Skip to Content

How to walk 5000 steps a day: 5 tips for success


Is walking 5000 steps a day healthy?

This is a common question from people looking to become more active.

In the age of the desk job, it can be challenging to get your daily steps in.

The value of walking 10,000 steps a day has gained popularity over the last few years.

Some studies suggest that 10,000 steps a day is a healthy goal to walk towards.

However, this goal isn’t achievable or sustainable for many people who either don’t have time in their day or cannot walk that far for health reasons. 

So is walking 5,000 steps a day the next best alternative?

In this guide we’ll look at:

  • How many miles is 5000 steps a day?
  • Is 5000 steps a day good for your health?
  • Is 5000 steps a day enough to stay healthy?
  • How many calories does 5000 steps a day burn?
  • How to walk 5000 steps a day: 5 tips for success


Let’s get started!

5000 steps a day

How many miles is 5000 steps a day?

On average it takes roughly 2,000 steps to walk a mile, so 5,000 steps a day on average is 2.5 miles. 

The number of miles that you are actually able to cover will depend on factors such as your step length, fitness levels and walking speed. 

Your step length is the distance covered when you take one step forward. 

This should not be confused with stride length which is the distance covered when you take two steps forward – one with each foot. 

The distance your foot travels is your step length – that is from the toe or heel of your right foot to the toe or heel of your left foot. 

Related: Walking 4 miles a day: Is it good for weight loss?

5000 steps a day

Is 5000 steps a day good for your health?

Yes! Walking 5000 steps a day has many health benefits – both for your physical and mental health.

It will also benefit your wallet – walking is free and you don’t need any fancy equipment to get started.

Various studies tell us that the more steps you take, the more you will be doing to improve your health.

Here are the benefits of walking 5,000 steps a day:

#1 Improves your heart health

Walking offers many benefits for heart health. 

It can also improve your cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

#2 Boosts your mood

When you exercise, ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins are released into the body, causing you to feel more relaxed and at ease. 

Walking also helps to increase blood flow and circulation to the brain and body which contributes to better mood. 

#3 Improves your sleep

Light aerobic exercise like walking and jogging helps to optimise your circadian rhythm. 

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural 24-hour clock and when it’s working properly, it helps to improve your sleep cycle and promote a healthy night’s sleep. 

Walking in the morning can assist in setting your natural circadian rhythm. 

#4 Helps you to lose weight

As we explain later in this guide, walking helps you to lose fat and burn calories.

However, don’t expect results overnight.

Combined with healthy eating habits and high intensity training, you’ve got a powerful combination to help you lose weight. 

#5 Lowers your blood pressure

Your blood pressure is affected by your physical activity levels and lifestyle habits.

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can contribute to heart disease.

Research tells us that walking lowers systolic blood pressure by 4.11mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.79mm Hg. 

Related: Walking 10 miles a day: Is it good for weight loss?

5000 steps a day

Related: What is the 75 Soft Challenge? Benefits + how to do it

Is 5000 steps a day enough to stay healthy?

One 2011 study reported that healthy young adults (between the ages of 20 and 50) take 7,000 to 13,000 steps a day.

Adding that on average, US adults take approximately 6,500 steps a day.

Another 2004 study introduced the concept of a graduated step index for healthy adults:

  • Sedentary – less than 5,000 steps per day
  • Low active – between 5,000 and 7,499 steps per day
  • Somewhat active – between 7,500 and 9,999 steps per day
  • Active – between 10,000 and 12,499 steps per day
  • Highly active – more than 12,500 steps per day

So according to this research, walking 5,000 steps a day means you fall into the ‘low active’ category. 

What can we take from this? You ideally should be walking more than 5,000 steps a day to be considered ‘active’ or ‘highly active’. 

However, if you’re doing other forms of exercise on top of walking, such as strength training, yoga or other forms of cross training like swimming or cycling, then you’re probably already achieving the recommended exercise levels. 

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical activity is anything that gets your body moving.

Their recommendation is that each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity. 

This could be split into five 30 minute sessions per week, or two 75 minute sessions per week – it’s really down to you. 

Remember that some activity is better than none at all.

Related: Walking 3 miles a day: 5 surprising benefits

How many calories does 5000 steps a day burn?

It takes 20 steps to burn 1 calorie. 

Therefore walking 5,000 steps (2.5 miles) you will burn 250 calories. 

Research tells us that roughly 3,500 calories equates to about 1 pound of fat.

So if you burn 250 calories by walking 5,000 steps a day, you may be able to lose around 1 pound per week. 

Combined with lifestyle changes, this is a pretty powerful way to lose weight over time. 

Related: Walking one hour a day: Benefits + expected results

5000 steps a day

Related: Nude running: Everything you need to know

How to walk 5000 steps a day: 5 tips for success

Now you know more about the benefits of walking 5,000 steps a day, here are 5 tips for success.

#1 Set aside specific times to walk

Setting yourself for success is all about forging a consistent routine. 

A morning walk – especially if you find yourself working from home – is a great healthy way to start your day. 

As we explained earlier in this guide, walking in the morning helps to reset your circadian rhythm which helps to improve your sleep cycle.

By taking a walk in the morning, you will reduce time sitting and increase time moving.

Think about slots in your diary where you could go for a walk and then stick with those every day where possible. 

You don’t have to walk all of the steps all at once – if easier, go for smaller walks throughout the day if this is easier for you.

#2 Walk with a family member or friend

Walking with a friend or family member is a good way to hold yourself accountable for daily walks.

Step challenges between family members, friends and even colleagues are a great incentive to be more active. 

So if you’ve got a competitive streak in you, this could be the perfect opportunity to show everyone what you’re made of. 

If you’ve got kids, why not make your walk into a family activity?

#3 Track your steps

Tracking your steps is a great way to motivate yourself to walk every day and see how far you’ve come. 

You can download apps nowadays that track your steps.

Most smartphones also come with step metres built into them – so it’s never been easier to track your daily step count. 

#4 Wear the right gear

A decent pair of walking shoes are a must, especially if you’re planning on walking longer distances.

Typically, running shoes can be worn on walks where you know you won’t be walking on rough terrain.

You may want to invest in a pair of proper walking shoes or hiking shoes if you’re going to go off-piste and walk on trails. 

#5 Drink plenty of water

With increased activity levels, comes increase water intake.

You’ll want to ensure you are replacing all the fluids lost through sweat on your walk, so ensure you are drinking at least nine glasses of water a day.

Related: Hydration and running performance: 4 key hydration tips for runners

Caroline Geoghegan