Are you interested in finding out how many miles you can log on your daily walks? While there’s no default answer (the miles you can walk in a day greatly vary from person to person), we can definitely provide some insight. In this instance, the average you can walk refers to the distance you can walk without having to push yourself too hard.
No Two People are the Same
The amount of miles that you can walk in a single day needs to be based on the capability from the perspective of consistency. What this means is that the distance needs to be possible every day, and not just as a one-off. Although someone may be able to walk 18 miles in a day, if it takes them days to recover from the event, this is not the average and should not be considered as such. Several factors need to be taken into consideration, which includes your endurance levels, any injuries you have sustained in the past, stride length, and age.
The Best Walkers around the Globe
There is a fine line between running and walking; the two are distinct and place a cap on the maximum miles one person can realistically walk in a day. Once you run, the pace increases significantly. When this speed is increased to marathon speed, it then becomes possible for an athlete to cover incredibly vast distances (such as 100 miles in just twelve hours). There are very few walkers that can walk such a long distance in 24 hours, and the completion of such a range as an average is just out of the question.
There are, of course, some speed walkers such as Tom Bosworth that can cover the distance of a mile at incredible speeds. Tom, a British walker, set the world record at just 5:31.08 to cover one mile. While this is an incredible and impressive record (and one that will take a very long time to beat), it is certainly not representative of the average person. Even Tom Bosworth himself can’t keep up his own pace over more than a few miles. If he were to walk many consecutive miles, his speed would decrease considerably (although it would still be well above that of the average person).
The Importance of Consistency
Consistency is crucial when working out the average miles you can walk in one day. The most capable of walkers are those that walk every day. This doesn’t mean you need to go out power walking every day. Many people already walk as part of their daily routine (perhaps they don’t own a car and avoid using public transport to get to where they need to go).
A perfect example is one of a cattle herder. They may walk up to ten miles each day (if not more), across the Andes Mountains in South America without even thinking twice about it. The process of walking is automatic, and they simply do it at the pace of the cattle. This, of course, is a representation of one particular group of people.
In terms of the longest distance ever walked in one day, many people have covered distances of 100 miles or more. As previously mentioned, the average individual won’t cover such a long distance, but it’s still a fascinating statistic nonetheless.
Thru-hiking, or through-hiking, means to hike an established end-to-end hiking trail (or long-distance trail) with continuous footsteps in one direction. A good benchmark for those who are curious about their full daily walking capabilities can be taken from hikers attempting the Continental Divide trails, the Pacific Crest, or the Appalachian. All of these trails have challenging terrain and are incredibly strenuous. An average walker who is completing any one of the three big trails we just mentioned will do so at an average pace of between 8 and 10 miles a day. Some will, however, push themselves to the limit and cover 12 or even 16 miles a day (this data is taken directly from TrailQuest). These figures include both high and low days; on some days, the hiker may cover more than 20 miles; on other days, it will be a lot less. It all depends on the individual and the critical elements the hiker has available such as kit, food, and water supplies.
Using a thru-hiker as a point of reference is productive, as it demonstrates that many individuals are very capable of walking more than ten miles a day on average. They are not always walking each mile consecutively, however, as the hiker is likely completing their ten miles across the whole length of the day. A hiker will often walk a morning session and then rest before walking an afternoon session.
Walking Distance as Exercise
Walking is an excellent form of exercise and is available to the vast majority of the public. The one thing that limits how many miles someone can walk in a day is usually the amount of time they have. When you cover reasonable distances regularly, it requires a few hours each day, and time tends to add up quickly. On the other hand, a high-intensity and short walk can elevate your heart rate and give you the results you need in just one hour each day (or even less).
Walking is an excellent form of low-intensity exercise that burns calories, especially when it is incorporated in an exercise regime that contains other broader elements. Depending on your pace, you could cover anywhere between two and ten miles when you walk for between one and four hours. When you take a break and walk for two separate sessions daily, this is a great way to cover more miles. The break will offer some relief to your joints and help to leave you feeling refreshed/ready for that second session.
When you dedicate time to walking a few days each week, it will allow you to complete longer workout sessions. Short and high-intensity workout sessions are better saved for days when you have less time to exercise. If you manage to walk 10,000 steps a day, this will be a distance of just under 5 miles (depending on the length of your stride). 10,000 steps are the benchmark figure used for the minimum amount of steps someone should try to walk each day.
Extra, Unintended Miles
The beauty of walking is that it typically happens throughout the day, across many situations. Walking is a natural process, and the number of miles you cover in one day will often be higher than those you record while exercising. If you want to know how many extra miles you are walking each day, a fitness tracker is an excellent way to do so. The number of steps you cover will increase naturally across the entire day from the morning through to the evening.
There are many times during the day when you may walk unintentionally, such as walking around the workplace, going to the food store, or even just coffee while on a break. Merely completing your daily tasks in the workplace can account for thousands of steps taken each day. Keep in mind that if your job is sedentary, it will significantly reduce the average amount of steps you take each day; an article on the subject was published by the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism Journal in November 2012. The difference in steps walked during the day of someone who works outside vs inside can be staggering.
The good news is that it is possible to increase the number of incidental steps you can take in one day by making some simple changes to your lifestyle. When you regularly move around, you will increase the number of miles you cover as well as improve your general health. These unintended miles can be walked as you multitask, combining your life functions with basic exercise needs.
How to Naturally Increase Distance
It’s easy to increase your distance and walking abilities with the right routine (even without having a dedicated exercise regime). By shifting different aspects of your lifestyle around, you can quickly discover what’s most effective. Wearing a tracker is recommended so that you can efficiently measure change and progress. When you increase the number of steps you walk each day, you will also burn more calories, which means even more fitness benefits.
One of the simplest ways to walk more is to walk to work instead of driving or taking public transport. This is convenient when your work is a reasonable distance from home, and you have a clear path to do so (let’s not test our luck on the freeways just yet). You can pack everything you need into a comfortable backpack and set off for work on foot. Alternatively, you could always drive to work with a bag full of your essentials (that you generally leave in your car each day) and leave whatever you can in a safe place.
Try walking around on your lunch break to increase your steps further, and take the stairs rather than the elevator. Run errands on foot, and make simple changes to ensure you walk a minimum of 10,000 steps each day. 10,000 steps are the recommended minimum, so anything above that is a bonus!