It seems that people are taking fewer purposeless walks. According to research conducted by the Ramblers Association, around a quarter of all journeys in the UK are still made solely on foot - but just 17 per cent of those surveyed said they ever made trips “just to walk”, and that included dog walkers.
Fewer of us now enjoy going for a stroll where there’s no set destination or particular reason to keep on going.
Instead we’ve reached a point where many people, when forced to put one foot in front of the other, with no one for company, treat it as ‘dead time’. Which is why you see so many people walking while staring at their mobile phones.
There’s an upside to this. For example, I’ve seen more than one distracted individual walk straight into a lamppost while typing out a text message.
Walking alone is supposed to be a time to clear your head. Charles Dickens often found inspiration by taking purposeless walks, going as far as writing a book on the subject - as was his style.
One big winner of this new-found aversion to walking is the audio industry. Sales of high-end headphones have rocketed in recent years, a phenomenon that can’t be explained solely by a rise in bedroom producers keen to become superstar DJs.
With mobiles now doubling up as personal music players, it’s never been easier to plug in headphones when walking down the street, blocking out the world around you.
Beats, a firm owned by American rap star Dr Dre, is one of the most popular headphone brands. So popular, in fact, that Apple is negotiating to buy it for a reported $3.2 billion.
Now that’s a deal you’d be mad to walk away from.
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