Working out doesn’t need a gym membership. While gyms can have many benefits for getting fit, they can also be intimidating if it’s a long time since you last exercised. Instead, 30 minutes of brisk walking every day can be enough to get in shape and make a big difference to your fitness levels.
Find out how to get started, whether it’s good for weight loss, what it takes to add walking to your daily routine, and how to get the most out of a 30 min walking session.
This post looks at:
- How Far Is 30-Minutes Walking?
- Can You Get Fit Walking 30 Minutes A Day?
- How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking For 30 Minutes?
- Benefits Of Walking 30 Minutes A Day
- Tips To Get The Most Out Of Walking 30 Minutes A Day
Let’s get started!
How Far Can You Walk In 30 Minutes
Walking for just half an hour is a great way to improve your fitness if you’re starting from a low baseline. Plus if you’re already a walker, you can improve your fitness by walking regularly, increasing your pace, or walking uphill.
But how far can you walk in 30 minutes?
Based on this new study into outdoor walking speeds, the average speed of adults is 1.31 m/s. This equates to 2.93 mile per hour (mph) – almost exactly the same as the legendary Naismith’s Rule for calculating hiking times. So, for 30 minutes of walking, the average distance will be about 1.5 miles.
Allowing for different walking speeds, expect to cover between 1.25 and 2.25 miles walking 30 minutes.
1.25 miles is at a leisurely pace or the pace of a beginner walker. 2.25 miles is a very fast power walking speed. Your speed will depend on many factors such as your age and fitness level.
Can You Get Fit Walking 30 Minute A Day?
The recommended physical activity level is 150 minutes of physical activity at moderate intensity and 2 days of strength training activity for adults every week.
This is a minimum level based on improving the health of the general population. Based on this recommendation, walking 30 mins a day, just 5 days of the week combined with some strength training exercises, is enough to get all the physical benefits of walking.
But if you’re walking at a slower pace, following these physical activity guidelines – walking 30 minutes a day – won’t get you fit. You need to put some effort into your daily walk!
To get fit, you need to walk at a brisk pace where your heart rate is elevated.
What is a brisk walking pace?
A brisk pace is where your heart rate is elevated and you’re making a continuous effort to maintain your pace, but you can still hold a conversation.
You can walk and talk without getting out of breath but it’s not an easy pace. You’re trying to walk fast.
As you get fitter, make your walking harder.
Your body is incredibly good at adapting to an exercise program. So as you get fitter, your physical activity has to be harder.
Try walking faster, add hills and walking intervals where you alternate a fast and slow walking pace. Here are some ideas for advanced training sessions:
Walking 30 Min A Day Fitness Plan
Start each session with a 5 min easy pace warm-up walk.
- Sunday: Brisk pace walking for 25 min.
- Monday: Intervals on a flat surface. Alternate 2 min fast, 3 min moderate for 25 min. Fast should be close to your maximum effort where it’s difficult to talk.
- Tuesday: Hill walking or inclines. Alternate 4 min uphill followed by 1 min recovery. Repeat 5 times for 25 minutes total. Finish with strength training for 15 minutes.
- Wednesday: Brisk walk for 25 min.
- Thursday: Tempo. 10 min faster than your brisk pace (you can snatch a conversation but not talk comfortably). 10 min brisk pace. 5 min faster than brisk pace.
- Friday: Cross-training. Suggest yoga or cycling. Strength training 15 minutes.
- Saturday: Long hill workout: 15 minutes uphill at a brisk pace. 10 min walk back down.
Walking Plan For Complete Beginners
If you’re new to walking, start by regular walking, 20 to 30 minutes a day, at a moderate pace.
After one to two weeks, as you get fitter, aim to walk 30 minutes a day at a brisk pace.
Make sure you’re comfortable walking 30 minutes a day before increasing your speed and effort level.
Try this related post: How To Start A Walking Program For Beginners
How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking For 30 Minutes?
The calories you burn while walking for 30 minutes will depend on your speed, incline, current body weight, and fitness level.
Most fitness trackers will give you an estimate of calories burned based on metabolic equivalents where:
- 1 MET (metabolic equivalent of task), represents the amount of oxygen consumed while sitting at rest and is equal to 3.5 ml O2 per kg body weight x min.
If you haven’t got a fitness tracker (or you want to check the accuracy of your readout) you can use my Calories Burned Walking Calculator.
Typically people burn 150 to 250 calories in 30 minutes of walking but this value shoots up once you start walking uphill.
Related post: How Much Should I walk According To My BMI?
Can I Lose Weight By Walking 30 Minutes Every Day
Walking 30 minutes a day is a great way to start losing weight provided you combine walking with eating a healthy diet.
A 30 min walk will burn body fat but you can undo all your hard efforts if you increase your caloric intake. Don’t reward your physical activity with a sticky treat!
Instead, take a look at these ideas for what to eat after walking to lose weight.
Walk regularly and try and combine your walking with making a few positive changes to your diet. It’s best to make changes slowly – don’t try and become an icon for healthy eating overnight. Just cut out one or two of your worst eating habits.
It’s sustainable change that gets results – forming new habits. A daily walk and eating a little better will help you reach a healthy weight and enjoy better health.
Related post: How To Lose Weight Walking 2 Miles A Day
Mental And Physical Health Benefits Of Walking 30 Minutes A Day
Walking 30 minutes a day comes with so many health benefits. Adding a regular walk to your daily schedule is an incredibly easy way to get all the health benefits of moderate exercise.
You don’t need gym workouts – just a good pair of walking shoes! A short walk during your lunch break must be the easiest way to get fit.
#1 Mental Health
Walking in the fresh air is good for your mental health. It can clear your mind and help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Numerous research articles have established the link between walking and improved mental health.
A walk in the park is an easy way to get some fresh air and take a break from work or studying.
#2 Cardiovascular Fitness
A moderate-paced walk for 30 minutes most days of the week will improve your cardiovascular health. Walking improves many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease control.
You should always check with your doctor before starting any form of exercise program.
#3 Weight Management
Walking is a great way to help manage your weight and reduce excess body fat – just make sure you combine walking with healthy eating to get the best results.
#4 Reduce High Blood Pressure
Walking improves blood flow and may lower blood pressure reducing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
#5 Reduced Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
The more you walk, the lower your diabetes risk. This study found that 3 short walks after meals lowered blood sugar levels.
#6 Improves The Immune System
Walk regularly and enjoy a lower risk of catching colds! Studies have found that regular exercise is good for the immune system.
Tips To Get The Most Out Of Walking 30 Minutes A Day
To gain all the benefits of walking 30 minutes a day and make regular walks a habit, follow these tips:
- Add your weekly exercise sessions to your diary – make walking a priority.
- Plan interesting walks – explore local history or get into nature!
- Stay motivated by walking with friends.
- Listening to music may give you more energy to complete your workout.
- Whenever possible, walk instead of using public transport or taking the car.
- Increase calorie burn by walking faster or adding hills to your walks.
From protection against heart disease to stronger leg muscles and improve balance, there are so many health benefits to walking. You owe it to yourself to exercise more and improve your overall health. Get out there and start walking!