Can You Lose Weight by Walking 2 Miles a Day? (Quick Tricks)

Written by Nathan | Updated on 20 November 2021

With our busy schedules, including work, family, and social activities, many people don’t have the time to train for a marathon. Because of this, one question many people ask is, “Can you lose weight by walking 2 miles a day?”

The answer is yes, but the real question is – what’s the best or most healthy way of establishing this habit, how much time will it take, is there any quick tips to make it easier, and is walking even a good approach for slimming down?

Take a walk with us and let us help you along this journey of 2, or a thousand miles…

 

How Much Walking is Required To Burn Calories & Lose Weight?

Walking is a tried-and-true way to lose weight. Just one hour of brisk walking boosts your metabolic rate by around 250 calories,[3] which means that if you walked for that whole hour without a break, then you would have burned off a light lunch.

Walking 10,000 steps a day equals six miles and will burn an extra 3,500 calories a week – over 1 lb of body fat! [4]

Walking Burns Calories – But How Many?

How much weight you lose by walking depends on many factors. How heavy you are, how active your lifestyle is, and your daily calorie intake all factor into how much weight you can lose while walking.

Adding 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine could burn about 150 extra calories a day.[3]

Is it Safe To Walk More Than a Mile?

When wondering if you can you lose weight by walking 2 miles a day, some people wonder if it’s even safe to walk 2 miles a day. For most people, it is perfectly safe to walk 2 miles a day. However, if you have any medical concerns or conditions, check with your doctor first. Details like your current heart rate, blood pressure levels, and medications you are currently taking can affect whether you should start walking to lose weight.

If you’re obese or overweight, you might think that walking 2 miles a day is the perfect way to become healthy. However, take extreme caution! If you have been obese and sedentary for a long time, your body may not be ready for walking 2 miles a day.

Consult with your primary care physician before committing to a walking exercise regimen if you’re obese. Your doctor or nurse practitioner might have you take certain precautions, like performing some stretches, losing weight, slowly working your way up to walking 2 miles a day, or a combination of these courses of action.

The American Heart Association recommends, at minimum, 30 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity, five days a week, for adults.[5] This exercise can include walking, biking, swimming, or even dancing. If you’re above 65 years old or have pre-existing medical conditions, though, you should consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.

How Much Time Does it Take to Walk 2 Miles?

Depending on your style of walking, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. If you take long strides and cover a lot of ground with each step, it will take less time. However, if you like to take short, slow steps, you will cover less distance, and it might take longer.

In short, your pace decides the length of time it takes you to cover those 2 miles.

How to prepare for a walk: Walking is an excellent form of exercise. However, there are some things you should do before you go for a walk – or perform any physical activity, for that matter:

Wear weather appropriate clothing: If it’s raining and cold, don’t go out and put yourself in danger of getting sick. However, if it’s sunny and hot, you should probably wear light clothes to keep cool and avoid heatstroke.

Wear shoes made for walking or running: Ensure that your shoes are comfortable, have the proper support, and are suitable for walking on different surfaces like asphalt, dirt roads, sidewalks, etc.

Hydrate: Water is an essential part of life, so be sure you’re adequately hydrated before you start walking. It’s easy to remember to hydrate on hot days, but it’s equally important to do this on cold days as well.

Warm up, stretch, and get loose: It’s a good idea to stretch your quads, calves and hips before walking but it can’t hurt to stretch the rest of your body either. 

What To Do After Walking

Congratulations, you’re taking the first steps towards weight loss! Now that you’ve finished up your walk, there are some things you should do to prevent injuries: hydrate and stretch.

I know we already covered hydration and stretching, but these are just as important after your walk as they were before. When you finish walking, your body lacks water, and your muscles are tight. Hydrating and stretching are an integral part of your body’s healing process after the damage caused by exercise. So, drink up and stretch! Your future weight loss depends on it.

Get Extra Steps Throughout the Day

Now that we’ve answered the question, if it’s possible to lose weight by walking 2 miles a day, it’s time to figure out ways you can get those extra steps throughout your day. One way that many people hit their daily step goals is by upping their steps during regular activities, such as:

  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator: If you don’t think you can climb a six-story building on foot or are concerned with becoming sweaty or out of breath, you might want to consider taking the elevator up as you come in and taking the stairs down as you exit.
  • Park further from the entrance: There are many ancillary benefits to doing this, such as not having to worry about shopping carts hitting your car, always having plenty of empty parking spaces to choose from, and worrying less about rear-ending someone else’s car while getting yours in.
  • Take meetings on the go: Are you meeting a friend for coffee? Get your coffee to go in the park and catch up while you catch up. Conducting a business meeting? Physical movement stimulates brain activity and can help you be more creative during your discussion. [6] Walking during meetings also encourages you to get to the point of your conversation instead of wasting time beating around the bush.

