Recently I came back from holidays and together with my wife we were walking over 10km a day with no gym and no dieting. After we’ve come back, we both continued this habit for the next 30 days and managed to lose a good amount of weight.
Today I will explain what happens to your body if you walk 10km a day and how much weight you can lose.
Overall, walking 10km (6.2 miles) a day is good for weight loss because it can burn 451 to 601 calories. Walking at a steady pace at 60-70% of maximum heart rate (a pace where you can maintain a conversation) maximizes fat burn, is relatively easy, and is accessible to most people of all ages.
There you have my general answer, but if you wanna know more details like how much weight can you lose and what are the benefits of walking 10km, keep reading.
Why I Started To Walk 10km A Day
Over the last two months, I lost 15 pounds and my wife lost 12 pounds, simply by walking 10km a day (10km was the average). We had no access to a gym, no resistance bands, and we didn’t take our yoga mat. It was just walking around the city.
On some days, we took it easy and walk less, whereas on other days we walk more (the record day was 28,321 steps, which is around 21.5km).
You can lose weight by walking 10km a day, as long as you stay consistent and you won’t alter your eating habits. Walking 6.2 miles per day for 7 days can burn 3,150 to 4,207 calories, which is equivalent to one pound of fat.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Walking 10km A Day?
Yes, walking 10km a day is healthy. There are dozens of studies that show the benefits of daily walking on cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic disease events. Plus, walking is simple, free, and easy to be active.
Different duration of daily walking was associated with decreased mortality for younger-elderly men with or without critical diseases, independent of sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, BMI, medical status, disease history, and functional capacity.Wenjing Zhao
I choose to walk 10km a day to lose weight not only because it’s easy, but also because it helps to clear my head when I work on difficult tasks, and I can do it randomly during the day, even in my suit.
Of course, there are more intense forms of exercise like HIIT that burns more calories. However, I feel like I’m more tired after doing HIIT, which leads to eating more, not less.
Walking 10km a day was a good idea because I didn’t feel like I’m exercising, so I managed to keep my food intake the same as before.
Walking 10km A Day Without Changing Diet
I started walking 10km a day during my holidays. I was eating the same amount of food that I normally eat. However, the weight started to go down and I didn’t feel hungry (which is why I’m so excited about this process).
Historically, when I was doing daily high-intensity workouts like T25 or P90x, I also noticed that my appetite is going up, and my food intake had almost doubled. I was craving sweets, salted nuts, chocolate, and pasta.
I felt like all the effort that I spent in the gym was coming right back on my dinner plate. However, walking 10m a day was different.
Here I was usually drinking coffee together with a bottle of water. That’s it. After I was done, I didn’t have any food cravings for sweets or chocolates (caffeine is a good appetite suppressant).
Don’t Forget To Stay Hydrated
One of the worst things that can happen during your 10km walks is not getting enough water. During walking, the body gets quickly dehydrated and you can lose energy, feel lethargic, and start to feel muscle cramps.
First few days I completely forgot about drinking water (rookie mistake). At the end of the day, I was feeling weak and tight in my muscles.
Once I get my water organized, I immediately started to feel better. I was drinking around 500ml of water during 90-minute brisk walking. However, when the outdoor temperature was higher (70 degrees or more) I was drinking at least one liter of water.
NOTE: According to one study, men should be drinking around 3 liters of fluids per day and women should be drinking 2,2 liters per day. Higher fluid intake does not have any additional benefits.
Can You Lose Weight By Walking 10km A Day?
In general, you can lose weight by walking 10km a day, as long as you stay within a calorie deficit and include resistance training at least twice per week.
Calorie restriction ensures you’re burning stored fat and losing weight, whereas resistance training helps to maintain lean body mass.
For the first few weeks, I was only walking. I haven’t really thought about going to the gym because in the place where we stayed there we no gym.
For the last 30 days, I added resistance training because I did not want to lose muscle.
Make It More Challenging
In general, walking 10km a day is enough exercise, as long as you incorporate additional resistance training.
Strength training should be done at least two days per week, according to The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends.
However, if like me you prefer to train outside, you can try to find some places with an outdoor gym and use that together with your walking routine.
Most modern cities do have installed outdoor gyms or fitness parks where people can come in for free and use the equipment.
