Walking 4 miles a day is a goal for many people looking to become more active and lose weight.
Unlike running or cycling, many people don’t see walking as exercise.
Even better, it’s an easy and affordable way to increase your activity levels.
It is for these reasons that walking is a powerful way to incorporate lifestyle changes and improve your overall health.
Walking 4 miles a day can be a workout in itself, or you can add walking as a warm up before a strength training workout.
Ultimately, setting and achieving a daily goal like walking 4 miles a day can be a great way to change your life.
So what exactly are the pros and cons of walking 4 miles a day, and how much weight can you expect to lose by doing so?
In this guide we’ll explore:
- What will walking 4 miles a day do for your body?
- How long does it take to walk 4 miles a day?
- How much weight can you lose by walking 4 miles a day?
- How many calories can you burn by walking 4 miles a day?
- Should you walk 4 miles a day?
- Tips for losing weight by walking 4 miles a day
What will walking 4 miles a day do for your body?
Experts agree that walking every day is crucial for leading a healthy lifestyle.
It is recommended you walk between 8,000 and 10,000 steps each day.
This is equivalent to roughly 4 miles – depending on your pace and stride length.
By walking 4 miles a day you will be taking the necessary steps (excuse the pun) to improve your physical and mental well-being.
Walking will help you to:
- Lose weight and burn calories
- Lower your blood pressure
- Improve your heart health
- Boost your mood
- Reset your circadian rhythm
- Improve overall quality of life
Lose weight and burn calories
As we explain later in this guide, walking is a beginner-friendly way to lose weight and burn calories.
If you’d prefer to stick with low impact exercise in order to achieve your weight loss goals, then walking is a perfect way to shed the pounds.
Lower your blood pressure
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), walking lowers systolic blood pressure by 4.11mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.79mm Hg.
Adding that it can also lower your resting heart rate by 2.76 beats per minute.
These findings are important because high blood pressure (hypertension) can contribute to heart disease.
Your blood pressure is affected by your physical activity levels and lifestyle habits.
Improve your heart health
The American Heart Association explains that walking offers many benefits and is some of the best exercise for heart health.
Walking can also improve your cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Boost your mood
Walking helps boost your mood because it increases blood flow and circulation to the brain and body.
It also has a positive influence on the central nervous system as it releases ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins in your body.
Endorphins are your body’s natural pain relief system and help you feel relaxed and at ease.
Reset your circadian rhythm
Taking a walk in the morning can assist in setting your natural circadian rhythm.
You can think of the circadian rhythm as your body’s natural 24-hour clock.
When it’s working properly, it helps to improve your sleep cycle and promote a healthy night’s sleep.
Even light aerobic exercise like walking or a light jog is enough to optimise your circadian rhythm.
Improve overall quality of life
As we have explained, walking has many mental and physical benefits.
And perhaps what’s more important is that it can help you feel part of a community and reduce loneliness and isolation.
Related: Walking 3 miles a day: 5 surprising benefits
How long does it take to walk 4 miles a day?
How fast you are able to walk 4 miles will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, gender, health and walking speed.
Experts generally agree that the average walking speed is 2.5 to 4mph, which means you can expect to walk a mile in between 15 to 22 minutes.
So across 4 miles, you can expect to walk it between 1 hour and 1 hour 45 minutes depending on your walking speed.
Related: How many miles should I run a day? Benefits + risks of running every day
How much weight can you lose by walking 4 miles a day?
It takes 20 steps to burn 1 calorie.
Therefore walking 10,000 steps (4 miles) you will burn 500 calories.
Research tells us that roughly 3,500 calories equates to about 1 pound of fat.
So if you burn 500 calories by walking 4 miles a day, you may be able to lose around 1 pound per week.
Combined with lifestyle changes, this is a pretty powerful way to lose weight over time.
Related: Walking a mile a day: Benefits + 7 tips to get you started
How many calories can you burn by walking 4 miles a day?
As we mentioned before, you can burn up to 500 calories by walking 4 miles a day.
Across a week, this amounts to 3,500 calories.
However, the number of calories that you are actually able to burn will depend on a number of factors, including how heavy you are and how fast you walk.
It also depends on your calorie deficit.
Essentially, you need to burn more calories than you get from your food.
Let’s take a look at these scenarios based on a 180-pound person:
|Scenario 1: No change||Scenario 2: Fat loss||Scenario: Fat gain|
|Number of calories burned naturally (aka your metabolism)||1,800||1,800||1,800|
|Number of calories burned by walking 4 miles a day||500||500||500|
|Number of calories consumed via food||2,300||1,800||2,800|
In scenario 1, the number of calories in and out are in balance, so this individual can’t expect much change in terms of weight loss.
In scenario 2, the number of calories are out of balance because the individual kept their calorie intake at 1,800 calories a day, so weight loss can happen.
In scenario 3, the number of calories are also out of balance because the individal consumed more calories via food, so weight loss cannot happen.
Related: Walking 10 miles a day: Is it good for weight loss?
Should you walk 4 miles a day?
Whilst walking daily has its benefits, walking 4 miles a day is not for everyone.
If you have a busy schedule or a family to look after, for instance, walking the equivalent of 10,000 steps a day may not be feasible for you.
In addition, there seems to be more recent evidence that shows that walking 10,000 steps a day may be too much to strive for.
A recent study found that walking just 4,400 steps a day would be sufficient to reduce the likelihood of premature death by around 40%.
Adding that if you walk up to 7,500 steps a day you will continue to see benefits, but from there onwards, the benefits tapered off.
In other words, according to this new research, walking 10,000 steps a day does not come with any additional health advantages.
Ultimately, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to exercise.
So if you’re considering walking 4 miles a day, think first about what you want to get out of it.
Overexerting yourself and ignoring much-needed recovery will only go so far.
In more extreme cases, overexercising can lead to injuries and can suppress your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to infections for up to 72 hours.
Related: Walking one hour a day: Benefits + expected results
Tips for walking 4 miles a day
Now you know more about the pros and cons of walking 4 miles a day, here’s how to get started:
#1 Take it slowly
If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle and are looking for more ways to get active, then take it slowly before delving deep into a daily walking routine.
Walking 4 miles a day can be physically demanding so take it in your stride and take regular recovery breaks.
#2 Wear the right shoes
Depending on the terrain that you will be walking on, make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the job.
Many people find that running shoes are suitable for walking 10,000 steps a day, whereas others find a pair of proper walking shoes are better for the task.
#3 Expect some muscle soreness
As with any form of physical activity, you may experience muscle soreness and stiffness within 24 hours of finishing your walk.
Gentle stretching and activities like yoga and Pilates are great to take care of any achy muscles.
#4 Keep hydrated
Whilst walking is considered a form of low impact exercise, it’s still important to stay hydrated before, during and after your walk.
Dehydration can cause fatigue and muscle cramps and soreness, so make sure you keep a bottle of water handy with you at all times.
#5 Walk with a friend
Walking with a friend is a much more fun way to get your daily steps in.
And if you want to take it up a notch, why not consider joining your local walking group and network in the process.
#6 Take a hike
If you’re lucky enough to live near beautiful countryside, then take a hike!
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore what your local area has to offer.
It also has additional benefits for fat loss and increasing the number of calories you are able to burn by walking.