Benefits of Walking 3 Miles a Day

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Walking is a great way to start exercising and get in shape. It’s easy to begin, simple to maintain, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment!

Almost everyone can build a decent distance daily with consistency and determination. The benefits of walking 3 miles a day will change your health! If you want to walk further, you can do that too, but 3 miles is a good starting point.

Here’s what you should know to build a regular walking habit. Follow this guide to start and continue as easily as possible!

How Far Is 3 Miles?

3 miles equals 4.8 kilometers. It’s just shy of a full 5k race, which is 3.1 miles! It’s just over 12 laps of a full-sized track.

While it depends on your height and stride, most people will walk between 6,000 and 7,000 steps in a 3-mile distance.

How Long Does It Take To Walk 3 Miles?

Most people can walk 3 miles within an hour, but exact times depend on your pace and if you take any breaks.

If you’re walking at a slower pace of 2.5 miles per hour, you can expect it take take a little over an hour. A pace of 3 miles per hour will land you right around the 1-hour mark, and a pace of 3.5 miles per hour will see you finishing in around 51 minutes.

If you’ve got a smartwatch that tracks your pace, you can predict fairly accurately how long it will take you. This will also help you to set better goals!

Can Walking 3 Miles Help You Lose Weight?

If you do it right, you can lose weight by walking 3 miles a day! It’s all about how much you eat versus how much you exercise. Or, more specifically, calories in versus calories out.

According to Harvard Health’s calculations, if you walk at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour, you can burn between 210 and 310 calories in a 3-mile walk, depending on your weight.

That’s great to know, but to use that knowledge to lose weight, you need to know how many calories your body burns on a daily basis.

To lose weight, you need to make sure you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning. That will get your body dipping into its own fat stores for energy, slimming you down!

What Are the Benefits of Walking 3 Miles a Day?

When you start walking 3 miles a day, you can expect to experience multiple benefits both mental and physical. Here are a few of them:

Reduces Your Risk of Heart Disease

It’s a fact—walking improves your cardiovascular health and lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is at the top of the list regarding the leading causes of death in the USA.

Research shows that the more you walk, the lower your chances of developing CVD. So you’ll have less risk of strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots.

Strengthens Bones and Muscles

Walking is a weight-bearing exercise. Your bones, tissues, ligaments, and tendons have to carry your body weight as you walk. These exercises have one important feature: they increase bone density and strength.

The stronger your bones—especially as you age—the less chance you have of falling, breaking bones, and suffering from osteoarthritis. Plus, walking regularly keeps your muscles working and strengthens your leg muscles.

Improved Mental Health and Stress Relief

Exercise does wonders for stress and, in turn, boosts mental health. As you exercise, endorphins get released into your bloodstream, and the rapid pumping of the heart helps them circulate quickly and lower stress.

If you walk outdoors—specifically in nature, like in a park or on a trail—evidence shows that you’ll likely experience stronger stress relief benefits.

The less stressed you are, the better your mental health overall. As a knock-on effect, you may find that anxiety and depression ease up noticeably, you can focus more and for longer periods of time, and you retain a good mood for longer!

Increased Energy Levels

It may sound strange, but the more you walk, the higher your energy levels will likely be. Getting the blood pumping and the heart beating faster is like kickstarting an engine!

The longer you keep up your walking habit, the more energy you’ll have during the day. If you walk early in the morning, this will be especially noticeable.

Reduced Blood Pressure

One of the reasons walking is so great for your cardiovascular system is that it lowers your blood pressure. Studies show without a doubt that sedentary adults have higher blood pressure than those who are active.

If you’re planning on walking 3 miles a day, you’ll be pleased to know that other research suggests that people who walk daily have lower blood pressure than those who don’t.

While this is amazing information, don’t just start walking and stop taking your meds! Stick to the BP meds, but a daily walk can be a highly effective strategy for managing your blood pressure.

Improved Posture and Balance

One of the benefits that comes with stronger bones and muscles is better balance and an improved posture. Take care when walking to use proper form; you should notice this benefit early on.

Your muscles and bones become stronger due to weight-bearing exercise, so they can more easily hold your body upright without pain or weakness.

Boosts Your Immune System

Walking gets the blood flowing, which is great for healing. Things like wounds and sore muscles can also stimulate your immune system to work better!

When you’re exercising, your heart beats faster and pumps blood more strongly. It sends oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body, to the muscles, but also to the organs.

