Taking long strolls can be time-consuming. But the payoff is often worth it: Walking 5 miles a day, for instance, has many benefits, including high calorie burn and possible weight loss.
Here's everything you need to know about how walking 5 miles a day can affect your weight and overall wellbeing.
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Calorie Burn From Walking
Walking long distances can take considerable time. But the extended physical activity of walking 5 miles a day is good for calorie burn.
How many calories you burn from walking, exactly, depend on factors like your speed and weight. For example, if you walk at a pace of 3 1/2 miles per hour, a 125-pound person can burn approximately 214 calories per hour, while a 185-pound person can burn about 318 calories per hour, per Harvard Health Publishing.
At this rate, you can complete 5 miles in about an hour and 26 minutes. For the 185-pound individual, that's about 398 calories burned with a daily 5-mile walk, which can result in weight loss over the course of several weeks.
If you increase your pace to 4 miles per hour, you can complete 5 miles in about an hour and 15 minutes. At this pace, a 125-pound person can burn about 338 calories and a 185-pound person can burn 473 calories per hour.
While it can be tempting to walk as quickly as possible to complete your 5 miles, you should start your exercise program slowly to allow your body time to adjust to the activity, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can help you avoid muscle overuse or injury.
In order to lose one pound of body weight, you must burn or eat 3,500 calories less than your body needs. For safe and sustainable weight loss, aim to lose one to two pounds per week, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Walking 5 miles per day can support this weight-loss pace by creating a calorie deficit where you burn more calories than you take in.
If you want to lose weight but can't commit to the time to walk 5 miles daily, you can still achieve your weight-loss goals. For instance, you can walk 5 miles a day a couple of times a week or participate in other physical activity.
You can also support weight loss by making changes to your eating habits. Per the CDC, tips to optimize your diet include:
- Eat lean meats and proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Substitute high-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese for low- or no-fat options.
- Pick nutritious options when you go out to eat: For example, order a side salad instead of fries or chips.
How Long Does It Take to Walk 5 Miles?
How long it takes to walk 5 miles every day depends on factors like your step length, speed and what sort of terrain you're walking on.
But in general, briskly walking a mile can take anywhere from 13 to 20 minutes, according to UC Berkeley. As a result, the time it takes to walk 5 miles can range between an hour and five minutes to an hour and 40 minutes.
Benefits of Walking 5 Miles a Day
Beyond burning calories and contributing to weight loss, there are other benefits of walking, including:
1. It Supports Heart Health
Walking, especially at a faster pace, can improve your heart health and decrease your risk for a cardiovascular event, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
This includes improving your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk for diabetes and obesity.
2. It Can Reduce Stress
Regular exercise (including walking) can also support mental health by decreasing stress and reducing your risk for depression and anxiety, according to the CDC.
3. It's Easy on Your Joints
While running burns more calories, it also places a lot of pressure on your joints each time your foot lands.
Walking, however, is a low-impact activity. One foot is solidly placed on the ground at all times, so each footfall causes far less strain on your joints, per UC Berkeley. Walking is also a very practical means of transportation and a good way to get where you are going while reaping all the benefits of exercise.
Walking 5 Miles a Day for a Month
Per the CDC, you can lose one to two pounds per week by eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly, like by walking 5 miles a day. If you continue this habit for a month, that can lead to as many as 8 pounds of weight lost.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Participant Guide: Burn More Calories Than You Take In"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Walking: Your Steps to Health"
- UC Berkeley: "Exercise: Starting a Walking Program"
- Mayo Clinic: "Fitness: Create a program that's right for you"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Benefits of Physical Activity"
- UC Berkeley: "Health Benefits of Walking vs. Running"
- Harvard Heart Letter: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Fifteen-year Longitudinal Trends in Walking Patterns