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Here are the surprising benefits of walking 3 miles a day

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Walking is one of the most accessible ways to get fit. 

There’s no wonder that doctors across the land prescribe something as simple as walking to their patients.

Walking 3 miles a day is seen as an admirable goal if you’re looking to up your daily step count or simply get outdoors more. 

Not only is it free, but it’s a great form of low impact exercise that is gentle on your muscles, bones and joints. 

There are also other surprising benefits which we’ll explore in this guide. 

We’ll also look at:

  • Why walk 3 miles a day? 
  • How many steps is 3 miles?
  • 5 surprising benefits of walking every day
  • Walking 3 miles a day: How to do it 
  • Results of walking 3 miles a day 

Ready?

Let’s get going! 

walking 3 miles a day

Why walk 3 miles a day? 

Many people choose to walk every day to improve their fitness.

Walking is seen as a great way to improve your endurance and stamina, as well as your physical and mental well-being. 

It’s also a great way to gradually build your fitness without jumping into a crazy new fitness routine. 

Fitness crazes like HIIT and CrossFit show no sign of going away.

But there’s no hiding from the fact that they are very physically demanding and for many this just isn’t sustainable. 

And if you’re looking to start something like running, then it’s recommended you build your fitness first through activities like walking. 

Training programs like Couch to 5k are so popular because they combine walking and running intervals.

This means they are great for beginners looking to gradually ease themselves into running.

Related: Walking one hour a day: Benefits + expected results

How many steps is 3 miles?

Walking 3 miles a day means taking around 6,000 – 7,000 steps. 

Of course, the exact number will depend on your height and stride length.

But walking 3 miles a day is an admirable goal if you’re looking to up your daily step count!

Research tells us that you should aim to walk between 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy.

We all know that this isn’t always realistic – especially if you have a full time job, a family to look after, or both!

By walking 3 miles a day, you will be going a long way to up your daily step count – which is better than sitting on the couch after all. 

Related: Walking a mile a day: Benefits + 7 tips to get you started

walking 3 miles a day

Related: Walking 4 miles a day: Is it good for weight loss?

5 surprising benefits of walking 3 miles a day

There are many benefits of walking 3 miles a day. 

Not only will you be getting your daily steps in, you’ll be getting your daily dose of the great outdoors which has proven benefits for your mental health.  

There are also other surprising benefits of walking every day that you may not be aware of – from reducing your cravings for sugary snacks to even improving your gut health!

Here are 5 surprising benefits of walking 3 miles a day:

#1 Counteracts the effects of obesity-promoting genes

We all know the benefits of running when it comes to losing weight. 

Running is one of the best activities when it comes to burning calories, compared with other forms of aerobic exercise like cycling and swimming. 

Likewise, walking has its own benefits for maintaining a healthy weight. 

According to a 2012 study on 7,740 women and 4,564 men, walking briskly for about an hour a day reduces the genetic influence towards obesity by half. 

The study adds that leading a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 per cent. 

#2 Helps with sugary snack cravings

Research tells us that exercise reduces the urge for chocolate in normal weight people.

A 2015 study examined the effects of a 15 minute brisk walk on urges to consume sugary snacks in overweight individuals.

The study found that exercise reduces urges for sugary snacks like chocolate in overweight people in stressful situations. 

So if you’re a self-confessed chocolate lover, then walking may help to curb your chocolate cravings! 

walking 3 miles a day

#3 Reduces the risk of breast cancer

Many studies over the years have shown consistently that increased physical activity is linked to a lower breast cancer risk.

According to the American Cancer Society, women who walk seven or more hours a week have a 14 per cent lower risk of breast cancer compared with those who walked three hours or less per week. 

The link between breast cancer and exercising is not fully understood.

It is thought that exercise regulates hormones including estrogen and insulin, both of which can fuel breast cancer growth. 

Regular physical activity also helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important when regulating hormone levels.

#4 Keeps the immune system healthy

Regular exercise such as walking and cycling helps to boost your immune system.

The immune system is a complex system of cells, tissues and organs that work together to help fight off illness, infections and disease.

According to UCLA, walking regularly benefits your immune system by helping cells perform effectively – increasing blood flow, reducing stress and inflammation, and strengthening antibodies. 

Walking also helps white blood cells roam around the body as needed. 

Even just 20 minutes of exercise boosts the immune system and helps to regenerate cells.

So by walking 3 miles a day you’ll be taking the appropriate measures to improve your immune system. 

walking 3 miles a day

#5 Improves gut health

A 2015 study concluded that regular exercise helps to diversify gut bacteria. 

Gut bacteria influences your overall health and immune function, and is affected by a number of factors, including:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Ethnicity
  • Health
  • Disease

The study explains how one third of adult gut bacteria (known as microbiota) is similar between most individuals, but diversity is associated with a healthier status. 

#6 Eases joint pain

Many people think that regular exercise can be detrimental on your bones and joints, when in fact research tells us that walking reduces arthritis-related pain. 

Contrary to what you might think, walking helps protect your joints by lubricating them and strengthening your muscles that support them. 

Your knees and hips – which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis – particularly benefit from a regular walking routine. 

Related: How many miles should I run a day? Benefits + risks of running every day

walking 3 miles a day

Walking 3 miles a day: How to do it 

Now you know all about the benefits of walking 3 miles a day, here are some creative ways to get your daily steps in. 

#1 Walk to work

Active travel has become increasingly popular over the last few decades as people look for greener and healthier ways to travel.

Like run commuting, walking to work is seen as an environmentally-friendly way to travel to work, along with cycling.

If your commute to work is more than 3 miles, or you don’t fancy walking the entire way, then consider walking part of the way and catching public transport for the rest of the way. 

#2 Go for a lunchtime stroll

If you’re stuck behind a desk all day, then a lunchtime walk is a great way to get some time away from the glare of your computer or laptop.

Carve time out in your diary to ensure you make the most of your lunchtime break. 

walking 3 miles a day

#3 Get an under the desk treadmill

Although walking outdoors is great for your daily dose of vitamin D, this is not always possible if you have a busy lifestyle or are stuck behind a desk.

Desk treadmills have exploded since 2020, with more people opting to have an under the desk treadmill in order to keep active while they work. 

It’s worth noting that not all tasks are suited for a desk treadmill – sometimes you just need to sit down and concentrate. 

But many people find they get energy from walking while they work – so perhaps this could be an option for you!

#4 Walk with a weight vest

If you’re looking to increase the intensity of your walk, then why not try walking with a weight vest.

A weight vest is a specially created workout vest that includes weights in order to increase the overall weight of the vest.

Weighted vests are typically used for activities such as walking, hiking, running, exercise, fitness drills and more.

They come in a variety of different weights depending your abilities and fitness goals.

There are many benefits to walking with a weight vest.

Not only does it make your muscles stronger, it improves your form and posture and improves your athletic performance.

#5 Walk with your dog

If you have a dog, then you may agree that walking with your dog is probably one of the best and most fun ways to get your daily dose of exercise.

Related: Walking 2 miles a day: 12 benefits + how to start

walking 3 miles a day

Results of walking 3 miles a day

By walking 3 miles a day consistently over a period of time, you will see positive results for your physical and mental wellbeing, including:

  • Improved mental health.
  • Improved fitness levels.
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness.
  • Improved focus and energy levels. 

You may also see changes around your waistline. Walking every day helps you to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Burn more calories.
  • Burn belly fat. 
  • Strengthen bones and muscles.

Related: What does running do for your body? 10 benefits of running

Caroline Geoghegan
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