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Walking
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Walking

Walking is one of the main forms of locomotion. Others include running, crawling, swimming and (for certain animals) flying. The word is derived from the Old English walcan (to roll).

It is distinguished from running by the fact that at any time at least one foot has contact with the ground at all times. This requirement often results in disqualification in competitive walking events, even at the Olympic Games-level.

For humans, walking is the main form of transportation without a vehicle or animal. A pedestrian is a walking person, in particular on a road (if available on the sidewalk/path/pavement).

Many people walk as a hobby, and in our post-industrial age it is often enjoyed as a form of exercise. The types of walking include bush walking, racewalking, hillwalking, volksmarching, Nordic walking and hiking on long-distance paths. In some countries walking as a hobby is known as hiking (the typical North American term), rambling (a somewhat dated British expression, but remaining in use because it is enshrined in the title of the important Ramblers' Association), or tramping (the invariable term in New Zealand). Hiking is a subtype of walking, generally used to mean walking in nature areas on specially designated routes or trails, as opposed to in urban environments; however, hiking can also refer to any long-distance walk. More obscure terms for walking include "to go by Marrow-bone stage", "to ride Shank's pony" or "to go by Walker's bus." Walking in a shopping mall is often called "trolling."

The world's largest registration walking event is the International Nijmegen Four Days Marches. The annual Labor Day walk on Mackinac Bridge draws over 60,000 participants. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge walk annually draws over 50,000 participants. Walks are often organized as charity events with walkers seeking sponsors to raise money for a specific cause. Charity walks range in length from 2 mile or 5 k walks to as far as 50 miles (80 km). The MS Challenge 50 is an example of a 50 mile walk which raises money to fight muscular dystrophy.

In Britain, the Ramblers' Association is the biggest organisation which looks after the interests of walkers. A registered charity, it has 139,000 members.