Walking is great. You know that. But, at the same time, things are starting to feel like that week-old bread you’ve been struggling to finish: stale.
Psst … try toasting them till they're golden brown, then slather them with a generous layer of creamy, mashed avocadoes — it works like a charm for me every time. (This way to more delicious meal prep ideas!) Um, just so you know, I’m talking about your leftover bread. Not your walks.
And speaking of, let’s get back to the topic at hand. How can you breathe some new life into your daily 3-mile walks so you don't:
📺 Lie to yourself, “One more re-run episode of ‘The Office’ before I head out”, then end up completing your walk only at 11 pm?
❌ Feel tempted to break your 5-month-long walking streak?
Also, since you're already doing it, how can you make the most of your walking time? Keep reading for answers.
Why so specific, why walk 3 miles a day?
First, why are we assuming such a specific figure — that you walk 3 miles a day?
Put your suspicions away. We’re not spying on you. We have no way of knowing exactly how many steps you take a day (but we’d be psyched if you wished to share your stats on the GymStreak Tribe Facebook group!)
Instead, we’re simply basing our number off the average time it takes to complete a 3-mile walk. The average adult walks at 3 to 4 miles per hour.
So, in general, assuming you're not stopping to smell the roses every minute or speed-walking, you'd take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour to complete a 3-mile walk.
For most people, that’s a reasonable amount of time to eke out and dedicate to a daily walk.
If someone were to walk 10 miles, on the other hand, they could expect to spend anywhere between 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours and 20 minutes just walking a day.
So, this explains why we assumed you walk 3 miles a day.
Besides, a 3-mile walk also gives you decent calorie burn.
While your exact calorie expenditure depends on various factors, like your weight, body composition, age, incline, etc., a rule of thumb is that a 120-pound individual burns about 65 calories per mile, while a 180-pound individual about 100 calories per mile.
Falling asleep at the treadmill while clocking your 3-mile walk? Consider taking it outdoors:
How to refresh and get the most out of your 3-mile walks
So, how do we turn your stale, uninspiring 3-mile walks into something that gets you excited — while helping you increase calorie burn and save time? There are 4 things you could try.
#1: Walk at a faster pace
It's obvious, but the faster you walk, the more calories you'll burn, and the quicker you'll be done with your cardio session. But, of course, I know you want exact numbers ("Give me something quantifiable!”) Alright, alright, I hear you.
Assuming you weigh 160 pounds, here’s how many calories you can expect to burn based on your walking speed:
- 2.5 to 3.5 mph: 255 calories
- 4.5 mph: 305 calories
- 5 mph: 349 calories
So, let’s say you go from walking at 2.5 to 3.5 mph to 5 mph.
You could expect to burn 94 more calories per 3-mile walk (i.e., a day). Multiply that by a month, and that’s 2,820 calories.
For reference, it’s commonly thought that you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body weight — which means simply doubling your walking speed could be a helpful tool in your weight loss journey.
#2: Try Nordic walking
Even if you haven’t heard of Nordic walking before, you might have caught a glimpse of it if you’re a fan of Modern Family. Remember that episode where Phil gets run over by Claire while power walking with two “poles”? Yep. He was Nordic walking.
Don’t remember the episode/haven’t watched Modern Family (go check it out!)/not a fan of the series (*gasp*)? Here’s a video for you — sorry for the bad quality:
As goofy as the exercise looks, Nordic walking could seriously help you burn 22% more calories on your 3-mile walks a day (if you were burning 349 calories, look forward to burning an additional ~77 calories now).
That’s because Nordic walking essentially “forces” you to engage those arms and core muscles — turning a simple walk into a full-body workout.
Bonus: for those with knee issues, Nordic walking could alleviate some of that stress and load on those poor knees.
#3: Put on some weight (not on you, but on you!)
OK, so that was a confusing sub-headline.
What does it mean to put on some weight— but not on you? My bad. All I mean is that you should consider walking with a weighted day pack (and not gain weight).
The more load you carry, the harder your body will be forced to work, and the more calories you’ll burn. See, here’s how many calories you can expect to burn on a 3-mile walk depending on your “weight” (assuming a 5-mph walking speed):
- 100 pounds: 218 calories
- 120 pounds: 262 calories
- 140 pounds: 305 calories
- 160 pounds: 349 calories
- 180 pounds: 393 calories
Don't get overly enthusiastic about piling the weight on, though.
If you're new to adding weight to your walking routine, start with no more than 15 pounds.
Also, get yourself a backpack with a full hip belt. This way, you could cinch it snugly around your belly button to transfer the weight cleanly into your legs while you walk (instead of on your spine or lower back), preventing neck and back pain.
Struggling with persistent lower back pain? This article may provide some much-needed relief:
#4: Add variety to your steps
Now, who said you had to simply put one foot ahead of the other when carrying out your 3-mile walks? Get creative.
Feel free to mix in those crowd-favorite lunges and squats ever so often. It’ll get your lungs and heart pumping harder than before. Plus, it also breaks up the monotony. It’s a win-win situation.
Walk 3 miles a day + regular resistance training = ✨ magic ✨
If you walk 3 miles a day, you’re probably already doing way more for your fitness and overall health than others. Way to go! You should celebrate that.
But, at the same time, also recognize that you could enhance your results by incorporating strength training into your routine.
By helping you build muscle mass, you’ll enjoy improved health, look better (if that’s what you’re going for), find it easier to stick to a calorie “budget” (if necessary), and carry out daily activities with more ease (no more back-and-forth trips between your grocery carts and car!)
By the way: in case you were wondering, yes, strength training is one of the safest things you could do as an older individual:
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How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking a Mile? (n.d.). Verywell Fit. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.verywellfit.com/walking-calories-burned-by-miles-3887154
Porcari, J. P., Hendrickson, T. L., Walter, P. R., Terry, L., & Walsko, G. (1997). The Physiological Responses to Walking with and without Power Poles™ on Treadmill Exercise. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 68(2), 161–166. https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.1997.10607992