Long Distance Walking is quickly growing in popularity. It’s become appealing due to its accessability, health benefits, and relatively low cost of entry. Below are some of the frequently asked questions on Google which I have put my own answers to. Of course, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me, alternatively, feel free to post your question on our Long Distance Hiking Facebook Community!
If you are serious about long distance walking why not look at joining the Long Distance Walkers Association.
Long distance walking is generally considered walking over multiple days. However, there is no official length for a walk to be determined a ‘long distance walk’. Generally amoungst the walking community there is very little debate about what is considered a long distance as it differs greatly for each individual. For example, a seasoned walker may easily walk 18 miles each day for multiple days, while a less experienced or less physically able walker may only be able to walk 6 miles a day.
The best way to train for long distance walking is obviously to get miles in and start walking on uneven ground. If thats not possible, get the miles in on pavements, using differenr gradients and steps to help build your ‘uphill’ muscles.
Other tactics can also help, for example, you can use a slightly weighted backpack to add some resistance. It’s also important to incorporate some strength and mobility training into your routine in addition to good diet and lots of sleep.
Long distance walking has some excellent health benefits. For example is helps your longevity, heart health, improves your social life, mental clarity and gives you a sense of purpose and perspective. You can read more about the benefits in this article.
Shoes are generally favoured over walking boots for long distance walking depending on the terrain and elevation. For example if you are walking the Cotswold Way, or Hadrian’s Wall Path in the fairer months you may benefit from a lightweight pair of walking shoes over heavy walking boots. The best shoe for long distance walking is always the one which has a comfortable fit. Don’t buy a shoe just because its been recommended. Instead visit an independent outdoor shop who can help you to try on a range of walking shoes.
- Always start with a good pair of well broken in shoes. The right shoe can make all the difference on a long distance hike. Tired feet and sore muscles can be soothed back to health but a feet full of blisters is much harder to manage.
- Treat your feet to nice socks. Merino or wool socks are excellent as they are naturally odour resistant and help resist the build up of moisture.
- Lightweight wicking shirts are essential. In summer conditions a shirt with an SPF rating is particularly handy.
- Read more about what to pack for long distance hiking here.
A long distance walk will certainly help with rapid weight loss if the difficulty is high enough and your calorific output exceeds your input. For example, carrying a heavy pack for multiple days will have a big impact on your weight at the end. However, diet, sleep, duration or the trek and other factors will have an impact on how much weight you lose. It’s important not to embark on a long distance trek solely for the purpose of losing weight. There are many more reasons to walk long distances.