I like to set 30 day challenges for myself, usually physical challenges. I’ve created a core challenge, meditation challenge, and now this newest challenge, to walk two miles a day every day for 30 days. Originally, I intended to set my goal at 3 miles per day, but I settled on 2 miles (and am glad I did).
It takes me about 35 to 45 minutes at a moderate to brisk pace to complete two miles, so make sure you put aside enough time to get it done. I walked all times of the day, sometimes early morning, occasionally mid-day, and surprisingly, mostly evenings.
So how did I do? After 30 days, I never skipped a day. Only one day, did I walk less than two miles, not for lack of trying but due to excessive heat. Overall, I walked a total of more 70 miles. I pushed myself, surprised myself, and enjoyed myself.
Read more about my challenge and let me know in the comments if this challenge is something you would do too.
This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.
- 10 Benefits I Got From Walking 2 Miles A Day for 30 days
- 1. Multi-Task
- 2. Alleviate Pain
- 3. Improve Lung Function
- 4. Lose Belly Fat and Look Leaner
- 5. Drink More Water
- 6. Connect with Others
- 7. Explore Nature
- 8. Mood Booster
- 9. Better Sleep
- 10. Redefine Yourself as an Active Person (and Inspire Others)
- Outside Walks vs. Treadmill Walks
- Pros of Walking 2 Miles Per Day
- Cons of Walking 2 Miles Per Day
- Final Thoughts
10 Benefits I Got From Walking 2 Miles A Day for 30 days
Since we only have so many hours in the day, I often walked while doing something else.
I participated in Zoom meetings while walking on my treadmill, watched some online courses I’ve been meaning to get to, binged some shows I never would have had the chance to watch, and kept my streak going on the Peloton app. This treadmill desk attachment was essential.
When walking outside, I took my dog along with me, made phone calls, listened to podcasts and audiobooks, and took Peloton outdoor classes or used their newest “Just Workout” feature. I tracked everything with my Apple Watch.
2. Alleviate Pain
Since I had my daughter 12 years ago, I often experience pain in my glutes, especially when walking uphill, running, and sometimes from waking even at a regular pace.
I misdiagnosed myself as having bursitis, but after going to a pelvic floor physical therapist, she told me I have Piriformis Syndrome, basically a weakened transverse abdominis muscle and glutes. After about 4 or 5 days of walking, I experienced the familiar pinch and throbbing dull pain in my right glute. Then it went away. I never felt it again during my month long walking challenge.
And I’m not alone in this thinking. While some may be afraid that walking could worsen pain, most people find that walking for exercise has the opposite result and reduces pain symptoms like back pain and arthritis.
3. Improve Lung Function
Even though I work out most days, I sometimes find myself huffing and puffing on long walks, especially in the summer.
Once a week, I usually walk with one of my neighbor friends. We walk and chat, losing track of how far we walk but usually about 4 to 5 miles. I noticed during my recent walks that I never had to catch my breath, even uphill. I felt stronger, could breathe better, talk easier even during the intense parts of our brisk walk.
If you’re familiar with zones in heart rate training, this meant I kept myself in zones 1 or 2, the aerobic zones which help to strengthen the heart and lungs.
4. Lose Belly Fat and Look Leaner
My stomach, i.e., my belly fat (after two kids) is always my target area. After 30 days of walking, I noticed my abdominal muscles were tighter, and my hamstrings and quadriceps muscles looked more pronounced and felt firmer.
My weight loss had plateaued for a while, but I did drop four pounds during this challenge.
5. Drink More Water
6. Connect with Others
Rather than meeting friends for lunch, when it’s nice out, we go for walks.
My tween daughter joined me on a handful of walks. We connected more, she opened up a lot, and my favorite walks were clearly the ones I spent with her and the best part of my day.
Additionally, a neighbor and I had unsuccessfully tried to get together for months until we finally found a time to walk (my second walk of the day) and catch up.
7. Explore Nature
While I didn’t intend to venture out to new places, I often found hiking through a new park or or taking leisurely strolls through a quaint neighborhood. Sometimes, the only way I had time to walk was during my son’s soccer practices or before games. Since he plays at various venues, I would venture off for an hour or so until I needed to pick him up.
8. Mood Booster
Walking clears my head and boosts my mood, especially when outdoors.
If I’m feeling stressed, have something to work through or need to relax, a walk does a lot for my mental health. The methodical motion of just putting one foot in front of another made me feel at peace. I found myself saying, “I need this walk.”
I also did a lot of creative brainstorming during these walks.
9. Better Sleep
Maybe it’s because many of my walks happened at night, but I was tired. I’m not a great sleeper in general. Together with the help of Peloton sleep meditations, I slept deeper and fell asleep quicker.
10. Redefine Yourself as an Active Person (and Inspire Others)
After this challenge, I began to see myself differently and so did others.
At soccer practice, parents would ask if I planned to walk during half-time and one mom even joined me.
After a couple of walks during my weekly Zoom call, I noticed others were walking on their treadmills or outside too.
My kids encouraged me to walk even when I was tired.
