What if you could do less… but get more?  I think we’d all agree that’s a pretty good deal, right? With our busy lifestyles, it seems we’re always looking for ways to fit more in, but still get just as much, if not more out. And a recent article highlights the benefits of walking just one mile a day. That’s not a lot at all, but it can still be great for your health!

Walking Just One Mile?

In a recent article on Well + Good, the author, Mercey Livingston interviews the running and walking coach and director of education for STRIDE, Steve Stonehouse. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more people found themselves outdoors taking leisurely walks than before. Which is understandable, as we all were looking for ways to avoid being constantly cooped up, but still stay safe.

An Expert’s Opinion

So what were Steve Stonehouse’s thoughts on walking and its benefits? He quickly pointed out to Livingston that walking is a weight-bearing exercise.  Walking typically is grouped with cardio exercises, so it was interesting to see a different perspective.

And according to Stonehouse, you can get great benefits from walking, even if it’s just one mile a day. He explains that you do get cardio and respiratory benefits, but your muscles also do work with carrying your weight!

My Routine

While I typically do a lot more than just walking, I do try to get in my steps each day!  Of course, I start the day by walking the pups. Although, I have had to cut back on our distance, just because my lab is getting older.  But also, on the days I’m not going for a run, I do try to at least knock out a solid brisk mile on the treadmill.

I have been pretty active for many years, but if you’re just getting started… just take small actions!  I heard someone on a podcast today say that success is a result of small right actions each day.  You don’t have to do a full overhaul on your life.  Just start with adding in something small and sustainable.  And of course, consult with your doctor before beginning any fitness routine.

Here are some of the benefits Stonehouse lists about walking just one mile a day:

  • Strengthen Muscles

    Sure, it’s not going to grow huge muscles like you would if you were strength training, but you’re still building strength.  All of your lower body muscles engage when you’re walking, and you should be engaging your abs and arms, if you’ve got the right form!

    Make sure you’re swinging your arms, but not crossing the midline of the body, for the best form!

  • Bone Health

    Bones respond to movement, especially weight-bearing movement. Exercise helps the bone tissue to grow stronger, which may help prevent bone loss with age.

  • Build Healthy Routines

    Walking is great exercise, yes.  Of course there’s the physical benefits, but it’s also a great getaway for your mental state too. Enjoying some fresh air can be good if you need some time to think.  And it can also build relationships if you bring a friend or significant other along.

    And setting a routine and building consistency can help you feel better about yourself and your ability to achieve goals you set.

  • Heart and Lung Health

    Any time you can get your body up and moving, it helps your body pump blood and fluids through.  Getting your heart rate up has great benefits for your heart and lungs!

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