses of guys who bought George’s grills preferred to crash in front of the TV apres-bacon cheeseburger rather than “Walk It Off With George“.
Do men really view walking as “women’s exercise”? Something they’ll only do on a treadmill in the gym, or if their wives lock the door and drag them down the street? Doctors really need to take this into consideration before telling their out-of-shape male patients to “just go for a walk”. They may have better luck telling them to go Zumba.