Although I try to stay active as much as possible, daily walking built my confidence, and helped to establish and reframe myself as an active person. I am a person who gets it done.
Check out MyPurseStrings on Substack. Get the newest blog posts, my favorite finds, and read all new and past newsletters there.
Outside Walks vs. Treadmill Walks
Living in Minnesota, I soak up the sunshine whenever I can. So, I always choose an outdoor walk.
When I started this challenge, unfortunately, it rained almost daily for a week. I was thankful to have my treadmill and used it more than ever.
I have some valid reasons for not using my treadmill as much as the other equipment. One, it’s in my bedroom, and I prefer to exercise early in the morning and when my husband is still sleeping. Secondly, I don’t like to run anymore. So if I need to squeeze a workout in, I try to jump on my bike or strength train to burn more calories, rather than walking on the treadmill.
During this challenge, I often had no choice but to walk late at night. Once, I made the mistake of starting out too late on a walking path near my house. It quickly grew dark and between the sounds of birds, possibility of running into a coyote, and something flying into my hair (hopefully not a bat), I decided not to do that again.
For safety reasons, I thought it was a good idea to hop on my treadmill instead of venture outside for my nightly walks.
Pros of Walking 2 Miles Per Day
As you can see, there are many benefits to walking daily.
It’s low impact, great for your overall health, specifically heart health and cardiovascular fitness. Plus, unlike other workouts, a daily walk requires no equipment, other than a pair of walking shoes. And the good news is you can do it anywhere. In fact, it’s even more enjoyable when you’re outside discovering someplace new. You can get lost.
Two weeks into this challenge, I flew to New York to see family. Despite having woken up early and traveling all day, taking a leisurely 2-mile walk was a great way get the blood flowing and catch up with my mom and see her new neighborhood for the first time.
And whatever the weather, you can make walking a part of your daily routine. Even where I live in snowy Minnesota, people walk the malls or indoor tracks in inclement bad weather. It’s something you can do alone or join a walking group. You can squeeze a walk in almost anywhere. In fact, I’m sitting right now in an indoor mall writing this blog post. But if I wasn’t, I’d certainly be walking the mall now.
Whatever your fitness level, you can start walking today.
Cons of Walking 2 Miles Per Day
There were some cons for me.
Admittedly, it sometimes felt like a chore. We went out with friends a couple of times for dinner, and drinks and I knew that no matter what time we got home (after 10:30 pm), I’d have to jump on that treadmill. Sure, I was happy once I finished it but those were some of the longest and most tedious walks for me.
Another disadvantage for me is the time commitment. I prefer to work out in the morning, but I don’t have hours on end to exercise. So, in order to keep up with strength training and other workouts, I pushed many of my walks to later in the day. Even if you up the intensity of your walks, it still takes a long time to travel by foot for 2 miles. And the calorie burn from walking for 45 minutes cannot compare to a Peloton ride or a run in as much time.
I still think the health benefits of walking greatly outweighs any cons.
Here are some tips for completing a walking challenge:
- always keep a comfortable pair of shoes and socks handy
- have sunglasses on hand
- travel with a filled water bottle
- carry your headphones or AirPods with you at all times
- charge your phone
Would I do this 2-mile per day challenge again? Maybe. For me, strength training has taken priority in my life as I age. But I also think walking is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy, active, and moving.
What’s happened since my challenge ended? Have I kept up the two miles per day? No.
However, I still walk more than I used to beforehand. In order to balance my other workouts, simply because I only have so many hours in the day, keeping up with the two miles was too much. Walking two miles gave me less time to complete my other workouts.
The big takeaway for me is regular exercise, anything to get the blood flow going. I need to move my body every single day.
However, if you’re new to regular workouts, walking is probably the easiest way to increase your physical activity. Don’t get hung up on step count or your walking speed, just get out and do it.
Regular walking is a step in the right direction towards a healthy lifestyle. It will change your mindset, improve your cardiovascular health, and help you reach your weight loss goals.
Walking is not only great for weight management or shedding some extra pounds, but it can also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
I tracked all my workouts on my Apple Watch. I loved receiving alerts that my daily activity level had increased, that I was burning more calories that week than the one before, and I was setting new benchmarks for myself.
I tried to keep up my daily workouts, strength training or cycling. Sometimes, I couldn’t fit it all in and walking became my only exercise for the day. When I could manage it, I burned a ton of calories and worked out for almost two hours. This clearly put me in a calorie deficit and likely helped jumpstart my weight loss.
So what’s next? I’m thinking about a monthly mileage challenge. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please let us know in the comments below.
If you’re intermittent fasting, you may be interested in reading my review of ProLon’s Fast Bars.
Michelle Platt is a content creator and certified personal trainer. Proving it’s never to late to reinvent yourself, she’s a former attorney and teacher who loves to do the research so you don’t have to. She takes a deep dive into each topic and writes about her wellness journey here. She loves trying out new workouts, fitness tips, healthy foods, and products to share with you. This native New Yorker recently made the move to the suburbs of Minneapolis, where she lives with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.