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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

115,000 Miles in Your Lifetime

I heard an interesting statistic today that makes you think about waste and it's compounding factor.

How many miles does the average person walk in their lifetime?

Well, it turns out to be about 115,000 miles or more than 4 trips around the world. (You can confirm by a quick search on the Internet.)

Here is the math for those you like to see the rationale for the answer.
The average moderately active person takes about 7500 steps a day. Assuming every day the person walks, an eighty year old person who began walking at one year of age, would have taken 216,262,500 steps in their lifetime. An average person, with an average stride, living to this age of 80 will walk about 108,131 miles.

That is a lot of transportation. Is all of that necessary? Does this add value? Some may argue this is exercise and therefore valued from a healthy perspective. There are a number of ways of maintaining an active and healthy life style. So given that statement you might be more inclined to think at least there is some opportunity for improvement.

Just consider the time involved to walk 115,000 miles:
115,000/3mph (a decent speed) = 38,333.33 hrs
38,333.33 hrs/29,200 days (=365*80 years)= 1.3 hrs/day of walking

Now, that might not seem like a lot at first glance. Consider some of the other things you do with in a day like sleeping and eating for example and this starts to be a larger percentage of your time.

If you commute a relatively long distance you have probably thought about the value added time versus non value added time of your trip. This probably why so many people listen books on tape and other learning media while driving.

Have you considered the walking you do everyday? In lean wasted transportation of all sorts is very much considered. This is a key measurement in spaghetti diagrams for example. In our daily life we often do what we need to do without considering these wastes and whether there could be a better more effective path.


  1. Here is an example from a lean implementation that I took part in. We looked at the route a ground to air missile took in it's manufacturing process and found that it travelled further around the factory than it could travel when it was launched!!
    how to implement lean manufacturing

  2. Fascinating. And I'd wager it's at least doble that for people who work in retail or other service industries.