Walking 2 miles a day is a great goal that’s easy enough to aim for yet offers a wide range of health benefits. If you’re looking to start walking 2 miles a day, then you’ll be happy to know that you can do so in a reasonable amount of time and still manage to reap all the benefits that come from it.
Walking two miles per day is an excellent way to increase fitness and activity levels, whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your health, or recover from an injury.
Aiming to walk 2 miles per day is a healthy and achievable target, even if you don’t currently exercise regularly. And if you are already currently walking one mile per day, it is quite simple to increase your workouts to two miles per day.
If you’re looking to build a habit and start walking 2 miles a day, this article is perfect for you! We’ll go over everything you need to know about walking 2 miles a day, including the top 7 benefits, how long it’ll take you to walk that far, and tips on how you can start today!
How Far Is 2 Miles?
2 miles is approximately 3.2 kilometers, and if you were to walk on a standard 400-meter running track it’s equivalent to around 8 laps.
In terms of steps, 2 miles is approximately 4,100 steps.
How Long Does It Take to Walk 2 Miles A Day?
Before you decide on whether or not walking 2 miles a day is a good exercise goal for you, it’s important to know how long it’ll take you and what to expect.
It’s not uncommon for people to ask ‘how long does it take to walk 2 miles a day?’, and unfortunately there isn’t a clear-cut answer to that.
How long it takes is directly related to how fast you are walking. How fast you can walk depends on other factors such as your age, sex, weather, terrain and current fitness levels, amongst other things.
And so, if you were power walking it’ll take you less time to walk that far versus if you were, say, leisurely walking through a park or along a lake.
How long it takes to walk 2 miles a day also depends on where you’re choosing to walk and what kind of terrain it is.
On average, it’ll take you anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to walk 2 miles a day.
If you’re hiking on rough terrain with a lot of incline (hello everything in Colorado) it will take you longer to walk 2 miles than if you were walking on a smooth terrain such as a running track, road, or even a treadmill.
In the case of trails, remember that adding that incline and intensity is going to make for a great workout! So focus on the effort over the pace.
Benefits Of Walking 2 Miles A Day
Walking 2 miles a day is a great low-impact aerobic exercise that comes with a ton of benefits. Let’s look at the top 8 benefits of walking 2 miles a day:
1. Help You Get In Shape
Most people can walk 2 miles a day, even if they are very busy and haven’t worked out in a long time.
If you haven’t been active for a while, it can be hard to get started on an aggressive training plan that has you working out hard for an hour a day right away. It’s also not a good idea and consistency is the most important thing when getting back on track with your fitness goals.
If you want to be able to handle longer and more intense exercise in the future, starting with something as simple as walking 2 miles per day can help you establish a consistent workout habit and build your fitness level.
2. Benefits Your Overall Health
Even though 2 miles of daily walking may not seem like much to improve your health, any amount of exercise helps. It has been shown that walking regularly can improve health indicators like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and BMI.
3. Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Physical fitness requires a strong cardiovascular system.
Your cardiovascular fitness, or ability to get oxygen to your working muscles, gets better when you do activities like walking and running.
When you walk regularly, your aerobic capacity goes up. This has direct and indirect benefits for your muscle endurance, strength, and flexibility.
4. Reduces Risk of Chronic Diseases
Walking is recommended by the American Diabetes Association to reduce blood sugar levels and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One of the most-quoted studies on walking and health was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. It found that people who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke than those who didn’t walk regularly.
Overall, longer walks such as walking 2 miles a day are essential for disease prevention and can help with heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
5. Strengthens Your Muscles
Walking helps build strength in your hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, abdominals, and back. Walk faster and steeper to recruit more muscle fibers for a better workout.
Walking while pumping your arms actively not only helps strengthen your shoulders, chest, and upper back, but also increases the number of calories you burn by making your walks more of a full-body workout.
6. Slows Down Mental Decline
Walking and running are types of cardiovascular exercise. For this reason, they are the best way to slow the effects of aging on the body and brain.
