Everybody walks at a different pace, so asking how long it takes is like asking “how long is a piece of string?”
Short of doing the walk and timing yourself, you can figure out how long it takes by using averages and other people’s examples.
Fortunately, there are pedometers and other measurement tools out there, if you want to take exact measurements of your walking speed. With smartwatches and phone apps, you don’t even need to worry about calculating your speed as it’s done automatically.
Even then, your own speed will change as you age and as your fitness level fluctuates over time.
Here you’ll find out the average time it takes for most people to walk 1 mile. From there, we can figure out how 5 miles will generally take. Then, we can also break down the factors that affect your speed and provide you with the information used to estimate walking speeds.
Before we get into the technical details, here’s the fast answer. First, it takes a human being approximately 15 to 22 minutes for them to walk 1 mile.
Accepting that, this means it would take anywhere from 75 to 110 minutes for a human to walk 5 miles. That’s between 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Most of us will fall within that time frame when challenged with walking 5 miles.
How Long Will I Take?
But of course, “a human being” is just average. How fast you will walk may be different. Many factors influence how fast we can walk. Some of them are inherent to us while others may depend on more superficial factors. Here are the main ones:
- Age – You can’t walk fast with a fragile hip.
- Physical Fitness – You’ll walk faster when you’re lighter and/or propelled by muscle.
- Sex – The male and female walking averages are slightly different.
- Terrain – You’ll walk faster on solid (but not too solid) ground.
- Obstacles – Anything from climbing to opening doors, all of which add time to your journey.
We don’t know where you’re going, so we can’t anticipate the terrain you’re walking on or the obstacles you face. That said, you can control for these when planning your walking route.
It’s well-known in camping and hiking circles that the more elevated and mountainous a region is, the longer it’ll take you to walk through it. With that in mind, you can take steps to anticipate a longer journey or choose a different, faster path to get to your destination.
You can’t change how old you are. Assuming no injuries to the legs or back that stop you from moving as fast, the drop off in speed is slow and gradual through the 20s, 30s, and early 40s.
By the 50s, however, you’re going to start feeling some rust when you move. Keeping fit can help you stay limber.
There are still very old people out there who jog marathons and stay active, and they would walk 5 miles a lot faster than many other people their age.
Lastly, men typically clock in faster than women, but the difference is negligible. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or over 50, there is only 20 seconds to a minute of difference between how fast a man or woman can tackle the same ground.
Having established all of the above, which one is the most important? We would say fitness. Assuming neutral terrain, a fit woman will outwalk an unfit man.
A fit older person will also outpace many unfit younger people. It seems that staying fit and healthy controls the other factors that influence how fast you walk, so that’s what you should focus on if you want to improve your walking speed.
How To Calculate Your Speed?
Calculating your speed is easy – you don’t. Instead, you use more precise technology that will calculate it for you, sparing you from having to use math. FitBit is very popular for providing a detailed rundown of your stats, one of which is how fast your pace is.
There are more specific apps out there that do the same too, some of which use GPS to take topographic details into account. Apple and Garmin offer watches that make many of the same calculations, too.
Failing that, get a friend and a stopwatch (or stopwatch app). Human delay will take a few milliseconds away from your time, naturally, but that’s negligible when you’re walking for over an hour.
How Fast Can It Be Done?
So, we know the average figures and how they may be different for you, but how fast can walking 5 miles be done? While we can’t find much about somebody being the fastest at walking 5 miles, we do have Tom Bosworth as an example.
Tom Bosworth is a British Olympian who specializes in racewalking. He holds the world record for the fastest mile ever recorded, at 5 minutes and 31 seconds.
For context, that’s slightly faster than the average person can run a mile. Also remember that the average person takes 15 minutes to cover 1 mile by walking, if not 22 minutes.
Now we can’t know how long it’d take Bosworth to walk exactly 5 miles, many of his events were noted in kilometers. He holds a record for covering 10 kilometers in 39 minutes and 40 seconds, whereas 5 miles is just over 8 kilometers.
If we’re doing some very loose math, multiplying Bosworth’s 1 mile walk time by 5 might give us something close to an answer, but note that this doesn’t account for pacing and physical conditioning.
At any rate, that’d be somewhere over 25 minutes at 27:35. Again, remember that the average person does it in at least 75 minutes.