The more oxygen your organs get, the more resistant they are to disease. Good nutrients also strengthen the cells of the blood and the organs to fight against disease or even smaller things like the flu.

Eases Joint Pain

Struggle with joint pain? Walking is a great choice of exercise. It’s not just low-impact, reducing the force of impact on your ankle, knee, and hip joints, but it can help sore joints to feel better.

Weight-bearing exercises help to keep a constant flow of synovial fluid and oxygen-rich blood through the joints. This ensures that they’re always well-lubricated and any niggles get healed quickly.

Curbs Cravings

This may sound too good to be true, but did you know that regular walking can help reduce cravings for unhealthy food?

A study shows that walking can curb cravings for sugary snacks, especially in stressful situations. This can help significantly when you’re walking to lose weight.

What Do You Need to Get Started?

There’s another huge benefit to walking—you don’t need a lot to get started. Here’s a quick list of what you should be getting before you step out to exercise.

The Right Shoes for Your Feet

As tempting as it may be, don’t just buy the first good-looking pair of shoes you see. The first thing to do is figure out your gait. Do you have a neutral foot or do you overpronate?

If you overpronate—roll your foot inwards more than normal on every step—you shouldn’t be walking in normal shoes. You should be wearing stability shoes, which are designed to support your feet and prevent injury due to this way of walking.

Clothing That Works With You

Make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing when you walk. It shouldn’t just be soft against your skin and move well with you; it should also be moisture-wicking. On hot days, you’ll appreciate the cooling effect!

Take particular note of what socks you wear. They should be a comfortable thickness so that there’s no chafing in your shoe, and avoid cotton socks at all costs! They hold onto water and will lead to discomfort and possibly blisters.

A Running Belt

A running belt isn’t a necessity, but it’s a handy thing to have. It’s unobtrusive and provides the perfect place to carry your valuables.

You can get them in varying styles and shapes, some with water bottles and some without. Choose something that works for you and what you need to carry!

Plan Your Walks

Ready to start? Planning a bit first can make a huge difference in how smoothly they go and how easily you stay motivated!

Set Your Schedule

If you’re going to be walking every day, it’s pretty easy to set a schedule! You only need to pick a time of day that suits you best. We recommend walking at the same time every day, which will help you to get into better habits and stay more consistent.

You can walk in the morning before work if you’re an early bird. Or, you can set aside an hour or so when you get home to get your work in. Whatever works for you—and you can stray from it every now and then if something else is more convenient on a day.

Choose a Route

It’s a good idea to find a route roughly 3 miles long—or 1 ½ miles there, 1 ½ miles back—and do the same route every day when starting out. This will remove stress from deciding where to walk so you can just focus on the walk.

Once you’re used to it, you can look at choosing other routes every other day, or whenever you feel like it. Make sure they’re the right distance and that you know where you’re going, though—you don’t want to get lost! Prepare in advance.

Stay Hydrated

Don’t forget to take some water with you on your walks. It’s easier to dehydrate than you think! As a rule of thumb, aim for 5 ounces of water every 15 minutes of your exercise.

So if you walk for an hour, a 20-ounce bottle of water should be good. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to take a drink—sip on it throughout your walk.

Tell Someone About Your Routine

It’s a good idea to tell someone where and when you walk. That way, if something does happen on one of your walks, someone has an idea of where you are.

Start Slow and Increase Intensity Gradually

There’s no need to leap into things. If you can’t get through 3 miles in an hour at the beginning, that’s okay! Start slow and work your way up. Don’t push yourself too hard—you don’t want to get injured when you’ve just started!

Tips to Stay Motivated

Need some extra motivation during your run? Here are some tips to keep things exciting during your runs.

  • Walk with a friend, family member, or fluff
  • Variety is the spice of life: change things up!
  • Listen to your favorite podcast or songs
  • Plan your rest days so you get the most out of them
  • Track your progress in a walking app
  • Create a reward system to motivate yourself

Prepare for Seasonal Changes and Poor Weather

Bad weather happens! You can get ahead of it by planning for it in advance. What happens if you wake up and the weather is bad? You could just stay in bed, and it’s easier to do if you don’t have a “bad weather action plan.”

But if you’re committed to walking and improving your fitness, planning ahead can save you from skipping your walk on those days. Sit down and think about:

  • Your bad weather clothing: what jacket will you wear, do you need waterproof shoes, a beanie or hat, etc
  • Alternatives to walking: What else can you do if you can’t walk on those days? Maybe a home bodyweight workout, a stair workout, or following a YouTube workout.
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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.