Walking 5 Miles A Day: What To Expect From Your Workout

Plus, the mental and physical health benefits of a daily walk.

Do you have a health and fitness goal of walking 5 miles a day for weight loss, weight management, cardio, or simply to start a daily routine for general well-being?

Walking 5 miles a day can sound overwhelming if you are a beginner and currently not doing much aerobic exercise, but it’s a great way to get fit, improve your heart health, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

However, you don’t necessarily have to do one long 5 mile walk every day. Rather, you can break up the distance into smaller walking workouts throughout the day and use an activity monitor, fitness watch, or simple pedometer to keep track of your daily step count.

Committing to walking 5 miles every day is an excellent way to improve your health and boost your fitness without stressing your bones and joints as much as high-impact activities like running.

In this article, we will discuss what you can expect from walking 5 miles a day in terms of the time investment, the number of calories you will burn, and the physical and mental health benefits of walking 5 miles a day.

A person holding a phone that says 10000 steps.

How Far Is 5 Miles?

A mile is the equivalent of 5,280 feet or 1,609 meters, so 5 miles is just a hair over 8 kilometers.

If you decide to walk 5 miles on a standard 400-meter running track, you will walk just over 20 full laps to walk 5 miles. 

Although the lengths of a block in a city can vary from city to city and block to block somewhat, a mile is roughly 20 city blocks, so 5 miles is about 100 blocks.

Most research has found that the average number of steps per mile for adults is around 2,000, and most physical activity guidelines based on research have traditionally been to accrue 10,000 steps per day.

Using these numbers, walking 5 miles a day should actually be the daily target for improving your health and reducing the risk of lifestyle diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

A person taking a step.

How Long Does It Take to Walk 5 Miles a Day?

Walking 5 miles a day takes a while, but if you walk briskly, most people can walk 5 miles in 75-90 minutes.

The exact time it will take depends on how fast you walk. Walking speed is determined by factors like your age, sex, fitness level, effort level, as well as the terrain, incline, and weather conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. In health.gov (pp. 1–118). https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf, the average walking speed for adults is between 2.5 and 4 miles per hour.

At a speed of 2.5 miles per hour, it would take 2 hours to walk 5 miles. For most people, this is an easy, conversational walking pace.

On the other end of the spectrum, brisk walking at 4.0 miles per hour will take just 1 hour and 15 minutes to walk 5 miles.

People walking outside.

The table below shows approximately how long it takes to walk 5 miles at different walking paces:

Walking Speed (mph)Walking Pace (min/mile)How Long Does It Take to Walk 5 Miles?
A person walking along a bridge.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking 5 Miles a Day?

The number of calories burned walking 5 miles a day depends on numerous factors, such as your body weight, the speed or intensity that you are walking, and whether you are walking on flat terrain or up an incline.

Additional factors affecting the number of calories you burn walking include if you are carrying an external load or walking on a rough trail rather than a smooth road. However, these factors have a relatively minimal impact relative to body weight, intensity, and incline.

Wearing a heart rate monitor and GPS fitness watch is the best way to estimate how many calories you burn while walking.

Still, you can also approximate the energy expenditure of walking 5 miles a day using the metabolic equivalents (METS) for walking.

The Compendium of Physical Activities22011 Compendium of Physical Activities. (n.d.). https://download.lww.com/wolterskluwer_vitalstream_com/PermaLink/MSS/A/MSS_43_8_2011_06_13_AINSWORTH_202093_SDC1.pdf reports that walking at a leisurely pace of 2.8-3.2 mph on a level surface is equivalent to 3.5 METs.

Walking at a pace of 3.5 mph on a level surface is 4.3 METs while walking at a brisk pace of 4.0 mph on a level surface is rated at 5 METs, and finally, walking at a very brisk pace of 4.5 mph is 7 METs.

