How This Simple Habit Can Transform Your Health


As a 16-year gym veteran, many people come to me for advice on how they can improve their fitness. Many are curious about beginning their day with fasted LISS (low-intensity steady state) cardio to shed the spare tire, while others want to explore the effectiveness of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) circuit workouts to lose weight.

Contrary to what most people think, you don’t need grueling training programs to improve your fitness.

In my experience as a personal trainer, beginners often set ambitious goals and enroll in rigorous training programs. This approach, however, increases the chances of them dropping off their transformation regimen before achieving their objectives.

Starting small and using unintimidating workout routines make you more likely to stick to your new healthy lifestyle in the long term.

One such small but incredibly effective fitness routine involves walking 2 miles a day.

It might sound obnoxious, but walking just 2 miles daily can revolutionize your fitness journey.

In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about walking 2 miles a day, including the distance covered, the times it takes, calories burned, health benefits, and the practical tips for incorporating this into your lifestyle.

Understanding the Distance — Walking 2 Miles a Day

Walking in the Park

Walking 2 miles a day is a simple and accessible practice that nearly anyone can incorporate into their daily routine, irrespective of their fitness level or schedule.

When most people think about walking 2 miles a day, they inadvertently try to make sense of the distance and start thinking about what 2 miles looks like while traveling in their car. Many lose hope about walking 2 miles daily when they discover the actual distance involved.

Understanding 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) in practical terms is essential for setting realistic fitness objectives.

On a standard outdoor track, which typically measures 400 meters, walking 2 miles would equal just over eight laps. Once you think of it this way, walking 2 miles daily isn’t that big of a deal anymore.

Most smartwatches and smartphones have a built-in pedometer. Walking 2 miles a day involves walking approximately 4,000 steps. Remember, this can vary depending on an individual’s stride length and gait. This rough idea is based on the assumption that an individual’s stride length is approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet.

Understanding this distance is crucial for setting incremental goals and tracking your progress. For beginners, knowing that they must complete eight rounds of a 400-meter track to hit their 2-mile target gives them a clear, actionable, and achievable target.

Once you begin comfortably hitting your 2-mile goal daily, challenge yourself by increasing your goal to 2.5 miles.

Pro Tip: Keeping your step count and distance walked data up and center on your smartphone and smartwatch using widgets can help develop healthier habits and motivate you to hit your daily step and distance objectives.

Time Investment in Walking 2 Miles a Day

How long it takes to walk two miles depends on several factors, including an individual’s stride length, pace, gender, age, fitness level, and walking conditions.

Knowing the time it takes to walk two miles a day allows an individual to set aside a particular amount of time in their schedule for their new fitness goal.

That said, since the average walking speed for an adult is about 3 to 4 miles per hour, most people can walk 2 miles in 30 to 40 minutes.

Here is a table that shows how long it takes to walk 2 miles a day at different speeds:

Walking Speed (mph) How Long Does It Take to Walk 2 Miles? (min:sec)
2.8 42:52
3 40:00
3.1 38:42
3.2 37:30
3.3 36:20
3.4 35:16
3.5 34:16
3.6 33:20
3.7 32:24
3.8 31:32
3.9 30:46
4 30:00
4.1 29:16
4.2 24:34
4.3 27:56
4.4 27:16
4.5 26:40
4.6 26:04
4.7 25:30
4.8 25:00
4.9 24:28
5 24:00

This table will also help you change your walking speed depending on your available time. For example, if your usual walking speed is 3 mph and it takes you around 40 minutes to walk 2 miles, you can use a brisk pace (4 mph) to cover the same distance in 30 minutes on a busy day.

Besides saving you time, a brisk walking pace elevates the heart rate more than slower walks, making them an excellent choice for cardiovascular health and calorie burning. Plus, since walking is a low-impact form of physical activity, it doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your joints.

Making minor adjustments like these allows you to stick to your fitness journey, even on days when your calendar is packed.

Finally, you must consider the terrain before setting a time goal for your two-mile walk. A two-mile walk on a flat surface will take less time than a route with hills or uneven terrain.

Calories Burned Walking 2 Miles a Day

Walking In Park

The calories burned through walking can vary widely based on two key factors — body weight and walking speed. Generally, the heavier a person, the higher the calories they burn while walking, as moving a larger mass requires more energy.

Similarly, walking at faster speeds burns more calories as you need to work harder.

Here is a detailed table that explores how many calories individuals of varying weights burn in 30 minutes of walking at different speeds:

Weight 2 mph 2.5 mph 3 mph 3.5 mph 4 mph 4.5 mph
120 pounds (54.4 kilograms) 80 86 100 123 143 200
140 pounds (63.5 kilograms) 93 100 117 143 167 233
160 pounds (72.5 kilograms) 107 114 133 164 191 267
180 pounds (81.6 kilograms) 120 129 150 184 214 300
200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) 133 143 167 205 238 333
220 pounds (99.8 kilograms) 147 157 183 225 262 367
240 pounds (108.9 kilograms) 160 171 200 246 286 400

Using Fitness Trackers

Folks who are more particular about recording their calorie numbers should use wearable fitness trackers. Since these trackers are in direct contact with your skin, they give you a more accurate reading of the calories burned during walking. Most of these fitness trackers also measure your heart rate, distance covered (using GPS), and exact activity time.

