Why These Famous People Walk

I have been posting, blogging, tweeting and pinning about walking a lot. I do this because I truly care about your health and happiness. Why don’t most people walk regularly, I wonder? I am just an average person who reads a lot of sciencey stuff, so of course they don’t take my word for it. But, then I thought, perhaps those people are more likely to believe famous people and celebrities?

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There are many reasons to start walking more in our lives. Most of us have heard about the benefits of walking that include exercise, fitness and extending our lives.  But walking can also help us expand our creativity, clear our heads, solve problems and even find the purpose in life.  It is a fantastic way to explore the world, even if it is just around our own neighborhood.  Let’s look at why some famous walkers walk.

Walk to Exercise & Stay Fit

It is no secret that walking is a great way to exercise and stay fit.

Madonna does some pretty high intensity workouts, including walking stairs for cardio.  But on her rest days, she doesn’t truly rest. Instead, she will do lower intensity walks to exercise. 

Julia Robert’s trainer has her doing walking workouts to stay fit. 

And both Sheryl Crow and Susanne Sommers have told reporters that they love to hike the trails near their homes. 

Walk for Transportation Around Town

Brooke Shields claims she doesn’t exercise daily.  Instead she feels she gets plenty of exercise walking around New York, where she lives.  She will even take her children on walks to encourage them to get some exercise. 

Walk to Find Purpose in Life

All truly great things are conceived by walking.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche –

Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche was convinced that walking was necessary for his writings.  He walked everyday at 11:00 am for at least 2 hours with his notebook in hand.  Some say he wrote The Wanderer and His Shadow entirely while walking, sometimes up to 8 hours per day.

Walk to Solve Problems

He called it his “thinking path”.  Charles Darwin would walk a gravel & sand trail with his dog, Polly, everyday near his house.  He would kick stones along the path as he mulled over his research data.  The more difficult the problem, the more stones were overturned. He would grade the level of problem by how many stones he overturned.

During these walks, he pondered his theories of evolution and natural selection.  I wonder how many stones he kicked to come up with the Theory of Evolution? He walked daily well into his 60s in sunshine or rain, even with deteriorating health. 

Steve Jobs also walked to solve problems.  He could often be seen out walking around Palo Alta of Silicon Valley.  He did this for exercise, but also to clear his head.  Steve Jobs would often hold walking meetings to keep everyone focused, productive and keep a free-flow of ideas going. 

Walking certainly helped to make Apple one of the most innovative and largest tech company in the world, earning almost $750 billion in 2019.

Walk to Spark Creativity

According to a study by researchers at Standford University, walking can increase creativity by an average of 60%, and as high as 81% in some cases.

Although their mental health was questioned at the time, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven both believed they needed to walk to foster their creativity and compose their music. 

Pyotr Tchaikovsky would walk for 2 hours everyday, even in severe weather, before he sat down to compose.  He was obsessed and superstitious with his routine.  His brother wrote that Pyotr was convinced that if he returned 5 minutes shy of 2 hours, that he believed he would become ill. 

Ludwig van Beethoven was equally obsessed with walking, often walking 3 or 4 hours in the afternoon, regardless of the weather.  He would take a notebook along with him.  His Symphony No. 6 was composed during these long walks through the woods of Vienna.  I listened to this music as I wrote this post. It is beautiful.

You don’t need to go on tremendously long walks to boost creativity.  Research suggests that a 5 to 15 minute walk should do the trick nicely. 

Walk to Explore the World Around You

If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish.”

– Charles Dickens –

Charles Dickens walked the streets of London, often during the night when he couldn’t sleep, to gather data for his books. During his 20 – 30-mile-long speed walks, he mapped out the scenes of his tales.  He created his characters, such as Oliver Twist and Ebenezer Scrooge, based on the people he encountered on his roamings. 

Walk during Business Meetings

Steve Jobs wasn’t the only one to hold walking meetings. Aristotle, the ancient philosopher was said to teach his students during long walks.  

Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook CEO, is also famous for his walking meetings.  Zuckerburg is known to interview potential employees by surprising them with a walk around Palo Alto.  Unsuspecting interviewees would hike through a wooded area near Standford University to wind up onto a lookout over Silicon Valley.  Here Zuckerberg would point out all the large tech companies and Facebook Headquarters, declaring that Facebook would soon be the largest company in the valley.   

Walk to De-stress & Unwind

I feel like my mind is a little quieter when I exercise.”

– Kelly Ripa –

Actress and talk show host Kelly Ripa walks and jogs to feel better after a stressful day. She claims that exercise is her “antidote for everything”. 

She is right. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology  suggests that walking does boost our mood and is linked to a higher psychological well-being.

Walk to Spend Time with Family and Friends

Natalie Portman likes to hike with her children.  She doesn’t want to waste time at the gym when she could spend her valuable time walking with family and friends.  I like the way she thinks!

So are you convinced yet?

There are so many more famous people that walk for both physical and mental health. Albert Einstein, Henry David Thoreau, Heidi Klum, William Wordsworth, Emily Ratajkowski, John Muir, Ashlee Simpson and so many more. It is impossible to list them all here.

So, get out there an walk more. Put on some comfortable walking shoes, find a trail out in the woods, listen to some Beethoven, Madonna, Tchaikovsky or Sheryl Crow, and go for a long walk. Doesn’t that sound just perfect?

For tips on how to get started with walking and hiking, check out the Pink Ribbon Runner Walking Archives.

I also have a free 12 week beginners Walking Plan in the Pink Ribbon Runner Template Library that you can download and print out. Click here and subscribe for access.

Enjoy your walk!


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  1. Going on brisk walks is one of my favourite forms of exercise. It’s something I could do all afternoon. 🙂

    And you’re right, it’s a wonderful way to destress.

  2. I love this! Who knew that Nietzsche and Madonna have something in common? and as a walker myself I love hearing that I’m in such illustrious company!

  3. I love walking and getting fresh air! It is so good for the mind and soul. That is so cool how Charles Dickens created characters based on people he saw during his walks! Nature is awesome!

  4. Nice post… I would have never guessed that walking was the commonality between all these great-minded and talented individuals. I know I need to walk, I know I SHOULD walk… I just need to stop putting it off. Thanks for the motivation 🙂

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