Walking 5 Miles A Day: Unexpected Results

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A couple is walking together in the morning.

Calories burnt | Time it takes | How to start | Benefits | Tips | Bottom Line

Walking is one of the most common forms of aerobic exercise suited to people across age groups, genders, and fitness levels. Some people walk for mental health benefits, while others walk to lose extra weight or achieve weight loss.

This article will cover the many health benefits of walking, including how many calories you can expect to burn from this activity.

Walking 5 miles a day: Expected Calorie burn

One potential benefit of walking is that it helps to burn a good number of calories. Studies [1]PubMed: The Influence of Age, Sex and Body Mass Index on the Effectiveness of Brisk Walking for Obesity Management in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis have suggested that brisk walking can create a clinically significant reduction in BMI, waist circumference, fat mass, and overall body weight.

Nevertheless, the calories you can burn by walking 5 miles a day depend on a few factors: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Speed and intensity of walking

Calculating calorie burn through MET value of walking

The amount of calories burned through any form of exercise can be calculated using the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) value. 

For walking, the MET value is roughly 6.0-8.3, depending on the pace. Simply insert the MET value into the formula [2]National Academy of Sports Medicine: METABOLIC EQUIVALENTS FOR WEIGHT LOSS: WHAT ARE THEY & HOW TO CALCULATE THEM given below to calculate the calorie burn from walking.

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

Here is a rough estimate of the calories burned from walking 5 miles per day:

Weight (lbs)Weight (kgs)Calories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 3.5 mphCalories Burned Walking 5 Miles a Day at 4.0 mph

Source: Marathon Handbook

How long does it take to walk 5 miles?

The time it takes to walk 5 miles a day depends on a few elements, and they are:

  • Your average walking speed
  • The stride length (the space between each step)
  • Your height
  • Your level of fitness
  • The surface you’re walking.

According to a study by the British Heart Foundation [3]British Heart Foundation: Walks and treks FAQs, a person with good fitness levels can cover upto 1 mile by walking for 15 minutes(roughly 4 miles an hour)

Thus, on average, it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to walk 5 miles at a pace of 4 miles per hour. Additionally, a person can cover 5 miles per hour if they walk at a pace of 12 minutes per mile. 

Here’s a table that explains the different walking paces, miles covered at that pace, and time taken for the same:

Moderate walking pace20 minutes per mile3 miles per hour
Active walking pace15 minutes per mile4 miles per hour
Hyperactive walking pace12 minutes per mile5 miles per hour

How to get started walking 5 miles a day?

Walking is a relatively simple form of exercise. You do not need much equipment, a gym membership, or a certified personal trainer to get you started. However, if you aim to walk 5 miles a day, you might need some guidance on how to get started.

Here are some tips that will help you start walking 5 miles a day and sustain the pace you have achieved:

  1. Set a goal: Determine your goal for walking 5 miles a day and create a plan to achieve it. Start walking shorter distances and gradually increase your distance as you become more comfortable.
  2. Choose a convenient time: Pick a time of the day that works best for you to walk. Depending on your convenience, you may want to walk in the morning, or you may prefer to walk in the evening.
  3. Find a walking route: Plan a walking route that is convenient and safe for you. You can walk in a park, on a trail, or through your neighborhood.
  4. Be consistent: Once you have managed to start walking 5 miles a day, try to be consistent with your daily walks. Walking at least 4-5 days per week is ideal for maximum weight loss results.
  5. Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body and stop if you feel discomfort or pain. Consult a general physician if you experience any unusual symptoms or health concerns.
  6. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes: Choose clothes and shoes that are comfortable and suitable for walking. Ensure your shoes have good support and cushioning to help prevent foot and leg fatigue.
  7. Track your progress: Use a pedometer or a fitness tracking app to keep track of the distance you are walking and to monitor your progress. This can help you stay motivated and see the progress you are making.

