Walking 10 miles a day is an easy target on a pack-backing trip – you can take your time and stop for frequent breaks. Have a leisurely lunch break and take in the views. But it’s a lot different when you’re walking for exercise.
It can take up to 3 hours of walking to complete 10 miles a day – that’s a big time commitment. Plus if you’re walking 10 miles without stopping it takes a lot of strength and fitness.
Walking 10 miles every day for a week is my go-to fix when I need to get fit quickly for an ultra race. It works for me because I have a solid background as a runner and walker. For someone fairly new to walking it’s a huge undertaking and carries a lot of injury risk.
How Far Is 10 Miles?
If you prefer the metric system, 10 miles is approximately 16.1 kilometers.
It’s a big deal.
If you decided to walk 10 miles around a 400m athletics track, you’d have to circle the track over 40 times!
As a rough guide, 10 miles is about 20,000 daily steps.
Why Walk 10 Miles A Day?
Maybe you’re just curious about why anyone would do this or maybe you’re seriously thinking about giving 10 miles a day a try. These are some of the reasons for walking 10 miles a day:
#1 You’re Training For a Hiking Trip
It’s normal to cover long distances on a multi-day hiking trip. If you have your eye on one of “The Big Three” – the Pacific Crest Trail, The Appalachian Trail, or the Continental Divide Trail – you could be hiking 20 or even 25 miles every day.
Walking 10 miles a day is a good idea to get in shape for this type of trek. Get the most out of your training by hiking on similar terrain and gradually increasing the weight of your pack. The aim is to mimic the loads you’ll be carrying on the trek.
#2 You’re Trying To Lose Weight
A 10-mile walk every day is a big commitment to your health and aerobic fitness. It can be a great way to lose weight.
Weight loss will depend on so many factors such as how much weight you have to lose, your current fitness level, walking speed, and how much you eat.
It’s a low-impact exercise making it suitable for so many people. Running may be quicker but if you run 10 miles most people wake up the next morning feeling a little stiff and needing an easy training day.
With walking, provided you build up to 10 miles a day slowly, covering ten miles every day is far more doable for the average person.
#3 You’re Training For An Ultra Race
Most ultra runners will spend a lot of time walking during their race. You could say that apart from the top runners, most ultra runners are really fast walkers!
Especially if the races are on trails with a lot of hills.
If you’re training for a long ultra race, walking needs to be part of your skill set.
#4 Getting In Shape Quickly
If I’m coming back from a layoff, walking 10 miles a day for 7 days is my go-to pick-me-up. It’s tough enough to have a big impact on your base fitness but not so hard that you can’t complete the week.
Jumping straight into ten miles of walking a day is only recommended if you have a solid background in running or walking. I find it kick-starts my fitness program. I lose weight and at the end of the week, it’s easier to restart running.
#5 You Enjoy A Challenge!
Some people take up the challenge of walking 10 miles daily for a month or even a year. It’s an amazing fitness journey and a big commitment to long-term health and fitness. You will transform into an athlete!
You can keep a journal, where you write down each day’s mileage and make notes about how you felt during the walk – or even make a daily video. It will be such a motivator to see before and after photos and how your body physically changes over the length of the 10-mile-a-day challenge.
How Many Calories Burned Walking 10 Miles A Day?
Walking 10 miles a day burns a lot of calories. An average person burns approximately 80 to 100 calories per mile walking at a brisk pace, so 10 miles would be about 800 to 1000 calories.
Per mile, it’s almost as much as running for weight loss with the advantage that most people can go further and need less rest between exercise sessions.
Calorie burning depends on your current body weight and how fast you’re walking, and the steepness of the incline – walking up a steep hill can double or even triple your calorie burn.
It’s the huge number of calories you burn daily that makes the walking 10 miles a day challenge so effective for weight loss. If you’re just walking 2 miles a day it’s easy to undo the weight loss benefits by simply eating more and increasing your calorie intake.
At 10 miles a day, you will lose weight.
To get the best results combine walking with eating better, but even if you carry on eating your normal diet without any improvements, you will burn calories and see some weight loss on the scales.
To can a more accurate estimate of weight loss, use my calories burned walking calculator.
Related post: How much walking for weight loss?
How much body weight will I lose walking 10 miles a day?
You lose weight when you burn more calories a day than you consume. This is a calorie deficit and you can create it by exercising more, eating less, or a combination of both.
Ideally, you want your weight loss to be from burning body fat. If you’re just dieting, there’s a high risk of losing muscle mass as well as body fat. You may lose body weight but you won’t be very pleased with the results – weaker muscles, lower fitness levels, and pesky fat in all the wrong places!
Most people want to be stronger and leaner.
If you’re walking 10 miles a day you can expect a weight loss of about 2 pounds per week. That’s based on:
- a calorie deficit of 3500 calories burns one pound of body fat
- walking 10 miles for 7 days burns about 70,000 calories.
Your current body weight, walking pace, incline, metabolism, and how much you eat will all be factors in your weight loss and calories burned.
Fast weight loss
Think losing 2 pounds per week isn’t enough? This isn’t a yo-yo diet where you lose a lot of water weight in the first week and pile the pounds back on when the diet stops. Post-diet long term weight gain is sadly typical with most fad diets.
This is permanent weight loss. Keep the weight off for good with a regular walking routine for weight maintenance at the end of your walking 10 miles a day challenge.
Related post: Why Diets Don’t Work
How Long Does It Take To Walk 10 Miles?
