Did you know, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just 150 minutes of walking a week can do wonders for your health and well-being?
Walking isn’t just about getting from one place to another; it can also be fun.
Want to soak in the sights and sounds of your neighborhood? Lace-up those shoes and hit the sidewalk.
Need to clear your mind and de-stress? Take a stroll through the park.
Walking has many benefits beyond physical well-being; it can also be a powerful way to enhance mental well-being.
Take into account the benefits of walking. It may not be trendy or flashy, but it’s an age-old exercise that will benefit your mind and body.
So, let’s dive in deeper by exploring the many benefits of walking 4 miles a day.
Benefits of Walking 4 Miles a Day
Walking is an empowering force with positive effects that reach beyond the physical, mental, and spiritual realms. Dismissing it would be like neglecting part of your identity – don’t believe me?
Here are some scientifically proven advantages associated with walking.
1. Increases Heart & Blood Circulation
Studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of walking on blood circulation. Research published in the American Heart Association’s journal “Hypertension” showed that 40 minutes of moderate physical activity three times a week significantly reduced blood pressure for people with hypertension (1).
Another study published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” demonstrated that 30 minutes of vigorous walking daily, five days a week, significantly reduced cholesterol levels (2).
Additionally, a review of 18 studies published in “The Journal of Physical Therapy Science” demonstrated that walking can increase peripheral blood flow, potentially decreasing the risk for peripheral artery disease and other circulatory issues (3).
Walking is worth considering if you’re searching for a quick and effective way to improve your blood circulation.
Tie up those sneakers and hit the sidewalk – your heart (and entire body) will thank you!
2. Promotes Weight Loss
Walking may not be the newest fitness craze, but it should not be overlooked regarding weight loss. Research has demonstrated that simply getting up and moving your feet helps you shed and maintain those extra pounds over time.
One study discovered that 30 minutes of vigorous walking a day, five days a week, can result in weight loss of approximately 2.7 pounds over 12 weeks (4).
If you’re up for the challenge, walking 10,000 steps per day (about 5 miles) has been proven to significantly decrease body weight and BMI for overweight individuals (5).
Everyone’s weight loss journey is unique and depends on starting weight, walking intensity, and genetics. But with consistency and dedication to exercise, walking can be an efficient and effective way to reach your weight loss objectives.
3. Enhances Mental Health
In addition to these physical advantages, studies have demonstrated the benefits of walking 4 miles a day on an individual’s mental health.
For instance, research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicated that just 30 minutes a day for three days a week was associated with significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression among older adults (6).
Another study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that walking outdoors was associated with improved moods and reduced symptoms of depression (7).
Participants who took a 90-minute stroll through nature showed reduced activity in the part of their brain associated with depression compared to those walking in an urban setting.
So the next time you feel depressed or overwhelmed, walk outside and relax.
4. Improves Cognitive Performance
Walking boosts memory and thinking skills and enhances cognitive performance in various ways.
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease revealed that regular walking was linked to a larger hippocampus (the brain region responsible for memory and learning) among older adults with memory complaints (10).
Another study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine demonstrated that walking for 10 minutes at a time improved cognitive performance among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (11).
Walking has long been known to improve cognitive performance in healthy young adults. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition revealed that walking improved creativity and divergent thinking (the capacity to generate multiple solutions to a problem) indoors and outdoors (12).
Walking can provide a cognitive boost to enhance performance on various tasks regardless of age or health status. Making regular walks part of your routine benefits physical well-being and mental agility.
5. Fosters Social Connections
Walking is the ultimate way to multitask: you get fit, socialize, and explore all at once! It’s like getting three for the price of one!
Why spend money on a fancy gym membership when you can get fitter, have more fun, and make new friends by simply taking steps forward?
Walking makes for an invaluable multitasker!
Walking offers you a chance to bond with your squad and can also be beneficial for your mental health. Being outdoors in nature and taking in the fresh air can profoundly affect your mood and overall well-being.
Plus, when you’re out with friends, you can share your struggles, celebrate successes, and have some good old-fashioned conversation – it’s like having a mini therapy session on the go!
Let’s not forget the social aspect of walking, either! Joining a walking group or club can be an excellent way to meet new people and expand your social circle. No matter if you’re starting or have been doing this for a while, there will surely be a group for everyone in this great activity.
Who knows, you might even meet your future best friend or significant other on a group walk! It’s like a real-life dating app but with less swiping and more sweating.
6. Increases Energy
Studies have demonstrated that walking can increase energy levels and decrease fatigue. A study by the University of Georgia discovered sedentary individuals who engaged in regular low-intensity exercises like walking experienced significant increases in their energy levels and reduced fatigue (13).
According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, taking a 10-minute walk was more effective at increasing energy levels than eating a candy bar (14).
Additionally, studies have demonstrated that walking outdoors in natural settings can improve moods and reduce stress, leading to greater energy levels (15).
If you’re fatigued and need a pick-me-up, walk around the block or through an adjacent park.
7. Improves Sleep Quality
A good night’s sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. According to research by the National Sleep Foundation, regular exercise like walking can help us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer (16).
Walking helps regulate our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that controls our sleep-wake cycle. According to a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, participants who walked for at least 150 minutes per week experienced significant improvements in their sleep quality and duration (17).