You can use this data to develop a personalized training regimen to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Pro Tip: Always begin a ‘Walking’ workout on your smartwatch or smartphone before starting on your 2-mile daily goal. Using this feature primes the gadget’s sensors, resulting in better tracking.

Don’t let these numbers overwhelm you. Think of walking as a highly potent tool in your weight management arsenal. Walking can help boost weight loss and maintain your ideal body weight when done consistently.

Walking has a positive impact on metabolism. A Research in Sports Medicine study concluded that 10 weeks of low-volume walking training improves cardiometabolic health and body composition in sedentary postmenopausal women with obesity without affecting markers of bone metabolism. (1)

A higher metabolic rate helps burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are not physically active. This boosted metabolic rate helps with long-term weight management and overall health improvement.

Health Benefits of Walking 2 Miles a Day

Men Walking Together

Here are some benefits of walking two miles daily:

Great For People of All Fitness Levels

Walking is an unintimidating form of exercise. Unlike most strength sports, walking doesn’t require learning complex exercise forms to maximize results and avoid injury risk. Plus, people of all fitness levels, whether beginners or advanced, can add walking to their fitness regimen to lose weight and improve their overall health and well-being.

A Sports Medicine study concluded that walking is a rhythmic, dynamic aerobic exercise that improves cardiovascular fitness and stamina. It also helps strengthen muscles, enhance posture, aid weight control, and positively impact high-density lipoprotein metabolism and insulin/glucose dynamics. (2)

Low-Impact

Walking is a low-impact exercise that doesn’t strain the joints, making it an excellent choice for folks dealing with injuries. That said, you must get your healthcare provider’s clearance before starting a new exercise program if you are dealing with health conditions.

Flexibility

You don’t need high-tech equipment to walk two miles; you could do it in slippers or even barefoot. Since walking is an incredibly accessible form of exercise, you can do it anywhere, even while traveling.

Reduction in Chronic Disease Rates

A 2008 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise review found that walking regularly can reduce the risk of chronic disease, offering a cost-effective way to manage healthcare costs. (3)

Decreased Risk of Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases

A GeroScience review concluded that older adults who walk regularly can reduce their risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cognitive impairment, and dementia and improve mental well-being and sleep. (4)

Lower Risk of All-Cause Mortality and Cardiovascular Disease

Walking more can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. While walking 10,000 steps a day is the current trend, A 2020 International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity study concluded that the health benefits associated with walking more, including a lower risk of all-cause mortality and CVD morbidity and mortality in adults, are present even when the step count is below 10,000 per day. (5)

Benefits for Sedentary Older Adults

People tend to become sedentary with age, which can result in chronic health issues. A Journals of Gerontology study showed that increased walking can benefit sedentary, generally healthy older adults, enhancing their quality of life. (6)

Reduced Anxiety

Higher stress, anxiety, and tension levels spike cortisol levels, resulting in weight gain and other health conditions. A Journal of the American Medical Association review found that regular walking can aid in reducing anxiety tension and assist with weight loss. The study added that “low- and moderate-intensity exercise such as walking, when carried out consistently, is associated with important cardiovascular health benefits.” (7)

Improved Gait and Mobility in Older Adults

Mobility is one of the first things affected by age. Most people also experience a change in their gait. Walking regularly can help maintain stable gait patterns in older adults, reducing the risk of falls and improving overall mobility. (8)

Wearable devices can also help the elderly stay active and healthy. Most smart devices are incredibly effective at risk profiling, which can help healthcare providers design tailored programs for seniors to reduce the risk of falls.

Lower Mortality Risk in Younger-Elderly Men

A Journal of Epidemiology research found that “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.” (9)

How Much Weight Can You Lose From Walking 2 Miles a Day?

Most people take on additional physical activity with the goal of losing weight. You’ve probably already wondered about how much weight you can lose by walking 2 miles a day.

Running a calorie deficit, which involves expending more calories in a day than you consume, is the most crucial factor in losing weight. The extent of your calorie deficit dictates the amount of weight you will lose in a particular period.

Walking 2 miles a day or more can help widen your calorie deficit. Other factors, such as your current health, weight, fitness level, walk intensity, and genetics, can affect your weight loss progress.

