Any exercise is good for you, but many people avoid walking because it doesn’t seem like “real” exercise. But the truth is, walking as little as a mile or two a day can be incredibly beneficial.
If you’re just starting an exercise routine, you don’t need to sign up for a gym membership or start a couch to 5k run program. Walking is the best way to start building a healthy habit. And you can always progress to something more intense later.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of walking 2 miles and our top tips to get you started as quickly and safely as possible.
How Far Is 2 Miles?
2 miles is just over 8 laps on a full-sized track. If you use kilometers, you’ll need to walk approximately 3.2 kilometers to make up 2 miles!
How Long Does It Take to Walk 2 Miles?
There’s no specific answer to this question because it depends on how fast you walk!
Most people can walk 2 miles in about 30 to 45 minutes. But if you take longer than that, it’s okay!
How long it takes you on any given day depends on your fitness level, age, and how hard you’re pushing yourself. For example, if you’re taking a leisurely walk, it may take you 55 minutes. But if you’re power-walking, it could take you 35 minutes.
But it could also take longer to walk 2 miles if you’re walking on rough, uneven surfaces like a trail. Walking on the treadmill or pavement may help you walk faster since you don’t have to watch your step as much.
The Benefits of Walking
Walking is one of the best forms of cardio you can do. It has multiple benefits that make it a better choice than running for many people!
Here are some benefits of walking you’ll experience when you begin.
Low-Impact, Weight-Bearing Exercise
Walking is what’s known as a load-bearing activity. That means that because you’re carrying weight—i.e., your body weight—your muscles, joints, and bones get stronger the more of this type of exercise you do.
Weight-bearing exercise becomes even more important as we age. It’s an extremely important part of preventing osteoarthritis, which is common in older women. But it can happen to anyone, so walking is an excellent activity for people of all ages and abilities.
Walking is also much more low-impact than running. This means that your joints aren’t subjected to as much force, so you should be less at risk of developing joint pain and problems.
For older adults, walking can be a game-changer. A recent study found that of over 1,500 participants, those who walked for an hour every week were far more likely to be injury-free and disability-free four years later.
Walking Can Support Weight Loss Goals
Walking 2 miles can burn anything from 100 to 300 calories, depending on your weight and how fast you walk.
While this is great, you’re not likely to lose a significant amount of weight just by walking. But it does mean that walking can be a great supplement to weight loss.
You will need to adjust your diet accordingly to eat fewer calories than you’re burning. Don’t think that means eating less than 300 calories! You need to work out your basal metabolic rate—the total number of calories your body burns, including walking, breathing, fiddling, and exercise.
Once you know that, you can track your calories in an app like MyFitnessPal. To ensure that you’re burning more than you’re eating, use a fitness tracker or smartwatch to get a rough estimate of how many calories you burn per walk!
We highly recommend tracking your calories, as it’s the best way to know if you’re on your way to losing weight or not! But getting into a regular walking habit can also help to shift your mindset into a healthier one and encourage you to make healthier choices.
Interestingly, research suggests that walking regularly can improve the regularity and quality of your bowel movements, which can speed up your metabolism and increase weight loss.
May Increase Your Lifespan
Walking 2 miles a day means taking about 4,000 steps, give or take a few. Studies have shown that walking 4,400 steps a day significantly increases lifespan and increases proportionally up to about 7,500 steps.
Another study indicated that walking just 1,000 steps a day could lower your systolic blood pressure by 0.45 points, reducing your chance of heart disease.
Other studies show the benefits of walking for reducing blood sugar levels, lowering your chance of a cardiovascular event, and even boosting your mood.
You May Sleep Better
As well as gaining some excellent physical benefits from walking regularly, it can also help you to get a better night’s rest at the end of the day.
The Sleep Foundation cites several studies that indicate the effectiveness of regular exercise for improved sleep quality.
