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What to expect by walking 5 miles a day (and how to start)


Walking 5 miles a day is a goal for many people looking to become more active and get outdoors more.

After all, being in the great outdoors is great for your physical and mental health.

If you don’t fancy a more strenuous workout, then walking 5 miles a day just be for you.

Unlike running or cycling, many people don’t see walking as exercise.

It’s also an easy and affordable way to increase your activity levels. 

The bottom line? Walking is a powerful way to incorporate lifestyle changes and improve your overall health.

Setting and achieving a daily goal like walking 5 miles a day can be a great way to change your life. 

So what exactly are the benefits of walking 5 miles a day and what can you expect by starting this habit?

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • How many steps is 5 miles?
  • How long does it take to walk 5 miles a day?
  • What are the benefits of walking 5 miles a day?
  • Should you walk 5 miles a day?
  • How much weight can you lose by walking 5 miles a day?
  • How many calories can you burn by walking 5 miles a day?
  • Tips for losing weight by walking 4 miles a day 


Let’s go!

walking 5 miles a day

How many steps is 5 miles?

It takes roughly 2,000 steps to walk one mile depending on your pace and step length.

So by walking 5 miles you will walk 10,000 steps each day.

Some studies recommend you walk between 8,000 and 10,000 steps every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Whereas other recent evidence shows that walking 10,000 steps a day may be too much to strive for.

A recent study found that walking just 4,400 steps a day would be sufficient to reduce the likelihood of premature death by around 40%. 

Adding that if you walk up to 7,500 steps a day you will continue to see benefits, but from there onwards, the benefits tapered off. 

In other words, according to this new research, walking 10,000 steps a day does not come with any additional health advantages.  

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

How long does it take to walk 5 miles a day?

How fast you are able to walk 5 miles will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, gender, health and walking speed.

Experts generally agree that the average walking speed is 2.5 to 4mph, which means you can expect to walk a mile in between 15 to 22 minutes.

So across 5 miles, you can expect to walk it between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 50 minutes depending on your walking speed.

Related: How many miles should I run a day? Benefits + risks of running every day

walking 5 miles a day

What are the benefits of walking 5 miles a day?

Experts agree that walking every day is crucial for leading a healthy lifestyle. 

Walking will help you to:

  • Lose weight and burn calories 
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Improve your heart health
  • Boost your mood
  • Reset your circadian rhythm 
  • Improve overall quality of life

Lose weight and burn calories

Walking is a beginner-friendly and low impact way to lose weight and burn calories.

Low impact exercise is a great option if you don’t like the idea of more strenuous activities like running and HIIT which can place a lot of stress on your joints and muscles.

The bottom line? Walking is a great way to shed the pounds in a gentle way.

Lower your blood pressure

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), walking lowers systolic blood pressure by 4.11mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.79mm Hg. 

Adding that it can also lower your resting heart rate by 2.76 beats per minute.

These findings are important because high blood pressure (hypertension) can contribute to heart disease. 

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

Improve your heart health

The American Heart Association explains that walking offers many benefits and is some of the best exercise for heart health.

Walking for an average of 30 minutes or more a day can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke by 35% percent and Type 2 diabetes by 40%.

If that isn’t enough, walking can also improve your cholesterol levels and improve overall heart health.

Boost your mood

Walking helps boost your mood because it increases blood flow and circulation to the brain and body.

It also has a positive influence on the central nervous system as it releases ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins in your body.

They are the hormones responsible for the all too familiar runner’s high that you may experience after a run.

Endorphins are also your body’s natural pain relief system and help you feel relaxed and more at ease.

Reset your circadian rhythm

Taking a walk in the morning can assist in setting your natural circadian rhythm – that is your body’s natural 24-hour clock.

When it’s working properly, it helps to improve your sleep cycle and promote a healthy night’s sleep. 

Even light aerobic exercise like walking or a light jog is enough to optimise your circadian rhythm. 

Improve overall quality of life

Walking has many mental and physical benefits.

Even a short burst of 10 minutes of brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.

Participation in regular physical activity can also increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety.

And perhaps what’s more important is that it can help you feel part of a community and reduce loneliness and isolation.

Related: Walking 3 miles a day: 5 surprising benefits

walking 5 miles a day

Should you walk 5 miles a day?

Whilst walking daily has its benefits, walking 5 miles a day is not for everyone.

If you have a busy schedule or a family to look after, for instance, walking the equivalent of 10,000 steps a day may not be feasible for you.

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to exercise. 

There are so many more factors at play that determine whether a new fitness routine is for you.

So if you’re considering walking 5 miles a day, think first about what you want to get out of it.

Overexerting yourself and ignoring much-needed recovery will only go so far. 

In more extreme cases, overexercising can lead to injuries.

It can also suppress your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to infections for up to 72 hours.

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

How much weight can you lose by walking 5 miles a day?

It takes 20 steps to burn 1 calorie. 

Therefore walking 10,000 steps (5 miles) you will burn 500 calories. 

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

So if you burn 500 calories by walking 5 miles 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: Is it safe to lose 30 pounds in 30 days? Your questions answered

How many calories can you burn by walking 5 miles a day?

As we mentioned before, you can burn up to 500 calories by walking 5 miles a day.

Across a week, this amounts to 3,500 calories. 

However, the number of calories that you are actually able to burn will depend on a number of factors, including how heavy you are and how fast you walk. 

It also depends on your calorie deficit. 

Essentially, you need to burn more calories than you get from your food. 

Let’s take a look at these scenarios based on a 180-pound person:

Scenario 1: No changeScenario 2: Fat lossScenario: Fat gain
Number of calories burned naturally (aka your metabolism)1,8001,8001,800
Number of calories burned by walking 5 miles a day500500500
Number of calories consumed via food2,3001,8002,800
Caloric balance0-500+500

In scenario 1, the number of calories in and out are in balance, so this individual can’t expect much change in terms of weight loss.

In scenario 2, the number of calories are out of balance because the individual kept their calorie intake at 1,800 calories a day, so weight loss can happen. 

In scenario 3, the number of calories are also out of balance because the individal consumed more calories via food, so weight loss cannot happen. 

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

walking 5 miles a day

Tips for walking 5 miles a day

Now you know more about the pros and cons of walking 5 miles a day, here’s how to get started:

#1 Take it slowly

If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle and are looking for more ways to get active, then take it slowly before delving deep into a daily walking routine.

Walking 5 miles a day can be physically demanding so take it in your stride and take regular recovery breaks.

#2 Wear the right shoes

Depending on the terrain that you will be walking on, make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the job.

Many people find that running shoes are suitable for walking 10,000 steps a day, whereas others find a pair of proper walking shoes are better for the task.

#3 Expect some muscle soreness

As with any form of physical activity, you may experience muscle soreness and stiffness within 24 hours of finishing your walk.

Gentle stretching and activities like yoga and Pilates are great to take care of any achy muscles.

#4 Keep hydrated

Whilst walking is considered a form of low impact exercise, it’s still important to stay hydrated before, during and after your walk.

Dehydration can cause fatigue and muscle cramps and soreness, so make sure you keep a bottle of water handy with you at all times.

#5 Walk with a friend

Walking with a friend is a much more fun way to get your daily steps in.

And if you want to take it up a notch, why not consider joining your local walking group and network in the process.

#6 Take a hike

If you’re lucky enough to live near beautiful countryside, then take a hike!

Hiking is one of the best ways to explore what your local area has to offer.

It also has additional benefits for fat loss and increasing the number of calories you are able to burn by walking. 

Related: Walking 2 miles a day: 12 benefits + how to start

Caroline Geoghegan