maximum walking distance per day

How far can a person walk in a day? ( What is the limit? )

Walking is something which we all should do more of, it is extremely healthy and the best part about it is that its free. Most people barely walk one mile per day, and this will only complicate their health issues furthermore as time passes by.

The furthest a person can walk in a day is between 24-36 miles, this can be easily achieved by walking for 8-12 hours. There are several factors that will determine your own personal maximum walking distance which you can achieve per day, such as the terrain, climate, hydration, physical condition, nutrition, quality of your walking shoes, walking speed and if you are walking during the day or night time.

One of the most important items which will determine how far you can walk is the quality of your walking shoes, my personal recommendation is to get a comfortable one which is also durable, I have been using this shoe for the past several years for especially long walks Click here to check it out on

No matter what kind of SHTF situation you face you will have to do a lot of walking. Most preppers focus on their bug out bags and bug out vehicles, and not even thinking how they will manage on a long journey to the bug out location without a vehicle. If you have read my article Best survivalist movies ( Top 18 ), you should have already noticed a pattern, which is that most people who survive extreme SHTF conditions are on foot.

In many areas of the world not having access to a bug-out vehicle is an actual survival situation, places with harsh conditions such as in the desert or other uninhabited places. No matter what kind of prepper tools or how much food you have, if you are forced to bug out and walk a long distance to your bug out location you will suffer a lot during the journey. Luckily the human body adapts fairly quickly too and with some practice, you will find you can increase your walking distance by a lot only after a couple of weeks.

The maximum walking distance will be different for each person and the environment in which they are traveling. If you live a relatively healthy lifestyle, work out and don’t skip leg day you can probably walk for a lot longer than people who live a sedentary life. However, if you are bugging out with your family your maximum walking distance will be a lot less than if you would walk by yourself.

In this case, you need to take into consideration, what is your family members’ average and maximum walking distance, odds are they will not be able to keep up with you. The world record for longest walking distance has been set by Paul Forthomme, who walked for over 140 miles in a 24 hour period. You probably will not even get close to that number but there is no need to, Paul Forthomme is an athlete and he aimed to set a new world record.

Several sources claim after he finished his walk Paul Forthomme was severely dehydrated and was experiencing a lot of pain due to muscle cramps. If you are planning to walk to your bug out location, the last thing you would want is to be in a bad condition when you arrive there. The average person takes around 6000 steps a day, you might think that this is a lot but the average person travels around 3 miles with 6000 steps. How far can the average person walk in one day? The average person can walk in one day around 30 miles.

If you make a simple calculation of how many miles an average person travels per hour and multiply it with 24 then your average person could in theory walk for around 72 miles. In my opinion, this is an extremely optimistic number, as in most cases people will not be able to alk for more than 8-12 hours, which would make the maximum walking distance for average people to be between 24-36 miles.

How to increase your walking distance

There are a lot of reasons why you should increase your daily walking distance, not only for great health benefits but also to built up endurance for an eventual SHTF situation. Just keep in mind that if you are planning to bug out with your family is that they also should aim to increase their maximum walking distance, as any group of people traveling together will adopt the walking pace of the slowest one in order to not leave him or her behind, this is an imminent SHTF situation can be extremely dangerous.

  • Terrain: One of the biggest hurdles to come across for increasing your daily maximum walking distance is the terrain, walking 20-30 miles a day in an urban area is difficult but in nature where there are no paved roads the 20-30 miles per day walking distance may prove to be difficult to achieve. If you have ever gone hiking you probably know how difficult it is, in this case, you should always take the path of least resistance, imagine yourself being a river which path you would take. If you come across large hills it is easier and more energy efficient to just walk around it than to exhaust yourself climbing it.

maximum walking distance per day

  • Climate: Your best walking distance per day in a nonurban area will be during summertime in a wooded area. But in desert or colder climates your walking distance will be hindered not only by the climate but also by the terrain. In desert environments, you will find it hard to stay cool for a comfortable walk due to the increased temperatures, while in colder climates where snow has settled walking on snow will limit how far you can walk by a lot.