If you don’t want to increase your steps and still need to lose weight, you can also try adding a quick workout to your day.

One example of this is the 7-Minute Workout. You can also do some push-ups and sit-ups during commercial breaks on your favorite TV show, or even get in a few sit-ups while brushing your teeth at night! This small change in your daily routine will help you burn extra calories and keep that calorie deficit going strong!

Of course, you’re going to need some motivation for this new lifestyle change, and we’ve got you covered there as well. Some people have found it helpful to buy a new pair of walking shoes to push themselves to walk or use an activity tracker like the Fitbit or Apple Watch to track their walking goals throughout the day.

Another idea is to use Fitbit Aria’s weight scale feature to weigh yourself daily and record your progress. Seeing your daily calorie burn and weight loss can be a great way to stay motivated throughout the day!

How to Maximize Calories Lost Walking

Once you’ve started the habit of walking daily, being efficient with how you burn calories should be your next goal. Follow these quick tips to get the most weight loss out of your walk.

Pick up your pace: As with running, swimming, and cycling, your pace makes a massive difference in the number of calories you burn. A slower pace will burn way fewer calories than walking at a brisk pace.

Wear a weighted vest: Extra weight requires more energy to move. Heavier people burn more calories to complete a task than someone who does not weigh as much. Wearing a weighted vest forces your body to work harder since it must move around that extra weight in addition to your body weight. Even though the extra weight will help you burn more calories, one should avoid wearing wrist or ankle weights or carrying dumbbells. These cause weight imbalances in your body and can lead to injury.

Even weighted vests are not for everyone. Those with back or neck issues should probably avoid them altogether as they can worsen these conditions. Before using a weighted vest, it’s best to consult your doctor.

Walking uphill: Incorporating an uphill climb into your walking routine will burn more calories than walking on even ground. Uphill walking burns over twice as many calories at the same speed as simply doing an extra 10 minutes of level walking.[7] Hills can be a great way to add variety into your workout routine, and the formation of new muscle will likely lead to more weight loss over time!

Focus on form and posture: Paying attention to the nuances of your body and its movement while you walk will make you more efficient and help you burn more calories quickly.

Always look forward – it will help you increase your speed and elongate your stride. Focus on tightening your glutes and abdominal muscles during the entire walk or in short intervals to help promote calorie burn. Keeping proper form and posture while walking will build strength and help ward off injuries, allowing you to keep up your walking habit.

Incorporate resistance training: A weight-loss plan isn’t complete without at least some strength training. Strengthening the muscles in your legs, hips, arms, and core will help you burn more calories all day long, even after you’re done with your walk.

Some exercises that should be pretty simple to incorporate into your walk are lunges, push-ups, squats, and burpees. These exercises can help increase your heart rate, build muscle, and make your walk a little more interesting.

Power walking in intervals: Power walking is walking as fast as you can without jogging or running. Breaking up your walk with intervals of power walking can help increase your overall pace and burn more calories.[8]

An easy way to add these intervals is to start by walking for 5-10 minutes to get your legs and the rest of your body warmed up. For the next 10-15 seconds, increase your pace so it’s uncomfortable yet doable, then reduce your speed to your normal walking pace.

Doing multiple shorter walks per day: Even though walking 2 miles a day would be great, it might not be possible to fit in at one time. If you do multiple short walks per day (10-15 minutes), you’ll still burn calories and build some endurance. These walks can be after meals, on breaks, or between appointments. 

One study showed that blood sugar was better controlled when subjects walked 15 minutes after each meal (3 walks total) rather than 45 minutes at one time.[9]

Track and increase your daily steps: The average person gets between 3,000 and 5,000 steps each day, although most sources recommend you shoot for 10,000 steps per day, equating to roughly 5 miles of walking. [10] Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to track and continue to push yourself to increase your daily step count.

Weight Loss Basics

The first thing you need to do is make sure you are keeping up your calorie deficit. To lose weight, many people try a “crash diet” where they eat significantly less food than usual or follow something like the keto or paleo diets, which can be unsustainable in the long run. AT the end of the day, if you hit a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat and lose weight.

To calculate your ideal daily calorie intake for losing weight, take your current body weight in pounds and multiply it by:

  • 10-12 if you have a sedentary lifestyle (little/no exercise)
  • 14-16 if you have a moderate physical activity level (1-3 hours of training per week)
  • 16-18 for a high physical activity level (4+ hours of exercise per week)

For example, if you are a 200-lb woman with a sedentary lifestyle, your daily calorie intake should be around 2,000 calories. [1] If you do moderate physical activity and walk about 30 minutes a day for five days a week, you can add 500 more calories. For this particular person, their ideal daily calorie intake would end up being 2,300-2,500.