Walking 2.9–3.5 mph uphill at a 1 to 5% grade is roughly 5.3 METs, and maintaining that pace while climbing a 6 to 15% grade bumps the metabolic demand up to 8 METs.

A person walking.

Using these METs values, you can calculate the number of calories burned walking at various speeds and weights using the following equation to determine energy expenditure:

Calories Burned Per Minute = METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 

So, if you are walking 5 miles a day, you must multiply this calculated value by the number of minutes it takes you to walk those 5 miles.

Below, we’ve created a chart that uses these METs values for different walking speeds and conditions to calculate the approximate number of calories burned walking 5 miles a day for various body weights. 

Note that some of the METs values given were for a range of walking speeds, so the average time to walk a mile in that range was used to calculate the number of minutes it would take to walk approximately 5 miles at that pace.

This table can help you get a rough idea of how many calories you will burn walking 5 miles per day.

Weight (lbs)Weight (kg)Calories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 2.8-3.2 mph Calories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 3.5 mph Calories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 4.0 mphCalories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 4.5 mphCalories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 2.9–3.5 mph at 1-5% GradeCalories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 2.9–3.5 mph at 6-15% Grade
People walking across a bridge.

Is Walking 5 Miles A Day Enough To Lose Weight?

Yes, walking 5 miles can help you lose weight, if you are in a caloric deficit.

To lose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit.

Most research has concluded that a caloric deficit of 3500 calories is enough to lose one pound of stored body fat. If you think about this over the span of one week, this works out to a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories.

What Are The Benefits of Walking 5 Miles a Day?

Walking 5 miles a day is an impressive achievement and still a feasible exercise goal for many people, even if they’ve been inactive for some time. 

It’s an especially doable training volume if you start small and build up gradually or split your daily walks into two 2 to 3-mile walks throughout the day. 

Here are some of the top benefits of a regular walking routine:

  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Strengthening the heart and lungs and improving cardiovascular health
  • Improving aerobic capacity (VO2 max)3Object, object. (n.d.). The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Core.ac.uk. https://core.ac.uk/reader/185482381?utm_source=linkout
  • Decreasing stress and anxiety
  • Improving blood sugar regulation
  • Decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol 
  • Improving mood,4Zhu, Z., Chen, H., Ma, J., He, Y., Chen, J., & Sun, J. (2020). Exploring the Relationship between Walking and Emotional Health in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(23), 8804. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238804 confidence, and self-esteem 
  • Decreasing joint pain5O’Connor, S. R., Tully, M. A., Ryan, B., Bleakley, C. M., Baxter, G. D., Bradley, J. M., & McDonough, S. M. (2015). Walking Exercise for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation96(4), 724-734.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2014.12.003
  • Strengthening your legs
  • Improving cognitive function and working memory
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,6LaCroix, A. Z., Leveille, S. G., Hecht, J. A., Grothaus, L. C., & Wagner, E. H. (1996). Does Walking Decrease the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Hospitalizations and Death in Older Adults? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society44(2), 113–120. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.1996.tb02425.x certain cancers, and the risk of premature all-cause mortality7Hall, K. S., Hyde, E. T., Bassett, D. R., Carlson, S. A., Carnethon, M. R., Ekelund, U., Evenson, K. R., Galuska, D. A., Kraus, W. E., Lee, I-Min., Matthews, C. E., Omura, J. D., Paluch, A. E., Thomas, W. I., & Fulton, J. E. (2020). Systematic review of the prospective association of daily step counts with risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and dysglycemia. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-00978-9
  • Forgiving on your joints as walking is a low-impact form of exercise
  • Burning calories which ultimately reduces body fat percentage

Remember, you don’t have to go from zero to walking 5 miles a day every day. Gradually increase the distance, or just focus on accumulating a total of 10,000 steps per day or roughly 5 miles.

Stick with it! Your body and mind will love it.

A great addition to your fitness or weight loss journey is strength training. You don’t need a personal trainer to get started, just this next guide!


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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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