climate for maximum walking distance per day

  • Hydration: No matter in what terrain and climate you are walking trough you will need to hydrate yourself. The daily recommended intake of waters is around 0.5 gallons, however, for longer walks, you will need a lot more water. If your aim is to get as far as possible with walking you should have anything between 1.5-3 gallons of water. Carrying this additional water will put a lot of stress on your body if you are not accustomed to walking while carrying heavy supplies. My recommendation is to take a Lifestraw with you, this way you do not need to carry all that water, for more information, check out my article, Do Lifestraws work? ( Or do they? ).

hydration for maximum walking distance per day

  • Physical condition: Most people live a sedentary lifestyle, spending most of the day either sitting behind a desk or behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you want to see how to fit you are I challenge you to walk for 3 hours straight, you might find that this fairly short walk will physically exhaust you. You will need to start exercising regularly if you want to increase your daily maximum walking distance. How far can a human walk without stopping? The average human can walk between 4-6 miles without stopping.

hydration for maximum walking distance per day

  • Nutrition: For some reason, a lot of people tend to overlook the importance of nutrition and how it affects how far a person can walk. You have probably seen a lot of athletes drinking some gel type energy bar, usually, these are packed with vitamins and minerals in order to replenish the minerals and vitamins which have been lost by sweating. My recommendation when aiming for as a long walk as possible is to eat small meals during the walk rather than one large one, this way the walking experience will be a lot less harsh.

nutrition for maximum walking distance per day

  • Walking shoes: You will need a good quality of hiking boots if you are walking in nature if you are in a desert environment make sure that the boots have at least some kind of holes in it for increased ventilation so your feet won’t get that sweaty. For walking during wintertime or in cold environments make sure that your boots are a size larger than what you need, this way you can use double layers of socks for extra insulation. If you are in colder climates do not tighten the shoelaces as hard as possible, this will limit the blood flow to your feet and your feet will get cold much faster, in some cases, people will not even notice if they have frostbite already affecting their feet. For urban areas, any good quality running shoe will do.

walking shoes for maximum walking distance per day

  • Night and day: If you have ever watched a survivalist movie which is played out in a desert environment you probably noticed that most survivors choose to walk during the night and sleep during the day. This is a good idea during summertime and if you are in an arid environment, just be careful as during night time you will increase your chances of injuring yourself and of even getting lost due to the limited visibility.

walking during the night for maximum walking distance per day

  • Walking speed: If you want to increase your maximum walking distance one of the best ways is to increase your walking speed. Everybody’s walking speed is different and you will have to find your own pace, not too fast and not to slow. If your walking speed is faster than with which you are comfortable you will get exhausted fairly quickly, on the opposite side if your walking speed is too slow than you will make progress a lot slower. The average walking speed for untrained people is around 2.5-3 miles.

Average walking distance per hour

The average walking distance per hour is around 3 miles, for healthy people. Of course, this number will fluctuate a lot as the studies mainly focus on people walking in urban areas. The hourly walking distance in nature is around 1.5-2 miles, depending on how difficult the terrain is. In my recent article Famous survivalists ( Top 22 ), there have been several people who survived extreme SHTF scenarios and had to walk fur hundreds or even thousands of miles to safety.

In the above article, you will also find people who due to difficulties in crossing the terrain had an extremely low maximum walking distance, in one case a survivor made a 10-mile hike in 4 days, not hours but days.

Average walking distance per hour

Average walking distance per hour for adults

The average walking distance per hour for adults is around 3 miles, this mostly depends on their physical fitness. If you spend most of the day in an office sitting down and not doing any exercise you could still make achieve the 3 miles per hour. However, if you are taking care of yourself, eat clean and exercise you can increase your average walking distance which you can make in an hour.

People who are in a hurry, and if their physical condition allows it they can have an average walking distance per hour of around 4.5 miles. Although they will probably not be able to maintain this high average walking distance per hour for several hours due to fatigue.