Ten miles is a long walk! Committing to walking 10 miles a day isn’t something you should undertake lightly. If you’re a fast walker, it will still take around 2 hours 30 minutes to walk ten miles at a 4.0 mile per hour pace.
Most people will find this pace too fast. Typical walking speeds for the average person are from 2.5 to 3.5 miles per hour walking on flat easy terrain. That’s between 2 hours 50 mins and 4 hours to walk 10 miles.
As soon as you add hills or walk rougher trails, your typical walking pace will slow drastically.
If you’re hiking, Naismith’s rule remains the best way to calculate hiking speeds for the average walker:
A fit individual can walk roughly 3 miles (4.8 km) in an hour, with an additional hour for every 2,000 feet (610 m) of altitude gained.Naismith’s Rule
First conceived by Scottish mountaineer William Naismith in 1892, it’s still used to estimate hiking pace 130 years later.
Use the following table to find out how long it takes to walk 10 miles at different walking speeds:
|Walking Speed (mph)||Walking Pace (min/mile)||Time to walk 10 miles|
|2.8||21.4||3 hrs 42 min|
|3.0||20.0||3 hrs 20 min|
|3.2||18.8||3 hrs 8 min|
|3.5||17.1||2 hrs 51 min|
|3.8||15.8||2 hrs 38 min|
|4.0||15.0||2 hrs 30 min|
|4.5||13.3||2 hrs 13 min|
Find out more about how long does it take to walk 10 miles.
Physical And Mental Health Benefits Of Walking
Following a walking program is a great way of improving your mental and physical health. Here are just some of the benefits:
- Enhanced cardiovascular health
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes
- Lower blood pressure
- Faster metabolism
- Improved blood sugar regulation
- Increased energy levels
- Helps with weight loss and improves fitness levels
- Improved bone density and stronger muscles
- Reduced stress levels from walking help to improve mental health
A daily walk is one of the easiest ways to get fit. It’s a form of exercise that’s accessible to almost everyone – all you need is a good pair of walking shoes or trainers.
For best results, combine with some weight training. These bodyweight exercises work for both walkers and runners and will help you build the strong legs and core you need to stay injury-free when walking every day.
Is Walking 10 Miles A Day Too Much?
There’s a big difference between walking regularly for overall health and walking ten miles a day.
Nurture your body
When you’re walking longer distances every day you need to think like an athlete. Your walking is in training mode and you need to nurture and look after your body to enable it to walk for several hours a day.
This won’t be easy. There will be days when you’re really tired and getting started on your walking session will be a huge effort.
You’ll be burning far more calories than normal. That could be fine if you have a lot of weight to lose but for others who just want to get fitter and maintain their weight – it can be a challenge to eat enough.
Walking ten miles takes a lot of time out of your day. Fitting in all the other demands on your time such as work and family commitments will be difficult. It’s tempting to sleep less because you’re so busy – just when you should be sleeping more to allow your body time to recover.
If you decide to walk every day, you won’t get any rest days to allow your body time to recover. Walking is a low-impact activity but a lack of rest days can still be hard. It goes against all training advice to omit rest days or easy days from your schedule.
Walking doesn’t have the impact forces to improve bone density as much as any running or jumping activity.
It also won’t do much for your arm muscles unless you try walking with sticks.
Supplement your walking and build muscle mass with short strength training sessions 2 or 3 times a week.
Not recommended for beginners
Ten miles a day is definitely too much if you’re new to walking or any regular form of fitness activity. Start with shorter regular walks first and improve your fitness level before taking up the challenge.
How to get started walking 10 miles a day.
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and try walking 10 miles a day, here are some tips to get started:
#1 Start gradually – don’t jump into it straight away. Begin with shorter distances and build up your stamina over several weeks. Start with a distance that’s within your comfort zone such as walking 5 miles every day or walking an hour a day.
#2 Each week add an extra mile to your walking distance:
- 6 miles a day for week 2,
- 7 miles a day for week 3…
- By week 6 you’ll be walking ten miles a day!
Tips and avoiding the risks.
Building up to walking ten miles a day gradually is the best tip for getting started. Here are some more tips to make your 10 miles a day walking challenge a success:
#1 Invest in supportive walking shoes or trainers.
I prefer to walk in trainers and I use the same trainers for walking and running. Walking shoes can be a lot stiffer and heavier so you need to look for lightweight shoes with enough flexibility for fitness walking. Avoid trainers with a large drop from heel to toe and excessive cushioning. If you’re walking on trails, look for trainers with good traction.
#2 Be organized and plan your walks in advance.
Do some research to find scenic and pleasant routes. You need to know where you’re going and how far.
#3 Treat your body like an athlete.
- Get enough sleep
- Refuel with nutritious food
- Rehydrate – use isotonic drinks in hot weather or if you’re sweating profusely.
- Deal with aches, pains, and niggles. Avoid blisters by treating any sore spots straightaway.
#4 Make sure your walking is healthy.
If you’re putting too much stress on your body or you’re losing too much weight, reduce your daily mileage.
#5 Be aware of mental health conditions.
Sometimes these challenges mask underlying conditions such as anorexia athletica (compulsive exercise disorder). If you think you’re at risk – please seek help.
#5 Add variety.
Instead of always walking the same route at the same speed, you can vary the walking speed, add hills, or split your walks into two or three shorter walks – find different ways to make your walking program more varied. It will help improve your cardiovascular fitness.