You might surmise when you're walking outside in the cold, you're going to want to get somewhere warmer as fast as you can.
A new study confirms the thought, showing that both men and women do indeed instinctively walk faster in the winter chill than when taking a stroll on a warm summer day.
The study, published in Scientific Reports in June, used data from over 1,000 volunteers who agreed to allow their cell phone to track their walking parameters in Japan over an 18-month period from late 2016 to early 2018.
The results show both men and women averaged taking about three steps more per minute in the winter months than in the summer months, despite taking roughly the same length of step.
The data showed the walking speed bumped up a bit in winter as well, increasing to 1.38 meters/second (3.1 mph) versus 1.35 m/s (3.0 mph) average summertime strolls. For women, the wintertime walking speed increased to about 1.29 m/s (2.93 mph) versus 1.26 m/s (2.85 mph) in the summer.
The study's authors noted that shivering is a natural body reaction in cold temperatures to create heat, "and is likely to share central pattern generators in the nervous system required for individuals to walk with a constant rhythm."
They go on to say they assume this reaction to cold temperatures can affect the seasonal fluctuation of walking cadence.