Outdoor gym often has a variety of machines that works on the legs, arms, shoulder, and abs.
In general, it is better to work out in the gym because outdoor gyms do not offer such a variety of machines and equipment as indoor gyms have.
However, if you could bring all equipment outside, it is much better to exercise in the fresh air outside.
Find Stairs Whenever Possible
I find that walking up the stairs is much better than walking on a flat surface because you can burn 0.17 to 0.20 calories for every step that you take.
Walking up the stairs elevates the heat rate more and gets you out of breath, even if you walk slowly.
According to my Fitbit, walking up the stairs get my heart rate to zone 3 and 4, whereas walking on a flat surface I’m usually around zone 1 and 2.
Plus, climbing the stairs also requires higher muscle activation in your quadriceps, glutes, and calves.
The number of stairs you need to do for a good workout will depend on your mobility and level of fitness.
For example, I can walk 10 minutes upstairs without taking a break, whereas my wife starts huffing and puffing after a minute or two.
My point is that walking up the stairs kicks your butt more than walking flat.
However, if you plan to walk 10km a day, I don’t recommend walking on just one staircase up and down. I tried this many times and it gets tedious.
Is much better to choose a route with a combination of stairs, hills, a flat surface, and descending stairs.
This way you stimulate your frontal cortex by what is called “novelty processing” in neuroscience.
You can find stairs almost everywhere in the places like public parks, city centers, museums, shopping malls, coastlines, and churches.
Is Walking 10km A Day Considered Exercise?
In general, walking 10km a day (which is 14,080 steps) is considered an exercise that has similar health benefits to the federally recommended 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee (PAGAC).
Here in the table below, you can see a guideline on steps and activity levels.
|Physical activity level||Number of steps|
|Sedentary||less than 5,000 steps per day|
|Low active||5,000 to 7,499 steps per day|
|Somewhat active||7,500 to 9,999 steps per day|
|Physically active||10,000 steps per day|
|Highly active||12,500 steps a day or more|
Make It Heavier
I was wearing a weighted vest with an extra 20 pounds of weight for 3 weeks during my 10km walks. In the beginning, it felt really hard, especially when I was walking uphill.
I was sweating more and I felt like my legs are made of stones.
Over time, when my body got used to it, I noticed that I can walk longer and I don’t get so puffed when walking up the stairs.
Weighted vests (also called hypergravity training) are good for walking because they add extra resistance and increase energy expenditure.
They also help to increase peak running speed, and leg stiffness to generate higher force, and enhance running economy.
According to online calculators, you burn 2 extra calories for every extra pound that you wear.
How To Walk 10km A Day
The easiest way to walk 10km a day and be consistent is to organize your daily schedule around your walking routine.
It’s ok to take a day off and add more distance on your weekends, as well as start slowly from 5km and progressively add more distance.
I had a few days off where I just wasn’t ready to do any walking because I was either busy at work, or my body was just too sore to walk another day.
In that case, I purposefully added a day off and committed to walking more on the weekend.
For beginners, I don’t recommend going cold turkey and starting walking 10km right away.
Walk On As Many Hills As Possible
Walking up a hill is very similar to walking up the stairs. It helps to engage different muscle groups, elevates the heart rate, and increases the metabolic rate.
I find that incline walking is very therapeutic just like walking in nature.
According to online calorie calculators, walking uphill with a 3% incline burns twice more calories as walking on a flat surface.
Derek Haight, Ph.D., a senior biomechanics researcher at Nike, said that uphill walking may be an appropriate exercise for obese individuals.
People with excess weight put less pressure on their joints when walking slowly uphill (around 6% incline), compared to brisk level walking, says Dr. Haight.
Walking 10km a day uphill is good for weight loss because it allows you to increase the intensity, without increasing the speed. It also puts less pressure on your joints.
Of course, walking uphill every day is much more strenuous on the body and requires some level of fitness.
I remember when I started to uphill I almost couldn’t walk for the next day. My calves felt like rocks and my lower back hurt. If you’re a beginner, I would not recommend starting uphill walking. Build up your muscle endurance slowly and introduce hills maybe every two days.
I understand that not everyone has an access to walking 10km a day on the uphill terrains. If you live in a place like San Francisco or Seattle then you have nothing to worry about. However, if you live in the places like Florida or Louisiana, you’re not spoiled for choice.
