Benefits of Walking 6 Miles a Day

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If you’ve started walking daily for exercise, you’re already on the right track to improved health and fitness. Once you’ve been walking for a while, you might want to work up to walking longer distances.

It’ll take a bit more time, but the physical, mental, and health benefits are amazing. Your first milestone will probably be 3 miles. But what if you can double that? Walking 6 miles a day is even better than walking 3 miles daily!

Here’s what you can expect if you can work up to 6 miles a day, plus some tips to get started.

How Far Is 6 Miles?

6 miles is just shy of 10 kilometers—9.65 kilometers, to be more accurate. It’s about the equivalent of a 10k race.

To put it into an easier-to-imagine perspective, four laps around a standard track is about a mile. So you’d need to walk 24 laps around the track to reach 6 miles!

If you’ve never walked before, you’ll probably aim for 3 miles to begin. Then, you can work your way up to 5 miles, and then up to 6 miles if you can.

How Long Does It Take To Walk 6 Miles?

This depends on how fast you’re walking, but it can take anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours at a moderate pace to get through a 6-mile walk.

If you’re walking at a relaxed pace of 3 miles per hour, you can expect to finish a 6-mile walk in 2 hours. A more brisk 4 miles per hour—when maintained throughout the entire walk—will have you finishing up in around 90 minutes.

Remember it can be hard to maintain the same pace from start to finish! You’re likely to slow down as you begin to tire, so you may have to add time to these estimates to make it more realistic.

How Many Steps Are in 6 Miles?

The exact number will differ for everyone, based on height and stride length. On average, people walk between 2,000 and 2,500 steps per mile.

Shorter people take more steps, while taller people take slightly fewer for the same distance.

So, you can expect to walk between 12,000 and 15,000 steps in a 6-mile walk. Some days it may be a little less, and some days may be more. But you’ll definitely get your required steps in for the day!

Can You Lose Weight by Walking 6 Miles a Day?

You can! The trick to losing weight by walking 6 miles daily is managing your calorie intake. As long as you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning on a daily basis, you can expect weight loss over time.

Remember, you would need to calculate this according to your daily total of calories burned, not just those during exercise. You can calculate your total daily energy expenditure here so that you can make better nutrition choices!

How Many Calories Can You Burn Walking 6 Miles a Day?

Calories burned changes from person to person. It depends on things like your fitness level, your pace, and your body weight.

But one thing doesn’t change—one of the biggest benefits of walking 6 miles a day is a great calorie burn!

Here’s a quick estimate based on studies done by Harvard Health. According to their research, here’s what you can expect to burn in 30 minutes of walking at 4 miles per hour based on your weight:

  • 125 pounds: 135 calories
  • 155 pounds: 175 calories
  • 185 pounds: 189 calories

At a pace of 4 miles per hour, you should finish a 6-mile walk in 90 minutes. This means this is the final total of calories burned if we go by the above numbers:

  • 125 pounds: 405 calories
  • 155 pounds: 525 calories
  • 185 pounds: 555 calories

That’s a fair few calories for a brisk walk! Remember that if you’re walking at a slower pace, you’ll take longer to hit the 6-mile mark, so you’ll probably end up burning a similar amount of calories in the end.

What Are the Benefits of Walking 6 Miles a Day?

The benefits of walking 6 miles a day are many. It’s very worth fitting a walk into your daily routine just for the health boost you get out of it! Here’s what you can expect:

  • Improved cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure: Your heart and lungs work harder and get stronger when you do exercise like walking. This helps to reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Better digestion: You can expect fewer digestive issues between improved circulation bringing blood to the stomach for digestion and hormones released during exercise.
  • More strength and endurance: Your muscles will get used to a different level of exercise and become stronger and able to handle more activity.
  • Improved bone and joint health: Walking is a weight-bearing exercise which helps to improve bone density. It also increases the circulation of both nutrient-rich blood and synovial fluid in the joints.
  • Better mental health: The release of endorphins during exercise can help to lower anxiety, counteract stress hormones, and improve your mood. Bonus points if you walk in nature, but even walking on a treadmill helps!
  • Weight loss/maintenance: Walking 6 miles daily is an excellent distance to help you lose weight safely and quickly.
  • Improved immunity: As your body, cardiovascular system, and digestive system becomes stronger and work more smoothly, your immune system gets stronger too. This means less chance of getting sick, as well as reduced risk of things like diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
  • Better quality sleep: Great exercise makes for a great night’s sleep! Between the muscle exercise and the endorphins, you’ll get better sleep, and your body will heal better during your sleep too.

Tips for Getting Started With a Walking Routine

Ready to start walking for better health? Here are our top tips for getting started off on the right foot!

Set a Goal and Create a Plan

Setting a goal upfront is a great idea, so you have a purpose for your walking. If you’ve got some extra weight to shed, that’s a great goal—lose X pounds. If not, you could set a goal like “Walk every day for a month” or “Walk 120 miles a month”.