Average walking distance per hour for children

The average walking distance per hour for children will mostly depend on their age and height. The smaller the child the smaller steps it makes and only a couple of years of a difference between children would have a drastic increase in their average walking distance per hour. For children between 4-12, the average walking distance can be anywhere from 0.5-1.5 miles, while children above 12 can almost match the average walking distance for adults and it is around 2-3 miles per hour.

Average walking distance per hour for the elderly

There a lot of factors to take into consideration here, their age, terrain, their physical condition. Due to these factors, the average walking distance per hour for the elderly can fluctuate from anything between 0.5-3 miles.

Walking 20 miles a day

This is a relatively new trend popped up in a lot of fitness and health websites and forums. Walking 20 miles a day has a lot of health benefits, although one of the biggest drawbacks is it is extremely time-consuming. As the average person walks 3 miles per hour, if you divide 20 miles with 3 you will find that it will take the average person around 6.66 hours of walking every day to achieve the 20 miles.

The only persons I know who can possibly have time for this are athletes which by walking 20 miles every day increase their endurance. Depending on a person’s height and weight on average they can burn around 100 calories per mile, in total a person could burn around 2000 calories every day if they walk 20 miles per day. Generally speaking, if you are not used to these long walks you will get results rather quickly, and after a few months, the daily 20-mile walk will almost be effortless.

Generally speaking, most marathon runners do walk for 20-30 miles every day as part of their exercise, while people in the US military walk around 30 miles a day. The big difference is that the people in the US military have several pounds of equipment with which they do the walk, and if you have ever hiked for more than 10 miles with a heavy backpack you already know that it is brutal for the untrained ones.

Walking 20 miles a day

Recommended walking distance per day

The recommended walking distance around 10 000 steps which are around 5 miles and it can be achieved by walking for 1-2 hours every day. The truth is that most people do not even come close to this number as in general, the average person makes around 5000 steps every day. Due to most people’s sedentary lifestyles, they will never achieve the recommended walking distance per day if they do not make an actual effort to reach this goal. How many miles should I walk a day to stay healthy? Generally speaking, you should walk around 5 miles per day to stay healthy.

Average walking distance for a sedentary lifestyle

Generally speaking, a sedentary lifestyle is where the person isn’t doing any physical exercises and they spend all day long sitting on an office chair or in a vehicle. On average, a sedentary lifestyle person will only walk for 1-2 miles every day, in some extreme cases even lower than 1 mile per day. You might think that most of these people are just lazy, while this might be true for most people it isn’t for everybody living a sedentary lifestyle.

Most people who live a sedentary lifestyle do not even notice it until it is too late and they already have some kind of medical condition. Most of these people can not achieve the recommended walking distance per day due to their job or health issue. People who work in the transportation field do not have the chance to walk across long distances. How many miles does the average person walk in a year? The average person walks around 1200-1600 miles per year.

Average walking distance for an active lifestyle

Generally speaking, people who live a more active lifestyle, including working out and eating relatively healthy tend to achieve on average around 4-6 miles of walking distance every day. They can achieve this either because their job requires them to walk this distance or they make a conscious effort into achieving this goal. Brisk walks after lunch can easily achieve the recommended daily walking distance, but as most people do not have the time and luxury for these walks they tend to improvise.

In this case, they either walk to and from their work if the distance is short or they use walking exercises in the gym. In some cases, if they work in a tall building instead of using the elevators they choose to use the stairs, and if you have to walk up the stairs every day for a half an hour you can easily achieve the recommended walking distance benefits even without actually walking 5 miles every day.

Average walking distance for a highly active lifestyle

Usually, people who tend to have a highly active lifestyle they generally walk around 6-12 miles every day. Some people might even walk for 30 miles every day as part of their job, these are either athletes, park rangers or military personnel. People who also work long hours outdoors generally tend to achieve the recommended daily walking distance in a relatively short amount of time, in most cases without them even noticing as it is just another day on the job.

Recommended walking distance per day

In conclusion

The average person can walk between 24-36 miles, and with average hours walked of 8-12. The true maximum walking distance for each person will be different and it will also depend on the terrain, local climate, physical fitness, hydration level, energy efficiency, walking speed and if you are walking in an urban or in a rural environment.

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