By engaging in cardiovascular exercise on a consistent basis, one can slow the progression of conditions like Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and multiple sclerosis, and even reduce their severity.
7. Boosts Your Mood
One of the most effective ways to escape the stresses of modern life is to go for a long walk. It’s been scientifically proven to release the same “feel good” endorphins that you get from going for a run.
According to a number of studies, walking can also help reduce the negative effects of anxiety and depression providing a host of mental health benefits.
8. Helps Improve Balance and Posture
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that strengthens and maintains bones, making it a great workout.
In addition to enhancing bone health, it also boosts muscle strength, coordination, and balance, all of which help you stay upright and reduce your risk of fractures from falls.
This is especially important for seniors to prevent balance issues that can occur from having fragile bones.
How to Start Walking 2 Miles a Day
If you’ve decided to start walking 2 miles a day, then you’ll be happy to know that it’s incredibly easy to get going! Here are a few important tips to help you get started today:
1. Wear the Right Gear for Walking
To avoid discomfort and maximize support while walking, it is just as important to wear the right gear as it is when running.
If you intend to walk long distances, it is highly recommended that you purchase a good pair of walking shoes. You can wear running shoes, trail running shoes, or athletic walking shoes.
Long-distance walking calls for shoes with more support and cushioning to keep your feet from getting tired and sore. A lot of people swear by these On Cloud walking shoes.
It’s also a good idea to buy some good athletic wear that’s sweat-wicking. On your walks, fabrics that wick away sweat, like polyester and Merino wool, will help you stay dry and cool. This will help you enjoy your walks which will make it more likely that you stick to this habit.
For those doing more trails or planning longer walks, check out the weather forecast and carry a waterproof and windproof jacket if you expect the weather to change. You could also carry extra layers in a backpack along with some water.
2. Maintain Proper Walking Technique and Posture
You can make your walk more comfortable and prevent strains and injuries by using proper walking posture and technique.
It’s important to walk in a way that puts as little strain on your body as possible, just as you would when running.
When it comes to walking posture and technique, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- First of all, always keep your head up and your eyes forward when you walk.
- Make sure to not slouch. Instead, keep your shoulders back and down, with an upright spine.
- It’s important to not overstride as well since this can cause discomfort in your knees and ankles. Instead, think about a faster movement of your legs, rather than stretching them out.
And, following up on the previous tip, make sure you don’t wear the wrong shoes while walking. Instead, wear shoes with cushioning so they can absorb the shock of your foot hitting the ground.
3. Remember to Hydrate
Always have something to drink on hand so you can quench your thirst when it strikes. Bring along a large bottle of water.
Consider bringing low calorie electrolyte drink with you to maintain high energy levels and replenish lost fluids.
When going on a long walk, it’s a good idea to bring some snacks with you. Some good options include energy bars, energy gels, trail mix, and fruit.
4. Learn to Walk at a Variety of Paces
Start your walk slowly for 5–10 minutes, and then pick up the pace so that your heart rate goes up to 60% of your maximum heart rate.
If you plan to gradually work up to walking 5 miles a day or even 10 miles a day, it’s important to start pacing yourself and gradually increase your mileage. This will help build endurance and stamina in a sustainable way without injuries and excessive fatigue.
Remember that your risk of becoming exhausted, fatigued, and injured will increase if you walk too quickly. So take it slow and work your way up, especially if you haven’t been working out for a while or feel that your overall fitness levels are low currently.
Bonus: Use a Pedometer
A simple pedometer or a fitness watch that tracks steps are both excellent tools for monitoring your level of activity.
We know that what we measure we manage, so start measuring! It’s really fun to see your progress.
Increasing your daily step total is motivating, and studies show that the more steps you can take each day, the better your health will get.
As mentioned above, 2 miles a day roughly equates to 4,100 steps. Tracking your mileage and steps will not only motivate you to walk farther but also lead to overall consistency in your new workout routine.
A lot of people love having a FitBit Versa or an Apple watch to track steps. Those are fantastic tools that will also transition with you in to running. But if you know your ultimate goal is to start run/walking or just running then I’d get a basic Garmin to track your workouts!