If you don’t have many hills in your local area, an alternative is to use a treadmill in the gym. All of the gyms have a treadmill with adjustable inclines up to 15 percent.
Get A Good Pair Of Running Shoes
I’m not a shoe expert but I know from experience that losing weight from walking 10km a day won’t happen overnight so I recommend you get yourself a pair of comfortable shoes.
The best shoes for walking 10km a day are running shoes with thicker soles that provide extra support and cushion. Yes, these shoes are incredibly comfortable for long-distance walking, but they look awful.
I own a pair of Hoka One One, which look horrible and they do not match with any clothes that I wear. However, these are the most comfortable walking and running shoes that I’ve ever worn so I take them.
The worst shoes for walking 10km a day are boots with higher heels or flip-flops.
These may look stylish at night out or during your beach break, but they won’t work for your daily weight loss walking.
Walking with flip-flops long distances makes my legs tired and my ankles swollen.
On the other hand, when I walk in boots for longer periods I usually end up with some types of blisters and toe pain.
Listen To Music, Podcasts, Or Audiobooks
Walking 10km a day is a lot because it takes between 90 to 120 minutes. If you’re doing it every day around the same route, it can get very boring quickly.
I recommend listening to podcasts, audiobooks, music, or another form of entertainment from your phone.
I never go outside walking without any music or podcast. I have over 20 different playlists for walking, depending on the mood and time of the day.
Yes, I’m addicted to music because it helps me to boost my energy and enhance my mood almost immediately.
To be frank, I think I wouldn’t be able to walk 10km a day without the music. For me, music is almost like caffeine. It has an ergogenic effect that helps me to walk further, longer, and more often.
Peter C Terry, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern Queensland says “listening to music is associated with more positive feelings, improved physical performance, reduced perceived exertion, and more efficient oxygen utilization.”
One study have reported similar ergogenic effects of listening to music while walking.
The music that you want to listen to while walking will depend on your mood, time of the day, and personal preferences.
- For the morning walking, I like the variety of classical, pop, and film scores that are positive and uplifting.
- For my afternoon walks where I need a bit extra energy so I like more house, techno, and rock tunes.
- For the evening, I like to default back to my classic piano and cello instrumental songs.
If you don’t like the music you can get on Spotify or Youtube and listen to some educational podcasts or audiobooks.
I don’t usually listen to audiobooks when walking because I find it hard to focus on the storyline while exercising (my wife can watch Netflix series while walking without any problems).
Stretch Before And After Your Walking
One of the best things you can do for your body when starting to walk long distances is to add a stretching routine, ideally for the whole body.
Stretching helps to loosen up muscles and won’t make you feel tired the following morning.
Is it better to stretch before or after a walk?
Stretching before walking is good because it helps to increase your range of motion and prevent you from getting injured.
Stretching after your walk is also important because it helps to reduce muscle tension and minimize muscle soreness.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a stretching specialist or do advanced yoga asanas. All you need is to spend 5 minutes before and 10-15 minutes after.
You can use YouTube videos like the one below.
- Before walking, I recommend doing some dynamic stretches that will activate your sympathetic nervous system and make you ready for your workout.
- During walking (somewhere halfway) I like to stop and stretch my calves and quads. This way I feel looser, especially if I’m walking uphill.
- After walking 10km a day, I like to spend more time doing a variety of stretches for the whole body.
Walking 10km A Day And Not Losing Weight
In general, you may be not losing weight even though you walk 10km a day because you’re too early in the process and you don’t see the results yet.
Or you have unrealistic expectations for the amount of weight that you can lose.
Another common mistake that people make when losing weight after starting an exercise is they’re overeating without even realizing it.
Stress, distractions, and unwanted emotions can trigger overeating. Even one day a week of impulsive eating can hold you back from your results.
Walking 10km a day is a great form of cardio that not only allows you to burn calories but also helps to reduce stress.
I think it should be part of your fitness routine, regardless if you want to torch extra fat or not.
It requires you to be active every day, without much rest. In reality, it does require some level of fitness, especially if you planning to do it regularly.
For better results, I recommend adding extra resistance training and making it more challenging by adding hills and stairs to your routes.