How to Lose Weight Walking 3 Miles a Day

Walking 3 miles a day can help you reach your weight-loss goals — and walking outside can also reduce stress.

In less than an hour a day, without any expense and with low impact on your body, you can lose weight. No, this isn't the beginning of an infomercial. These are a few of the benefits of walking 3 miles a day for weight loss.

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As long as a health care professional has cleared you for exercise, you can begin your daily walks now and be on your way to shedding pounds and reaching your weight-loss goals.

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First, How Far Is 3 Miles?

If you prefer the metric system, 3 miles is just under 5 kilometers. A standard 5K walking or running course is 3.1 miles.

Want to feel really accomplished about your 3-miles-a-day fitness routine? Three miles is a whopping 15,840 feet!

How Long Does It Take to Walk 3 Miles?

The time it takes you to finish your 3 miles of daily exercise will vary depending on how fast you walk. Here are some examples of how long it will take at different walking paces.

How Long It Takes to Walk 3 Miles

Pace (mph)

Minutes per mile

Total time (minutes)

3.5

17:09

51:26

4

15

45

4.5

13:20

40

Tip

Not sure how fast you're walking? A treadmill display, fitness tracker or walking app can help you estimate. You can also track your distance with a pedometer, which simply counts your steps. On average, it takes about 2,000 steps to cover 1 mile, so walking 6,000 steps is roughly 3 miles. Your smartphone may also have a step-counting function built in.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking 3 Miles?

Calorie burn from daily walking depends on a number of factors, including how fast you're walking, your body size and if your walk is hilly or flat (more on that below).

Here's a rough estimate of calories burned during a 3-mile walk at different walking speeds and body weights.

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Calories Burned Walking 3 Miles

Body Weight (lbs.)

Slow

Moderate

Brisk

125

147

151

152

155

183

187

188

185

218

223

225

215

253

259

261

245

289

296

298

285

336

344

346

305

360

368

370

Source(s): Harvard Health Publishing

The Benefits of Walking 3 Miles a Day for Weight Loss

There are many benefits of daily walking when it comes to slimming down.

You'll Burn Calories

Losing weight isn't ‌quite‌ as simple as burning more calories than you take in, but it's certainly a part of the process. And, as shown in the chart above, walking 3 miles is one way to burn a chunk of calories each day, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

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Your Metabolic Rate May Increase

Walking may help you build lean muscle mass over time, especially if you're new to exercise, per the NASM. And the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn during the day (even when you're not doing anything), called your resting metabolic rate.

You Won't Get Too Hungry

Higher-intensity exercise might make you ravenous and more likely to eat more than the limited number of calories you've allotted yourself on your weight-loss plan, according to the NASM. Walking isn't as likely to spike your appetite, so you may have an easier time maintaining your calorie deficit, i.e. burning more than you take in.

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You Can Do It Anywhere

One of the biggest overall benefits of walking is the convenience factor: Just about anyone can give it a try in just about any location. You don't need any gear other than a supportive pair of walking shoes to start walking for physical health and weight loss.

It Can Help Ease Stress

Stress is intricately linked to weight management: It can prompt your body to store more fat, affect your diet choices and limit how much energy you have for exercise.

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Making your daily walk a stress-reducer can help: A May 2018 study in ‌‌Behavioral Sciences‌‌ found people who walked in nature experienced greater reductions in levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol than after they walked in a more bustling environment.

It's Linked to Better Sleep

Getting too little sleep also changes how your body stores fat and affects hormones that help manage weight, but once again, consistent walking can help.

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An October 2019 study in ‌‌Sleep Health‌‌ found people who took a brisk walk during the day had higher-quality sleep that night. And in an October 2016 study in ‌‌BMJ Open‌‌, walkers fell asleep more quickly, woke up less during the night and logged more total hours of sleep.

Will I Lose Weight if I Walk 3 Miles a Day?

You certainly could! As long as you continue burning calories and eating a balanced diet, you can achieve weight loss through walking. But remember, your sleep, stress and genetics also play a role in your body size, and weight is not the only way to measure health.

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Plus, walking every single day without any rest or recovery days could lead to overuse injuries, soreness or burnout that could throw your weight-loss plan of course.

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How Long It Takes to See Results

It's generally considered safe to cut and/or burn 500 to 1,000 calories a day to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your 3-miles-a-day walking plan helps make this a sustainable rate for you, you could lose 10 pounds in 5 to 10 weeks or 30 pounds in 4 to 7 months, for example.

How to Get Started

Beginners don't need to jump right into a 3-miles-a-day routine. Instead, walk for just 1 mile (or even a few minutes) and gradually build up your distance and/or pace over time. You can also split the 3 miles into two or three walks a day. This will help you stay injury-free as you're starting out.

You may have heard you "need" to hit 10,000 steps every day, but walking benefits actually start to level out around 7,500 daily steps, according to May 2019 research in ‌JAMA Internal Medicine‌.

Keep your posture in mind as you walk. Engage your core — your abs should feel like you are zipping up a tight pair of pants — and keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Let your arms swing comfortably and breathe normally to keep oxygen flowing to your working muscles.

Doing a few dynamic exercises as part of a quick walking warmup will also help you avoid soreness and injury.

And of course, make sure you have a safe, outdoor environment for walking or a sturdy treadmill at home or in the gym. If you've never exercised before, it's also a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new kind of physical activity.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Walks

When walking 3 miles a day starts to feel too easy, it's time to push yourself — especially if you haven't reached your weight-loss goal yet. Here are some ways to burn even more calories on your walks:

  • Add more hills or stairs to your usual walking route.
  • Increase the incline if you're walking on a treadmill.
  • Walk a farther distance or at a faster pace.
  • Try intervals: Walk faster than your usual pace for 30 seconds, then walk at your normal pace for 30 seconds. Continue alternating for your desired amount of time.

Ready to get started? Start with some of these walking plans.

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