I’ve just returned home from our Cotswolds Way walking weekend. We covered 18 miles yesterday and 10 today. Those taking part really rose to the challenging distances and, I think, surprised themselves by how well they managed. It has caused me to reflect on the question of how far you can walk in a day.
Apparently the average person walks at a pace of 3 miles an hour on level ground without carrying extra weight. This wouldn’t be sustainable all day though as other factors would kick in, such as mental and physical fatigue. The weather, hills, condition of the route and what you are carrying are going to influence both your speed and your distance. Also your reasons for wanting to walk. A big challenge that you’ve set your heart on, told others about and raised sponsorship for is likely to spur you on well beyond your normal capabilities. So perhaps the real question is more: what limits you?
As we found out this weekend, you need to prepare your body for increased mileage – and even then you can never cover every eventuality – ankles, knees and walking conditions are always able to throw a curveball. The right kit is absolutely essential and particularly shoes and socks. Blisters are a walkers blight and warm weather, especially if you’re not used to it, can be utterly energy sapping. Nutrition and hydration are crucial and the speed of the group you are in is also a big factor.
There’s a lot to think about – walking long distances doesn’t happen without time, effort and preparation. Some people cover mammoth distances (one of our walkers managed 62 miles in 24 hours last year) but this weekend was a real milestone and an extremely impressive benchmark for a lot of people.
The Relaxing Breath
I went to the most inspiring and fascinating lecture earlier this week given by Dr Weil, director of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. I will be talking about the lecture – and how Bristol is leading the way in integrative medicine – in next week’s blog but I wanted to pass on a breathing technique he recommended called the 4-7-8 (or Relaxing) Breath. This, in his view, in the number one most valuable exercise (if one can call it that) for helping ease stress and anxiety and assist sleep. Click here if your interested in it. I’m off to practice it now!