Having a goal is an excellent way to help you track progress. Walking without a purpose isn’t necessarily bad, but it makes it harder to stay motivated and track progress.

Once you know your goal, we recommend creating a plan. Now you know how many calories you’re likely to burn, you can figure out when you’ll reach your goal weight and create a schedule based on that.

Or, if you want to walk 120 miles in a month, you’ll need to walk 6 miles for 20 days to achieve that goal. That also allows you time for rest days, which is a good way to start. You can choose your 20 days on a calendar to know exactly when you’re walking and how far.

Create a Support System

If you’re not keen to walk alone, see if you can find a friend or family member to walk with you for support and camaraderie. Even if you are walking alone, try to build up a support system around you who can encourage you and keep you motivated and accountable.

This could be your family, friends, or even an online group who have your best interests at heart. Find the place you feel the most supported!

Choose the Right Shoes

Even though walking is lower-impact than running, you still need to choose the right shoes for the best experience. The first step is figuring out if you have a neutral foot or if you overpronate.

From there, you can choose the right shoe for you—a neutral shoe for a neutral foot or a stability shoe for an overpronating foot.

Once you know what category to shop in, you can look within those shoes for something that has enough cushioning and comfort for you.

Also, if you’re walking on the road, choose a road shoe. If you’re walking on trails, choose a trail shoe, which has a more robust and protective outsole. On the other hand, if you’re walking on a treadmill, you can wear whatever is comfortable for you.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Wear something soft against the skin and comfortable. Your clothing should not be restrictive and allow you to move through your full range of motion easily and without pain or limitation.

Avoid cotton clothing if possible because cotton retains water. If the weather is slightly warm, you’ll find that your walks end up uncomfortably damp, possibly with extra chafing!

Pick Your Routes

It’s a good idea to map out a 6-mile route beforehand so you know exactly where you’re going. You could create a 3-mile “there and back” route, which would be convenient and get you back to the start.

You can choose a few different routes, but setting out without a planned route means it will be hard to tell when you’ve hit 6 miles. You might also find yourself at 6 miles… Without a way to get home, you could end up walking 12 miles accidentally!

Warm Up Before and Cool Down After

Just because you’re walking and not running, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t warm up and cool down! Do some dynamic stretching before you go, and static stretching once you’re done. You could also walk slowly for 5 minutes before and after your regular pace.

Gradually Increase Your Speed and Distance

Don’t be tempted to jump from 3 miles per hour to 4 miles per hour overnight. Increase your pace slowly, and expect at least a few days to transition.

If you can’t quite manage 6 miles yet, the same principle goes for increasing your distance. Don’t jump from 3 miles per day to 6 miles a day suddenly!

Aim to increase by 10% per week. If you were going at 3 miles per hour last week, try going at 3.3 miles per hour this week, the whole week. Then, you can increase up to 3.6 miles per hour the next week, as long as you’re keeping up with the 3.3.

Or, if you’re walking 3 miles now, go up to 3.3 miles next week, then 3.6 miles the next week, and so on. This is the most sustainable and safest way to improve!

Keep Your Walks Interesting

If you’re starting to get a bit bored with your walks, you can try a few things to make them more interesting. Try them all, or pick what works for you!

Track Your Progress

The best way to track your pace, distance, and progress is to use a smartwatch. You’ll effortlessly track steps, calories, distance, time, and so on. Plus, you can compare previous performances to see how you’ve improved.

You can also use a diary or training log, if you prefer to write things down by hand. A smartwatch + training journal is the best way to track your progress!

Eat Healthy and Drink Plenty of Water

If you want to make the most of your walking—especially if you want to lose weight—it’s essential to monitor your eating. You want to stick to healthy, whole foods—avoid processed foods like baked goods, candy, crisps, and so on.

It’s also important to note that for walks as long as 6 miles, you may need some nutrition. You can consider energy chews, gels, or an energy bar if you want something more chewable.

Stay hydrated, too—you should drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water daily, plus extra when you’re walking!

Set Rewards for Yourself

Remember those goals we talked about? Set yourself some rewards for when you reach them. This will motivate you to keep going when it gets tough!

Think about that meal at your favorite restaurant that you said you’d go out for at the end of the month… If you hit your 120 miles.

Or that new thing you’ve wanted that you’ve committed to getting when you reach your goal weight. This is a powerful way of sticking to your routine with enthusiasm!

Listen to Your Body

As tempting as it might be to walk through pain, niggles, discomfort, and feeling poorly, listen to your body! If you’re feeling particularly tired on a day, it might be time to skip a day and rest.

Remember, your body needs rest too. Walking 6 miles daily is an excellent way to get your steps in, build up your cardiovascular system, and get in shape. But your body also needs time to rest, rejuvenate, and recover from exercise.

If you have pain anywhere, it’s a good idea to rest it for a day or two before getting back into your routine. We recommend taking one day a week to rest fully so your body can replenish its energy and rest its sore muscles!

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.