So, How Much Do You Walk Each Day?

A Year in the Life of a Walker Reveals the Numbers

Fitbit Alta - Hourly Activity
Fitbit Alta - Hourly Activity. Wendy Bumgardner ©

"So, Wendy, what do you do?"
"I enjoy walking and I write about walking."
"Really? How much do you walk each day?"

That's the way the conversation goes when I meet people. I'm a numbers kind of gal, so I like to have a precise answer. I have one after a year of wearing the Nike+ FuelBand every day. It was a year in which I was driven to achieve my activity goal each day and get the "happy dance" on the FuelBand.

How Many Miles Do You Walk Each Day?

I average just under five miles per day. But that includes all-day steps, not just dedicated walking workouts. I think people asking the question only want to know the the time and distance for walking workouts.

  • Work Days: I take a couple of one-mile walks, usually on my work breaks or at lunch. Maximize Your 15-Minute Walk
  • Weekends: Depending on weather, etc. I take at least a four-mile walk each weekend day. On most weekend days I do a long distance walking workout of six to nine miles. Often, I walk 10 kilometer volkssport walks hosted by local walking clubs. Those two-hour walks are both workouts and social walks with my walking buddies.
  • Half Marathons (13.1 miles): I registered for eight half marathons throughout the year, which gave me a good goal for training. I couldn't slack off on my weekend distance walks because I needed to stay trained. Training to Walk a Half Marathon

    How Many Steps Do You Take Each Day?

    I averaged a little more than 12,000 steps each day. On weekdays, my average was around 8000 steps. On the weekends I usually logged 18,000 steps or more each day, which boosted my overall average. A ten kilometer walk is 14,000 steps for me.

    Before I got the Nike+ FuelBand, I was logging fewer than 5000 steps per day on weekdays.

    It motivated me to never miss those break-time and lunch-time walks. Thanks to its motivation, I was achieving the 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity recommended each day by health authorities.

    Need to Reduce Sitting Time

    It would be a good goal to log 10,000 steps per day on the weekdays as well as the weekends. I have been working on reducing my sitting time, which is being shown more and more to increase your health risks, independent of exercise time. Just by finding another 2000 steps per day I would be breaking up my sitting time and doing myself good. I now also wear a Jawbone UP which I have set to vibrate after 30 minutes of sitting.

    How Many Exercise Calories Do You Burn Each Day?

    The FuelBand notes activity calories burned (above what you would burn if sedentary all day), and my average was 940 calories per day. I think this was an overestimate -- walking five miles per day would burn only half that number of calories, and I didn't do enough vigorous activity to make up the difference.

    Walking Calorie Calculator

    During this year I was on a 1200 calories per day diet on weekdays and I usually logged 1400-1500 calories. I ate more on weekends, balanced with the extra exercise. I lost 43 pounds. I used our Calorie Count web site and app to log my food.

    Year Totals

    • 4,500,000 steps
    • 1771 miles: That's about the distance from New York City to Denver, Colorado. Or, 200 miles more than walking from Paris, France to Moscow, Russia.
    • 34,000 calories: While this should be enough activity to burn off 99 pounds of fat, I think it is further proof that the FuelBand overestimates calories burned. I lost 43 pounds while being pretty faithful to my diet.
    • 1,150,000 NikeFuel: I was happy and proud to average over 3000 NikeFuel each day, which is their own measure of activity. I worked hard to break 2000 every single day, even while sick or injured.

    Moral: I'm an Average Walker - You Can Do This!

    While I write about walking and enjoy walking, I face the same challenges most of you do. I work in an office at a sedentary job five days per week. I write at the computer for two or more hours each day in addition to that job. I have to make time and take the effort to get up and move more, no matter how much I enjoy walking.

    I also love eating, so it was a great victory to balance food and activity and lose weight while still enjoying both.

    Find something that motivates you to move more throughout the day. For me, it was the Nike+ FuelBand and registering for challenging walking events. Here are further suggestions.
    10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Walk

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