Is Walking a Mile a Day Enough Exercise?

Couple walking outdoors

Whether you desire to lose weight or get healthy, cardiovascular exercise such as walking fits the bill. The American Heart Association journal “Circulation” states physical activity can ward off ailments such as high blood pressure, obesity and high LDL cholesterol. While walking is an excellent form of physical exercise, one mile per day is less exercise than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for achieving the aforementioned health benefits. Discuss any new exercise routine with your doctor before getting started.

Adult Cardiovascular Exercise Guidelines

The CDC recommends adults perform a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular exercise per week. Moderately intense aerobic activity includes walking briskly or riding a bicycle. To meet this weekly requirement, you would need to engage in about 20 minutes of physical activity per day. However, the CDC suggests enhancing weekly aerobic requirements to 300 minutes of moderately intense physical activity for greater health benefits. Along with aerobic activity, the CDC recommends including full-body strength training exercises at least twice per week.

Walking at 3 mph

The suggested walking speed for health benefits is 3 miles per hour, according to the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. Walking at this pace would take 20 minutes to complete one mile. While 20 minutes satisfies the minimum daily requirements set forth by the CDC, to reach optimal health, 1 mile is insufficient. To exercise for 300 minutes weekly, you would need to walk slightly over 2 miles at 3 mph.

Health Benefits of Walking

Walking may help prevent Type 2 diabetes, reduce high blood pressure and improve your mental health. The Department of Cambridge Community Development states walking 1 mile in 20 minutes can burn up to 88 calories in a 150-pound person; 2 miles increases this figure to 176 calories burned.

Walking Tips

Select footwear that is comfortable and provides proper arch support. Wear clothing that is loose, and if walking at night wear bright colors. At the beginning of your workout, warm up your body for five minutes by walking slowly. Once your muscles have warmed, increase your speed to 3 mph or faster. After finishing your workout, cool down the body and muscles by walking slowly for five minutes.