How to Lose Weight by Walking 2 Miles a Day
If you’re looking to lose weight by walking 2 miles a day, here are a few tips that will help you:
1. Increase Your Pace
When it comes to weight loss, the pace of your walks is just as important as the intensity of your walks. As your heart rate increases, you burn more calories; this is often referred to as the ‘fat-burning heart rate zone.’
Your body uses more stored fat for energy than simple sugar and carbs when you exercise in zone 2, which is 70% of your maximum heart rate. This makes you lose fat and lose overall weight as well.
To figure out your fat-burning heart rate, you must first figure out your maximum heart rate. The easiest way to do this is to
- subtract your age from 220
- multiply that number by 0.70 to get your fat-burning heart rate zone
So if you’re 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is 220 – 40, which is 180. And so, your fat-burning heart rate zone is 180 x 0.70 which is 126 beats per minute.
You can buy an affordable heart rate monitor to easily track your heart rate and use it to help determine your pace.
**Please remember that the total number of calories you burn over time is far more important than whether they come from fat or carbs. That’s why as you progress, it’s important to have a variety of workout intensities if weight loss is your goal. That means incline walking, treadmill walking workouts, etc.
2. Increase the Intensity
You’ll sweat more and burn more calories when your workout is more intense. It’s also important to have variety in your walks because that’s how you’ll get faster, fitter and increase your endurance.
If you live in a hilly area, you could walk up hills to make your walk more challenging. Find a set of stairs to throw in to the mix!
Another way is to use the incline setting on your treadmill!
3. Incorporate Strength Training
While I absolutely do NOT recommend carrying weights while you walk, you absolutely MUST spend some time strength training.
Even 20 minutes of a full bodyweight workout a few times a week is going to pay off. As we age we naturally begin to lose muscle, which means that we lose strength and our metabolism slows down.
If you don’t do something besides cardio (which is walking) to offset that, then you’ll be very frustrated by your results.
4. Pay Attention to Your Diet
No matter how much you walk, if you’re not paying attention to your diet and neglecting overall nutrition, you won’t be able to lose weight.
This alone is a full article, which is why I’ve written a lot about nutrition with the help of many Registered Dietitians.
But it always comes down to a few basic principles:
- Increase your lean protein intake to help with hunger and muscle building
- Eat a well-balanced diet with whole grains (YES CARBS) to get enough fiber
- Incorporate all the colors in fruits and vegetables to get tons of nutrients (sneaky vegetable ideas!)
- Think about switching up your snacks to move away from highly processed sugary foods
- Drink more water (try putting lemon in it or the electrolyte powders for some flavor)
5. Be Consistent
If you want results, then consistency is what will make that happen. If you walk for 2 miles a day for a few days and stop, then you don’t end up losing weight. Work on first establishing a habit of walking 2 miles a day and then gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your walks.
These are just a few tips to help you lose weight by walking 2 miles a day. Remember, consistency is key!
Is Walking 2 Miles A Day Enough For Health?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, to lower their risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases.
To put this into perspective, that’s the equivalent of walking for 30 minutes, five days a week.
It takes at least 30 minutes to walk two miles every day, and if you’re going any faster than four miles per hour, you’re probably doing vigorous exercise rather than moderate.
So, if you walk at least 2 miles a day at least five days a week, you will go above and beyond these suggestions.
As I’ve mentioned a few times in this article, walking 2 miles a day is approximately 4,100 steps. If you’ve heard of most suggested daily step goals, then you’ll know that usually 10,000 steps a day is recommended which is about 5 miles a day.
But that doesn’t mean that walking 2 miles a day isn’t good enough. In fact, according to research, a daily step count of 4,400 is associated with a 41% lower risk of death when compared to a daily step count of less than 2,700. The mortality risk continues to decline until approximately 7,500 steps per day, at which point it stabilizes.
So, regardless of how you look at it, walking 2 miles a day is incredibly beneficial and will lead to a ton of health improvements.
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