Another interesting bit of research showed that healthy adults with a daily walking routine reported a notable positive impact on sleep quality. It also helped ease pain and reduce stress, which were reported to interrupt sleep.
It’s a Mood-Booster
Did you know that just 10 minutes of walking can make you feel better and improve your mood? If you walk through or past nature, the mood-boosting effect will be amplified!
Requires No Fancy Equipment
One of the most amazing things about walking as a sport is that you need no special equipment and you don’t have to pay to do it! All you need is a pair of shoes that support your feet and enough space to walk.
How to Get Started Walking 2 Miles
Does walking 2 miles every day sound like a good plan to you? Here are our top tips on how to get started the right way.
Get the Right Shoes
Your shoes are the most important equipment you’ll need for walking. It’s a good idea to get yourself a new pair when you begin walking, so you can ensure you get a pair that suits your feet.
It’s not just about style. You need a shoe that supports your feet properly so that you’re comfortable and have less chance of injury.
Do your feet roll inwards when you walk? You’re probably an overpronator, which means you’ll need a stable walking shoe—a walking shoe for flat feet.
These shoes feature some kind of extra support features inside the midsole, so your foot won’t roll inwards and potentially damage ligaments and tendons.
If your feet don’t do this, you can wear almost any pair of shoes. But make sure they fit properly, are comfortable, and have a decent grip so you can walk safely.
Wear the Right Clothing
Wearing the wrong clothes can make your walk unpleasant! But wearing the right clothing can make you feel great.
Choose workout clothes made from polyester, nylon, spandex, or Merino wool. These are thin, comfortable, moisture-wicking, and breathable enough to keep you cool when you start to get sweaty.
Avoid cotton clothing! It tends to absorb moisture, leaving you feeling weighed down, soggy, and just plain uncomfortable.
Also, don’t attempt to walk 2 miles in jeans, boots, work shoes, or anything that isn’t designed to be activewear. While you may be tempted to get your 2 miles in immediately after work, your feet won’t be happy when you’re done!
Learn How to Walk Properly
Don’t neglect your form when walking! Of course, we walk every day, but if you’re doing it wrong, you may find yourself sore or stiff in places you really shouldn’t be.
Here’s how to walk with proper form:
- Keep your head up and look forward, not downwards.
- Relax your neck and shoulders, but maintain a good posture.
- Tighten your stomach muscles slightly and tuck your bottom in.
- Swing your arms lightly and freely, with a slight bend in your elbow.
- Take shorter but comfortable strides – don’t overstride!
- Walk smoothly, rolling your foot from the heel to the toe.
Figure Out How to Measure Distance
You won’t know that you’ve walked 2 miles unless you can measure that distance! A fitness tracker or smartwatch can help. You can also download a walking app on your phone, meaning you will need to take your phone with you on each walk.
Start With One Mile
If 2 miles seem intimidating, start with one mile. Remember, if you’re walking from home, you’ll need to aim for half a mile from the house, where you can then turn around and make your way back for the full mile.
Once you can walk a full mile comfortably, you can push for 1.75 miles, and then go for 2 miles. There’s no need to rush the process. Every day you’re making progress!
If you can start with 2 miles from the beginning, there’s no need to start with less. It’s all about your comfort level and ability!
Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated
Even starting with one mile, you need to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and even heat exhaustion. Take a water bottle with you on your walk and take small sips to stay hydrated throughout your walk.
Find New Ways to Get a Walk In
If you want to get into the habit of walking, find new ways to do it throughout the day! While we’ve already spoken about not doing your 2-mile walk in work shoes, you can find ways to get in more steps during the day to get your body used to walking.
Walk to work if it’s close enough, go for a short walk during your lunch break, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk around while speaking on the phone. Even a few hundred extra steps in your day can make a difference to your health!
Walking 2 miles a day is only effective for your health and fitness if you’re doing it often and for an extended period of time. You’ll need to do it consistently to build a habit, and this is when you’ll see the best results.