There is a free, underrated, and effective form of cardiovascular activity just waiting for you to use. You can do it anytime, anywhere, and as often as you want. It is often overlooked as not being an “effective form of exercise,” when it is, in fact, one of the great ways to improve your health: walking.
Walking feels like something that is just to get us from one place to another, but it’s a valuable form of exercise most people overlook.
This will be a quick look at why walking is great and the benefits that come from it. If you’re looking to increase your walking distance, we will also look at the question: how long does it take to walk 5 miles?
Why is Walking So Beneficial?
When you look at our upright locomotion or “orthograde posture,” you can break it down to walking, running, and sprinting. In the middle is jogging or running, and as good as they may be, they can cause a lot of problems for people. The constant repetitive motion of jogging–and the hard impact on concrete–can cause a lot of potential issues and injuries.
At the far end of the spectrum is sprinting. Sprinting is an exceptional exercise that can have a lot of health and body composition benefits. But sprinting is not for everyone. And it may be tough if you have joint or knee pain–or any other limitations.
On the other end of the spectrum is simple walking. Walking is the perfect option for those who want the cardiovascular benefits, but might want something less intense. With walking, there is less impact on the joints and tendons. It is less intense so you can go for a longer duration.
There is less pressure on the knees, ankles, and lower back. If you are coming off an injury, walking is the best way to keep your heart rate up without causing too much stress to the body. Research from Harvard University says walking is not only great for the joints but provides other benefits such as:
- Weight loss
- Immune system improvement
- Can actually reduce cravings for sweets
The great thing with walking is there’s nothing to learn or any form to master–you just go. The ideal pace for health benefits and weight loss is going to be at moderate intensity. You can track your heart rate but a few easy signs to look for–to know you’re in the right range–include:
- Feeling warm. Not necessarily sweating, but a general warmth
- Hearing yourself breathing. Not panting, but some audible breathing. If you can still carry on a conversation, you are going at the right pace. If you can’t, it may be too intense and you’ll need to slow the pace
- Your lips will tend to get dry, and you’ll find yourself licking them
You still want to focus on your diet, but this study from the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders says that just 30 minutes of walking on most days of the week may “promote numerous additional healful outcomes over diet alone.” So, if you combine some good nutrition with walking, it could be a winning formula.
How Long Does it Take to Walk 5 Miles?
A 5-mile walk is a good goal to aim for. You can slowly build yourself up to this by adding in some more distance each time you walk. When you’ve built up your endurance and distance, you may wonder how long does it take to walk 5 miles?
There will be many factors that determine this, including:
- Height and weight
- Fitness level
- Pavement or unstable terrain
- Diet and nutrition
- Hydration levels
- Elevation, declines, and level walking surfaces
However, on average, it takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to walk 5 miles. Again, this can change depending on your walking pace. According to The British Heart Foundation average walking speed is around 3 miles per hour or 20 minutes per mile (12 minutes per kilometer).
The table below will give you a guide to how long it takes to walk 5 miles at your walking pace
You can see how beneficial walking is to your health and even appearance. It’s one of the most underrated forms of exercise, but one that provides many benefits. Hopefully, you include regular walking as part of your health and fitness program. And if you’ve wondered how long it takes to walk 5 miles, you can see that there are many factors, but it is an achievable goal to aim for.