Naysayers are everywhere today. For instance, you might be talking about how your daily walking routine has left you feeling really healthy and you’ve noticed some pounds shaving off and suddenly some guy steps in and interjects ‘no, not really true. I’ve read it on some random, obscure website or r/health that running and walking aren’t all that healthy, at least not how you make it to be’.

You feel dejected, because like all of us, you’re lazy enough to accept it as the truth, and you don’t check it out for yourselves. So, today, we’ll take a look at some of the common myths associated with walking and some busting will be done. We’ll also touch on some basic questions about walking, like how long does it take to walk five miles or how much can an average person walk in a day.

First things first, let’s get one thing clear. Whatever activity you do, it is beneficial for your body. If golf can be labelled as a sport, then yes, walking is a healthy exercise. But ironic banter aside, walking actually is considered a healthy exercise, but not the one-off day where you do it. It needs consistency, punctuality and dedication to shave the weight off by consistently going out for long walks, preferably every day.

This way, walking (even at a slow pace) can mean the difference between a bloated, fat physique and toned, fit physique. This notion among some people that walking isn’t a healthy exercise and only serves to tire you and your legs is wrong and needs to be understood from a scientific prism. 

For one, any activity that involves a person moving using his/her body will always burn a lot of calories, fats and will contribute to the healthiness of said person. It’s only with consistency and duration of a walk that this ‘burn down the fats’ can be taken a notch up.

As stated beforehand, increasing the duration, consistency and including in it short spurs of fast-paced walking or jogging can really help slim you down and lose some weight, or get you ready for a strenuous exercise or sport. That’s how much helpful a simple walk can get. So, lets get onto some myth busting about walks and answer some common questions.

  • ‘Walking isn’t too effective for weight loss’

The most common myth is that walking won’t help with weight loss at all, or isn’t that much effective at weight loss as many people make it out to be. To some extent, yes, it is true, since it is just one step above a sedentary activity, and yes, not much can be gained from a simple walk. But, variation, consistency and increasing the duration of the walk can drastically change the health factor; for instance, if you were to switch between different speeds during a walk, from slow to brisk to fast and back to slow again, you could, according to research, burn up to 20 per cent more fat and calories than you would during a simple, monotonous walk. Now you know.

The fact is, that a simple walk isn’t much good when it comes to weight loss, burning calories and all that. Its only with consistency and variation in speed that you can actually make a difference and really feel the walking schedule burning down the fats, the calories and slimming you down the way you want it.

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  • ‘Walk at least five miles in a go or don’t bother’

Once you’ve agreed that walks do, in fact, benefit a person, the talk then moves on to how much should a person walk. Is a mile enough, or you need at least 10 miles under your belt everyday for it to suffice? Well, most of it depends on the person themselves; do they need a 10-mile walk everyday or are their bodily needs being catered to with just five, six miles? And, is 10 miles doing more damage than it is doing any good (especially for older people), because as we all know, walking does take a toll on your body and the more the distance is increased, the likeliness of dehydration and other problems and complications increase. 

The simple fact is that everybody has a different requirement, a different bodily need for exercise. This is dictated, much in terms by various factors like weight, age, height, physical activity levels and sedentary levels and other factors. So, for instance, if a person whose BMI exceeds that of the norm, he/she will definitely need exercise, and that too more strenuous than the simple exercises, like walking. On the other hand, if a person’s BMI is way below the average, a fattening up session would be required and only minimal exercise would be prescribed to help the body store some fat and nutrients for the use and not expend it on exercise. 

Long story short; walk how much it makes you feel better or how much your physician recommends. Under or overperforming will be detrimental for the health and as such, there is no single distance or time that can be applied as universal; walk however much is good for you.

  • ‘People walk because they can’t run’

That’s straight up offensive. No, just kidding. Of course, you can’t expect an obese person to just up and start running like Usain Bolt’s got competition. Walking is actually a great warm-up exercise, and could be used as a pre-workout activity to help your body get ready for a phase of strenuous activity. So, yes, it could be called a precursor, but certainly a person who only walks and shies away from running isn’t doing do because running is inherently difficult. it could be that he or she might be warming up for a sprint, or a really long jog. So, no need to judge. Brisk walking or walking at a fast pace could double as a slow jog, so really, a variation in waling speed can be termed running or jogging. No need to be so hard on yourselves and others. 

How long does it take to walk five miles?

A purely subjective question, considering that walking speeds are different per person and it really depends on the landscape and some other factors. But an objective answer would be how much time on average would it take for an individual to walk that much. And that answer is delivered without any drama: about 1.5 hours or 85 minutes.

This isn’t just a random figure, it takes into account the average human walking speed of 3.5 miles per hour and all things considered, like other factors of the track being downhill or uphill, which comes up to the figure that it’ll take an average person more than 80 minutes to do. Increase the speed, and you could do so within an hour or just above 60 minutes.

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How many miles can the average person walk in a day?

Again, pretty subjective. There are people that can walk all day long and still be up for a hiking trip and there are people from down the street who go to the local rec center on bikes or cars because why waste five minutes on walking. But again, on an average, the figure would come out somewhere around 72 miles, considering that an average person can walk 3.1 miles in an hour. And considering that on the scale of eight hours, the answer would come up to 24 or 25 miles that an average person can comfortably walk in a day.