If you don’t hit your calorie goals each day, it’ll be tough to lose weight. You’ll need to cut back on your current calorie consumption or increase your exercise to maintain that deficit. Counting calories or using an app like MyFitnessPal, makes it easier to consume the right amount of calories every day.

If you are interested in walking to lose weight, you can use an app like Fitbit or Apple Health to track your walking distance throughout the day. These apps will give you a good idea of how many steps you take each day and how much time and walking it takes for you to get to 2 miles.

Eating For Weight Loss

Creating a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight, and you don’t necessarily need to walk to create this deficit. Eating more nutrient-dense foods and less calorie-rich foods will help make the calorie deficit you need to achieve your weight loss goals.[2]

Nutrient-dense foods like spinach, zucchini, avocado, bone broth, and flaxseed will give your body the fuel it needs while making you feel full faster and for longer. Calorie-rich foods like potatoes, sugar, cheese, beef and bread lack the nutrients to make you feel full, so you tend to eat more of them.

 

Old Habits Die Hard – Quick Tips

It’s true – building new habits is hard! Let’s go over some of our top tips for sticking with this recent lifestyle change in the long run. Many people start walking to lose weight but hit a plateau after 2-3 months and stop losing weight. This stagnation usually occurs because they haven’t made their walking routine into a habit that’s part of their regular life. To keep yourself from hitting this plateau, try these top tips:

Make it regular: Instead of just telling yourself that you will walk daily, try walking at the same time every day. This time could be after meals, on breaks, or right after you wake up in the morning.

If you use a day planner or day calendar to track your events, set a time that works for you every day and permanently add it to your schedule. Setting a time for walking every day can encourage you to stick to it regularly without letting other activities get in the way.

Hire a personal trainer: Hiring a personal trainer can help you get started on your walking routine and make it part of your everyday life. A good trainer will be able to give you tips and tricks for staying motivated throughout the day.

Join a walking group: Joining a walking group will add socialization to your workout routine and help motivate you throughout the day. You can also get some helpful advice, such as where to get new playlists or how to use an app like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal.

Reward your commitment: Use a rewards system! If you have a terrible weekend that leads to a week of not hitting your calorie goals, don’t let this derail your whole weight loss plan! Just keep going until you’re back on track and reward yourself when you complete four weeks in a row of hitting your daily calorie goal. You can even make these rewards small but meaningful, such as a new playlist to listen to while you walk.

Reward yourself for reaching your goals: Reward yourself for reaching a particular goal, such as 10 pounds lost or 100,000 steps! These small rewards will help keep your spirits high and your motivation strong.

Conclusion

Can you lose weight by walking 2 miles a day? Sure you can! Walking is a great way to start a weight loss journey and strive for a healthier you. Dieting can speed up the weight loss process, but sometimes it’s best to take baby steps and not make things too complex at first. Remember, a walk a day will help keep the doctor away and it can also be therapeutic to gather your thoughts and get your steps in! 

References

[1] Osilla EV, Safadi AO, Sharma S. Calories. [Updated 2021 Sep 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499909/

[2] Harvard Health. (2015, July 17). Add more nutrient-dense foods to your diet. Harvard Health. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/add-more-nutrient-dense-foods-to-your-diet 

[3] Mayo Clinic. (2019, November 21). Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/exercise/art-20050999 

[4] USDA. (n.d.). I want to lose a pound of weight. How many calories do I need to burn? | Food and Nutrition Information Center| NAL | USDA. National Agricultural Library. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/i-want-lose-pound-weight-how-many-calories-do-i-need-burn 

[5] American Heart Association. (2018, April 18). American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. American Heart Association. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults

[6] Doherty, A., & Miravalles, A. F. (2019). Physical Activity and Cognition: Inseparable in the Classroom. Frontiers in Education, 4, 105. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feduc.2019.00105/full

[7] American College of Sports Medicine. (2014). ACSM’s Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (D. P. Swain & C. A. Brawner, Eds.). Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

[8] McMorris, M., & Holland, T. (2011). Beat the Gym: Personal Trainer Secrets–Without the Personal Trainer Price Tag. HarperCollins e-books.

[9] DiPietro, L., Gribok, A., Stevens, M. S., Hamm, L. F., & Rumpler, W. (2013). Three 15-min bouts of moderate postmeal walking significantly improves 24-h glycemic control in older people at risk for impaired glucose tolerance. Diabetes care36(10), 3262–3268. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23761134/

[10] Rieck, T. (2020, March 23). 10000 steps a day: Too low? Too high? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/10000-steps/art-20317391

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.