Additionally, walking has been proven to alleviate symptoms associated with sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea, according to a study published in The Journal of Sleep Research, participants who engaged in regular moderate-intensity exercises like walking experienced significant reductions in their symptoms (18).
Walking can also help alleviate stress and anxiety, which may contribute to poor sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discovered that participants who walked for at least 30 minutes per day experienced significant reductions in their stress levels and improved sleep quality (19).
If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, try adding a daily walk into your routine. It will burn calories, improve your physical fitness level, and provide restful, restorative sleep so that you feel your best the following morning.
8. Helps Reduce Blood Sugar
Did you know you can control your blood sugar levels by walking?
Yes, that is true. Research has proven that taking a 15-minute walk after every meal, i.e., breakfast, lunch, and dinner, can help lower blood sugar levels. (20)
Research has said that taking a 15-minute stroll thrice a day is far better than walking for 45 straight minutes at any other time.
9. Reduces Joint Pain
Individuals often stop moving or walking when they feel knee or hip pain. This may be due to weak bones, poor strength, or even arthritis.
Research has demonstrated that walking can help protect your joints and reduce pain. When you take a walk, your knees and other joints move, which helps in lubricating and strengthening the muscles that support your joints.
Moreover, waking has proven beneficial for people with arthritis, as it helps reduce the pain. Taking a regular 5-6 mile walk may help you prevent arthritis. (21)
10. Improves Immune System
If you’re one of those who tend to get flu and cold very often, you need to start walking every day.
Studies have shown that walking throughout the day for 30-45 minutes can help you reduce your sick days.
A study conducted on 1,000 adults during the flu season demonstrated that 43% of these adults, who walked 30-45 minutes a day had fewer sick days and upper respiratory tract infections compared to others. (22)
Moreover, these 43% who did get sick suffered lessened symptoms compared to other adults who didn’t walk.
How To Walk 4 Miles A Day Everyday
Now that you understand the advantages of walking, how can it become part of your routine? It is low-impact and accessible from anywhere. However, walking four miles may seem daunting at first glance, but with some effort and determination, it will quickly become part of your daily regimen.
Here are some tips for walking four miles daily with humor and good cheer.
- Start Slow And Steady: You don’t have to be Usain Bolt to walk 4 miles a day. Start at a slower pace and gradually increase your speed and distance over time; remember, slow and steady wins the race unless you’re competing; then, it may be beneficial to speed up some.
- Find A Walking Partner: Walking with a friend or family member can make the time fly by more quickly and make the experience more enjoyable. Just make sure they’re not an annoying, chatty Cathy who talks nonstop; that could slow down your pace and make the walk seem like an eternity.
- Track Your Progress With Pedometer: Wearing a pedometer can help track your steps and distance traveled. It’s an effective tool for monitoring progress and setting objectives – don’t get too caught up in the numbers. Remember: walking should be enjoyable, not an exercise competition!
- Switch It Up: Walking the same route daily can get dull. Break things up by exploring new neighborhoods or taking a nature walk – mix things up for something exciting and challenging! Who knows, you might even discover an unexpected favorite spot in your town!
- Create a Habit of Walking Four Miles Daily: Walking four miles daily is an impressive goal, but it won’t happen overnight. Make it part of your everyday routine by adding it to your commute to work, during lunch break, or after dinner – the more often you do it, the easier it will become.
- Stay Motivated: Motivation is essential to reaching your walking goals. Reward yourself when you reach milestones like walking 50 miles in one month or completing a 10-mile walk; just don’t reward yourself with an indulgent tub of ice cream or bag of chips – that would defeat the purpose.
- Be Safe: Safety should always be your top priority when walking. Wear comfortable shoes, dress appropriately for the weather, and bring water and snacks. If you’re walking alone, let someone know your route and expected return time ahead of time. And always remain aware of your surroundings.
Walking four miles daily is an excellent way to stay active and healthy. These tips can help make walking part of your daily routine, so grab your walking shoes, grab a friend or family member, and hit the pavement – remember to have fun, stay safe, and don’t forget to stop to smell the roses (or whatever flowers may be around).
In conclusion, walking is like a superhero that saves the day by improving your overall health and well-being.
Walking 4 miles a day offers many rewards that’ll have you feeling like the caped crusader, such as improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, mental clarity, smarter brain power, social connections, increased energy levels, and better sleep quality.
With these tips for making walking a habit, it’s now easier than ever to don your walking shoes and hit the streets.
Next time you’re looking for a way to feel like a Superhero, remember that walking is the exercise that will have you saving the world one step at a time!
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- Miyamoto T, et al. Effects of walking on peripheral blood flow in patients with peripheral arterial disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016;28(6):1841-1845.
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- Stevinson C, et al. (2017). Benefits of walking for depression maintenance in middle-aged adults with depressive symptomatology: Results of a randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 52(6):e165-e172.
- Bratman GN, et al. (2015). Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(28):8567-8572.
- Cooney GM, et al. (2013). Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (9): CD004366.
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
- Erickson KI, et al. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2011;108(7):3017-22.
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- Puetz, T. W., Flowers, S. S., & O’Connor, P. J. (2008). A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 77(3), 167-174.
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