It may seem like an easy question to answer, however, figuring out the number of steps in a mile is slightly more complicated than it appears. While the average walker takes between 2,000 and 2,500 steps when completing a mile, this number varies widely depending on factors like your stride length and the terrain you're walking on.
Calculate Steps Per Mile
You can use a few different techniques to more accurately figure out the number of steps you take while walking a mile.
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1. Use a Pedometer
Using a portable step counter, also known as a pedometer, is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to count your steps. While each pedometer is different (some require you to begin by inputting your step length), most will automatically detect your steps as soon as you turn the pedometer on.
Simply fasten the device to your belt or waistband and begin walking. At the end of your walk, check the digital display to see how many steps you've taken.
Tips for Using a Pedometer
Try using these helpful tips to make your pedometer more effective.
- To help your pedometer more accurately keep track of your steps, make sure to place it on your belt just above your hip or clip it to your shorts directly above your knee.
- Be sure to keep the device snug and secure while you wear it. Allowing the pedometer to tilt as you walk may give you inaccurate step readings.
- Some pedometers allow you to calibrate the sensitivity. If your device has this feature, test its precision by taking 50 steps and seeing if the display correctly calculates your walk. If it doesn't, adjust the sensitivity accordingly to better customize your results.
2. Measure Your Stride Length
Calculating your stride length is an even more precise way to figure out exactly how many steps it takes you to walk a mile. To do this, start by going to a place where the exact distance between two objects is known. You can use a track if there's one nearby.
Next, walk at a comfortable pace between the two points. Be sure it takes at least 20 steps to do this. Finally, divide the total distance you walked in feet by the number of steps you took. This number is your stride length.
How Many Feet per Mile
Since there are 5,280 feet in a mile, you can use this number and your stride length to calculate how many steps it takes you to complete a mile. To do this, divide 5,280 by your stride length (in feet).
Common Height-to-Stride Ratios
While it's certainly not the most precise method, several standardized height-to-stride ratios can also be used to quickly estimate the number of steps in a mile.
- A 5'0'' individual takes approximately 2,556 steps
- A 5'5'' individual takes approximately 2,360 steps
- A 5'8'' individual takes approximately 2,256 steps
- A 6'0'' individual takes approximately 2,130 steps
- A 6'3'' individual takes approximately 2,045 steps
Read more: Can Walking Be Enough to Reduce Obesity?
Frequently Asked Walking Questions
Walking is a great way to lose weight and stay in shape. The section below provides the answers to some of the more common questions about this form of exercise.
1. How Long Does It Take to Walk a Mile?
Just as each person's stride is slightly different, each person walks at a different speed. On average, adults walk at a rate of about 3.1 mph. At this pace, it would take 19 minutes and 21 seconds to complete a mile.
However, this number can vary greatly depending on the person's fitness. Some higher-level athletes are able to walk a mile in under seven minutes. In addition, it's also important to factor in the walking terrain and the number of hills along your path. Each of these variables can also impact the time it takes.
2. How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking a Mile?
There's no uniform number of calories that are burned from walking. Factors like the person's weight, their walking speed and the incline of the course play a big role.
For example, a 130-pound person walking on a flat surface at a speed of 3.5 miles per hour will burn 64 calories per mile. That same person will burn about 101 calories if the mile course is uphill. Heavier individuals also burn more calories while walking. For example, a 180-pound person walking a flat mile course at the same speed of 3.5 miles per hour burns about 77 calories.
Read more: 6 Ways to Burn More Calories by Walking
3. How Many Steps Should You Take a Day?
Taking 10,000 steps per day, which roughly equates to about 5 miles, is a good benchmark goal. People walking at least that far daily have been found to have lower blood pressure levels and better heart health.
In addition, individuals who consistently walked 10,000 steps each day were found to more effectively lose weight and to have less risk of developing diabetes. Of course, there is not a uniform answer for every person. Less experienced walkers may want to start with a lower step goal. When this target becomes easy, try to increase the amount in 500 step increments.
4. How Can I Walk More Throughout the Day?
There are many easy changes you can make to your day to increase the number of steps you take.
- Instead of using the elevator, take the stairs whenever you go to a different floor at work.
- Purposely park farther away in the parking lot when you're running errands.
- Instead of sitting in a conference room, hold walking meetings with your co-workers.
- When watching TV, make it a point to stand and walk around whenever there are commercial breaks.
Read more: The 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge
What Do YOU Think?
How have you tried to increase the number of steps in your day? What is your favorite way to track your walking? How has walking improved your overall health? Tell us in the comments below!
- Very Well Fit: How Many Steps are in a Mile?
- Fit Bit: How do I measure and adjust stride length for my Fitbit device?
- WikiHow: How to Use a Pedometer?
- American College of Cardiology: Exercise: How to Use a Pedometer
- Beach Body on Demand: How Many Steps are in a Mile?
- Reference: How Long Does it Take to Walk a Mile?
- Boost Body Fit: How Long Does it Take to Walk a Mile?
- Healthline: How Many Calories Do You Burn While Walking?
- CNN: Should You be Aiming for 10,000 Steps a Day?
- Preventative Medicine: Impact of a Pedometer-Based Workplace Health Program on Cardiovascular and Diabetes Risk Profile
- American Journal of Health Promotion: Effects of a 10,000 Steps per Day Goal in Overweight Adults
- Hypertension Research: Walking 10, 000 Steps/Day or More Reduces Blood Pressure and Sympathetic Nerve Activity in Mild Essential Hypertension