Getting fit, losing weight, and staying healthy doesn’t mean that you have to be doing high-intensity gym-type exercises all the time. Gentle exercises, like walking, can provide a wide range of benefits without placing undue stress on your body. In fact, walking 4 miles a day is one of the best habits you can include in your daily routine. Here are eleven reasons you should be doing it.
1. It is Moderate Exercise
Walking 4 miles per day is considered moderate exercise. That means that it is accessible to the vast majority of people. You don’t have to be a certain fitness level, level of coordination, or have a gym membership to do it.
You have probably heard that we should all be walking 10,000 steps per day to improve our overall health. That works out to about 4 miles.
2. Weight Loss
To lose weight you need to end each day in a caloric deficit, where you have burned up more calories than your calorie intake. When you add a 4-mile walk to your exercise session, you will be making that goal far more realizable. The number of calories you burn during a four-mile walk will depend on your body weight, your walking speed, and whether you are carrying hand weights.
Walking at a moderate pace as part of a weight loss plan, most people will burn between 210 and 360 calories in an hour. You should be able to around 3 miles in an hour. So, a four-mile walk will take around 80 minutes and achieve between a 280 and 480 calorie burn.
If you are consistently walking 4 miles each day, seven days per week, you will be burning off between 1,960 and 3,360 calories per week. There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. That means that you can lose close to a pound of fat per week, making it a great exercise for long-term weight loss.
3. Bone Mass Increase
As we get older, we lose bone mass, which makes us more susceptible to injury. Walking can help reverse that natural process. It is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that will increase bone density without placing undue stress on the ankle, knee, or hip joints.
4. You’ll Live Longer
We all know that exercise makes us healthier but there is specific evidence that shows that gentle walking can increase your life span. One study has found that walking for an hour or so every day increases the life span of people between the ages of 50 and 60 by eight years.
5. Cognitive Benefits
Walking workouts not only improve your physical health. There are some major brain-boosting benefits as well. There is research to show that getting into the walking habit will help to reduce natural age-related mental decline. Improved clarity of thought and ability to concentrate are also benefits of walking.
6. Stronger Muscles
Walking as part of a regular exercise routine will improve the strength of your leg muscles. Your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves will all become stronger as a result of this exercise.
Endurance is your ability to keep going. Waking 4 miles a day will improve both your muscular and your cardiovascular endurance. As a result, you will be better able to meet the challenges of your day, whether it’s running to catch a bus or climbing up a hill.
8. Improved Joint Health
That 4-mile walk will do wonders for your joints. The regular, gentle movement will enhance your blood circulation which will, in turn, increase the supply of nutrients to your joints. This will make your body joints stronger and more able to meet your everyday needs.
9. Better Sleep
Walking is the perfect antidote for insomnia. Because it is a gentle, moderate form of exercise, walking is something you can do in the early evening without hyping your body up and making it harder to get to sleep. Going for a 4-mile walk about 45 minutes after dinner will help you to relax as it gently exhausts your body physically, putting you in the ideal physical and mental state to drift off to sleep when your head hits the pillow.
10. Stress Release
When you take a 4-mile walk in the early evening, you will find your mind relaxing after the stresses of your day. You will be giving yourself time to slow down and make sense of everything that’s going on. Take your walks outdoors and you will also benefit from breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the great outdoors.
11. Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain degenerative condition that affects millions of people. Walking every day is one of the easiest ways to fight back against this disease. Research confirms that this form of exercise actually lowers a person’s risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
12. Cardiac Health
Walking is an excellent form of cardio exercise. When you do it for a sustained period of time, it will provide a gentle workout to your heart and lungs. As a result, your heart will become stronger so that it can pump more blood with every beat. Your heart rate will also slow down. Your lungs will also be able to more efficiently take oxygen into your body.
The stronger your heart and lungs, the less likely you are to suffer from heart disease.
13. Low Impact Exercise
Walking is one of the lowest impact forms of exercise that exist. It is far less jarring than running on a treadmill, skipping, or doing plyometric exercises. That makes it a very accessible type of exercise for older as well as younger people.
Walking four miles every day is a very effective form of moderate-intensity exercise that will help you to lose weight while boosting your cardio fitness, improving your energy levels, strengthening your muscles and bones, and reducing your risk of a number of age-related conditions.
I recommend adding a walking route to your day. Doing so in the early evening will have the added benefits of helping you to unwind as it sets you up for a good night’s sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get the most out of my walking workouts?
You can get more out of your walking workouts by walking at a faster pace. You can also hold hand weights or strap on ankle weights and include some hills in your walking path.