Walking 5 miles a day can sound like way too much if you are currently not doing much walking.
However, you don’t necessarily have to do one long 5 mile walk every day. Rather, you can break up the distance over the course of 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 a 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.
More specifically, we will cover:
- How Far Is 5 Miles?
- How Long Does It Take to Walk 5 Miles a Day?
- How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking 5 Mile a Day?
- Benefits of Walking 5 Miles a Day
Let’s get started!
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.
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 right 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.
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 or so.
The exact time it will take you depends on how fast you’re walking. 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 of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average walking speed for adults is between 2.5-4 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, if you are walking at a brisk speed of 4.0 miles per hour, it will take just 1 hour and 15 minutes to walk 5 miles.
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? |
(hour : min : sec)
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 that can affect the number of calories you burn walking include things like whether 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 get an accurate estimate of how many calories you burn walking, but you can also approximate the energy expenditure of walking 5 miles a day using the metabolic equivalents (METS) for walking.
The Compendium of Physical Activities 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.
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 then need to 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.
You can use this table to get a ballpark idea of approximately 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 mph||Calories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 4.5 mph||Calories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 2.9–3.5 mph at 1-5% Grade||Calories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 2.9–3.5 mph at 6-15% Grade|
Benefits of Walking 5 Miles a Day
Walking 5 miles a day is an impressive achievement while still being a feasible exercise goal for many people, even if you’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 2-3 mile walks throughout the day.
Some of the top benefits of walking 5 miles a day include:
- Strengthening the heart and lungs
- Decreasing stress and anxiety
- Improving blood sugar regulation
- Decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Improving mood, confidence, and self-esteem
- Strengthening your legs
- Improving cognitive function and working memory
- Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and the risk of premature all-cause mortality
Remember, you don’t have to go from zero to walking 5 miles a day every day. Slowly increase the distance you walk every day, 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.
If you are looking for other fun and exciting challenges to take on, check out our long list of Marathon Handbook fitness challenges here!