According to a Journal of Nutrition‌ study, walking three hours a week, which equals walking 30 minutes six days a week (2 miles per day at 4 mph), lost 19 pounds in 12 weeks. (10)

Practical Tips for Walking 2 Miles a Day

Here are a few tips for incorporating walking two miles a day into your daily routine:

  1. Start with a Plan: Now that you know walking 2 miles a day can take anywhere between 30 to 40 minutes, you can find a suitable time in your day to get in the required number of steps. Feel free to break the distance into smaller chunks to make the goal more manageable.
  2. Gradual Progression: Beginners might find walking two miles in a single go daunting. You can start with walking one mile daily and add 10 percent to the distance each week until you achieve the two-mile-a-day target.
  3. Mix It Up: Walking two miles on the same road or treadmill can get boring quickly. Hit a new neighborhood, trail, or park to keep things interesting.
  4. Consistency: Consistency is key while training to improve your health and fitness. You must stick to your walking practice in the long term to experience noticeable results.
  5. Track Your Progress: Use a fitness tracker or a simple journal to monitor your progress. It will keep you accountable and motivated to do and achieve more.
  6. Addressing Challenges: You will likely face several challenges that can hinder your walking routine. You must find solutions to these problems and walk 2 miles daily.
  7. Listen to Your Body: You must pay attention to how your body responds to walking two miles or more daily. Feel free to take a day or two off if you feel fatigued.

Note: The content on Fitness Volt is for informative purposes only. Do not take it as medical advice to diagnose, prevent, or treat health problems. If you’re suffering from a health issue, are pregnant, or are under 18 years old, you should consult your physician before starting any new supplement, nutrition, or fitness routine.

Conclusion

Walking 2 miles a day can change your life beyond fitness. Two miles a day constitute 4,000 steps on average. You only need 30 to 40 minutes to walk two miles, and this can easily be managed, irrespective of how packed your schedule is. People with desk jobs can get the desired steps in by using an under-desk treadmill.

If you have any questions about walking two miles a day, drop them in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to help!

References

Fitness Volt is committed to providing our readers with science-based information. We use only credible and peer-reviewed sources to support the information we share in our articles.

  1. Guzel Y, Atakan MM, Areta JL, Turnagol HH, Kosar SN. Ten weeks of low-volume walking training improve cardiometabolic health and body composition in sedentary postmenopausal women with obesity without affecting markers of bone metabolism. Res Sports Med. 2022 Aug 22:1-13. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2022.2113877. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35996845.
  2. Morris JN, Hardman AE. Walking to health. Sports Med. 1997 May;23(5):306-32. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199723050-00004. Erratum in: Sports Med 1997 Aug;24(2):96. PMID: 9181668.
  3. Lee IM, Buchner DM. The importance of walking to public health. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Jul;40(7 Suppl):S512-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31817c65d0. PMID: 18562968.
  4. Ungvari Z, Fazekas-Pongor V, Csiszar A, Kunutsor SK. The multifaceted benefits of walking for healthy aging: from Blue Zones to molecular mechanisms. Geroscience. 2023 Dec;45(6):3211-3239. doi: 10.1007/s11357-023-00873-8. Epub 2023 Jul 26. PMID: 37495893; PMCID: PMC10643563.
  5. Hall KS, Hyde ET, Bassett DR, Carlson SA, Carnethon MR, Ekelund U, Evenson KR, Galuska DA, Kraus WE, Lee IM, Matthews CE, Omura JD, Paluch AE, Thomas WI, Fulton JE. Systematic review of the prospective association of daily step counts with risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and dysglycemia. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2020 Jun 20;17(1):78. doi: 10.1186/s12966-020-00978-9. PMID: 32563261; PMCID: PMC7305604.
  6. Diehr P, Hirsch C. Health benefits of increased walking for sedentary, generally healthy older adults: using longitudinal data to approximate an intervention trial. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Sep;65(9):982-9. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glq070. Epub 2010 May 19. PMID: 20484337; PMCID: PMC2920578.
  7. Rippe JM, Ward A, Porcari JP, Freedson PS. Walking for health and fitness. JAMA. 1988 May 13;259(18):2720-4. PMID: 3282085.
  8. Brodie MA, Okubo Y, Annegarn J, Wieching R, Lord SR, Delbaere K. Disentangling the health benefits of walking from increased exposure to falls in older people using remote gait monitoring and multi-dimensional analysis. Physiol Meas. 2017 Jan;38(1):45-62. doi: 10.1088/1361-6579/38/1/45. Epub 2016 Dec 12. PMID: 27941237.
  9. Zhao W, Ukawa S, Kawamura T, Wakai K, Ando M, Tsushita K, Tamakoshi A. Health Benefits of Daily Walking on Mortality Among Younger-Elderly Men With or Without Major Critical Diseases in the New Integrated Suburban Seniority Investigation Project: A Prospective Cohort Study. J Epidemiol. 2015;25(10):609-16. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20140190. Epub 2015 Jul 4. PMID: 26155815; PMCID: PMC4626390.
  10. Kleist B, Wahrburg U, Stehle P, Schomaker R, Greiwing A, Stoffel-Wagner B, Egert S. Moderate Walking Enhances the Effects of an Energy-Restricted Diet on Fat Mass Loss and Serum Insulin in Overweight and Obese Adults in a 12-Week Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr. 2017 Oct 1;147(10):1875-1884. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.251744. PMID: 28794207.

This article was written by Vidur Saini, who is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information to our readers. Vidur is always happy to answer any questions you may have.

If you have any questions or need further clarification about this article, please leave a comment below, and Vidur will get back to you as soon as possible.



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