George Meegan currently holds the record for Longest Unbroken Walk. He covered a distance of 1900 miles(3057 km approx) over a time span of six and a half years. He walked from the southernmost tip of South America to the northernmost of Alaska. Thus he became the one and only person to walk the entire Western Hemisphere.
As normal people, we can only dream of achieving such feats. Some might even question if it is humanly possible to do so.
What would happen to us if we just kept walking? How long can we go if we keep walking continuously? What is the hype around long walks? If these questions have popped up in your mind, you have come to the right place to find answers. (Saunders, R., Laing, J., and Weiler, B., 2013)
How Long Can We Walk Continuously?
Walking impacts on developing strengths and muscles and it creates a healthy life style.
On a fine day and a well-built flat road, an average physically fit person can walk about 30 miles (48 kilometers). However, these are just estimates made by researchers and should not be mistaken for facts.
Realistically, most normal people can walk about 4 kilometers in an hour. After walking for 8 to 10 hours continuously, the urge to urinate, excrete, and the lack of sleep will hamper the body’s normal functioning.
Your muscles will then start straining, and the build-up of lactic acid will cause them pain. Our spine also has its limit and can start paining after prolonged walking for more than 10 hours.
Deoxygenation and Dehydration are also major issues. Your stamina will start losing its edge, and it will become difficult for your body to keep itself oxygenated. The water content of your body will also fall, and Dehydration will cause dizziness.
All these factors will make you incapable of walking further. However, it may take a couple of hours more for these factors to show effects. Thus we can say that the maximum a person can keep walking without ever stopping is for 10-15 hours. If someone walks at 3 miles per hour, it means they can walk a maximum of 30-45 miles (50-70 km) without stopping. (Awad, L.N., Reisman, D.S., Wright, T.R., Roos, M.A. and Binder-Macleod, S.A., 2014)
At What Point Does Walking Create More Harm Than Good?
Walking has many health benefits, but too much of anything can spoil the experience and diminish its utility. It is not commonplace for average humans to keep walking for hours in a row, and such an intense amount of activity can prove detrimental to our health.
Therefore it becomes important to understand the point after which walking might do more harm than good for you.
You should not strain your body beyond its limits and must practice a fair bit of restraint to remain healthy.
Ideally, if you are going for a long walk, it is recommended that you walk for about 2 hours or until you are feeling properly oxygenated and can maintain normal breathing.
Why You Should Try Long Walks:
Long walks provide various health benefits. Both our body and our mind become healthy if we indulge in long walks.
Some of the health benefits of taking long walks are given below:
Tips For Long Walks:
If the benefits convince you of taking long trips on foot, here are some tips to get you started.
- Plan your route:
Roads can be tricky. Sometimes you might want to avoid certain places like not wanting to go through a particular street because the constant traffic on that street irritates you. Such situations may demotivate you to keep walking. Rugged terrain like marshy land or a steep climb might also demotivate you from continuing your walk. Hence it is important to plan your route according to your preferences to get the best experience while walking.
- Wear the right gear:
You will be walking long distances, and your feet will be doing a lot of work. Therefore it becomes essential to equip yourself with the right equipment. Wear a sturdy pair of shoes with a comfortable insole. Make sure your feet get proper ventilation when inside your shoes. Always carry a water bottle and carry a cap if going out in the sun.
- Stay Hydrated:
Hydration is essential for walking long distances. Walking becomes an intense physical workout when done over long distances, and your body loses a lot of water in the form of sweat. Always carry a water bottle with you and keep sipping small amounts of water throughout your journey to maintain the water level in your body.
- Stay motivated:
It often happens that you start off with a tonne of energy, but your motivation starts to fade somewhere along the way. This prevents you from achieving your goals. You can add extra motivation to your endeavor by listening to music while walking or finding a companion or friend to walk the route with you.
- Start small:
Trying to accomplish a hundred-mile walk on your first day might be overwhelming to your body. If you fail to cover the distance, it might even discourage you from trying. That is why you should start with less distance and gradually increase the distance traveled as you become more experienced in walking for long distances.
Walking is a healthy habit to inculcate in your daily lifestyle. Its health benefits should not be underestimated. I hope this blog gave you a better insight into the limits of our ability to walk and motivated you to take up this healthy habit to better your life.