Benefits of Walking 5 Miles a Day

Walking five miles a day can have numerous benefits for your overall health. Establishing this habit can improve your mental and physical well-being while promoting better circulation and even helping you heal faster when injured or sick!

Here are five reasons why you should consider incorporating this habit into your everyday routine:

1. Improved mental health

Walking regularly is associated with improved mood and mental well-being, as well as decreased stress levels. It does this by boosting endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are natural “feel good” chemicals. It helps to ease mood, cognition, memory, and sleep. 

2. Weight loss

Burning calories through walking burns fat, helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Five miles each day can burn up to 600+ calories depending on the speed and intensity of your walk.

3. Improved cardiovascular health

Regular walking increases heart rate and blood flow, leading to improved circulation, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced risk of high blood pressure. By strengthening the muscles in your heart and lungs, walking improves their efficiency at taking in oxygen and circulating it throughout the body.

4. Muscle workout

Walking uses all the major muscles in your body, and it doesn’t require any special equipment or education to get started. This type of low-impact movement helps build strength and endurance without putting strain on joints or bones.

5. Better circulation

Regular walking increases blood circulation throughout the body, allowing oxygen to move freely throughout the body for energy production and other cellular functions. Increased circulation also helps flush out toxins from organs which enhances overall health.

6. Improved healing

Regular exercise stimulates the production of endorphins which act as natural painkillers, helping people better cope with aches and pains associated with illness, recovery, or injury. Additionally, walking can help increase white blood cells that fight off infection, leading to faster healing times when ill or injured.

7. Bone health

This simple, low-impact activity brings about physical changes that strengthen bones, reduce inflammation, and help maintain healthy levels of calcium. Walking has been observed to reduce bone loss [4]PubMed: Walking is related to bone density and rates of bone loss. In fact, it can actually help to increase bone density.  

Tips for a safe walking experience

Walking is an excellent way to get exercise, lose weight, improve your health and even socialize. However, walking can also be dangerous if you don’t take precautions. Here are some tips for staying safe while walking:

1. Walk in well-lit areas

Walking in well-lit areas can help you stay safe while walking at night. Bright lights can help you see your surroundings more clearly, which can help you avoid accidents, tripping, or stumbling. 

2. Wear bright clothing and reflective gear when necessary

Wearing bright clothing and reflective gear can help you stay visible and safe when walking at night or in low light conditions. Bright colors, such as neon or fluorescent hues, can help you stand out and make it easier for others to see you. 

3. Avoid suspicious people and areas

Avoid suspicious people and areas when walking to help ensure your safety. If you encounter a suspicious person or area, trust your instincts and try to remove yourself from the situation quickly and safely. They may try to steal from you or even hurt you. Try to avoid them by walking in another direction or crossing the street.

4. Use caution around construction sites and busy intersections 

Construction sites and busy intersections can be hazardous places to walk around because of the presence of heavy machinery, construction vehicles, and high traffic. Simply avoid such areas while walking or be extremely cautious around such areas if you cannot avoid them.

5. Always carry your phone with you

When you are out walking, it is always best to carry your phone. This way, you can call for help or make sure you are safe and sound. 

6. Avoid distractions like texting while walking

While it is a good idea to have your phone with you at all times, you must avoid using it when you are walking. Attending calls or texting while walking can lead to any number of minor to life-threatening accidents. If you have to make or receive a call or text someone, it is best to stop walking while you do so and resume walking once you are done.

7. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and have good support

Often, incorrect shoe size can lead to foot pain and foot disorders [5]National Library of Medicine: Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature. Proper footwear, on the other hand, can make your walk more comfortable and maximize the benefits you gain from it. 

The Bottom Line

Exercise is excellent for health, and walking is a cost-effective and accessible exercise anyone can do. In this article, we have talked about the benefits of walking and how you can incorporate those benefits into your routine. 
Walking 5 miles a day is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your health and well-being. If you haven’t started yet, start today for better health.

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