How long should it take me to walk a mile?

By | February 26, 2024

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IF YOU’RE ALIVE somewhere with sidewalks you’ll probably have to walk quite a bit to get around. Even if you live in a more car-oriented area, you likely have access to parks and other green spaces for walking. Whether you view walking as exercise or as a means of getting from A to B, there are so many reasons to give your walking habits a little more focused attention.

If you’re wondering how your current walking practice compares to how much (or how fast) others move, consider testing how long it takes to walk a mile. That’s just one benchmark that walking coach Michele Stanten, founder of and author of The walking solution, says it can help you reach for your sneakers more often. Once you know how fast you run and how many steps you take per mile, you can set running goals that fit your lifestyle. Here you can read what you should take into account.

The benefits of walking

You’ve probably heard many times about all the reasons why you should prioritize walking, but they bear repeating.

Walking can help improve your mood

“Once you go outside and start moving your body, it reduces stress, [and] reduces tension,” says Stanten.

Walking can help reduce the risk of disease

Walking is cardiovascular exercise, and this type of exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes and lowers blood pressure, among other health benefits, Stanten said.

Walking is accessible

“Walking is so flexible and easily available,” she says. “You can do it anywhere: at home, from work. You can do it yourself. You can do it with people. You can do it in short bursts, in long bursts; there are so many different ways to walk.”

Walking is a joint-friendly exercise

Exercise gets blood flowing to working muscles and lubricates the joints, which can relieve pain and stiffness, Stanten says. “Walking is low impact,” she says. “So if you have any kind of joint problems, it’s still an activity that most people can do.”

Walking is good for cross training

Even if you enjoy other types of exercise, walking is a simple and accessible way to stay otherwise active, she says. “It’s a great cross-training modality for runners or anyone doing higher-impact exercises.”

How much should you walk every day?

Before you think about how much you should walk or consider setting a goal, assess how much you currently walk, Stanten says. Follow your normal routine and keep track of how many steps you take at the end of each day. Do this for a few days and make sure at least one day is a weekday and one day is a weekend. Record those results so you can have a baseline to move on from.

You may be confused about exactly how many steps you should take each day. Is it 7,500, or is 10,000 still the magic number? Instead of thinking about the number of steps, consider starting with the current one Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity per week. For cardio, that equates to about 30 minutes, five days a week, “which equates to three 10-minute walks a day, which is generally quite achievable,” says Stanten.

If you still find that counting steps is more motivating, she suggests adding another 500 or even 1,000 steps per day, if that seems feasible.

How long does it take to walk a mile?

Another way to track your running fitness is to measure how long it takes to run a mile. “In general, most people cover a kilometer in between 15 and 20 minutes,” says Stanten. “Fifteen is on the faster side, but [for] For people who exercise, that pace of 15 minutes per kilometer is very reasonable.” If you find yourself closer to 20 minutes and your goal is to walk a mile every day (or an extra mile daily), try splitting your work into two 10-minute walks, she says.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to walk a mile, whether you run that mile consecutively or throughout the day. By simply increasing the amount of activity in your life and decreasing sedentary time, you can achieve these benefits for your body and mind.

How to increase your running pace

If you’re interested in increasing your running pace—whether you want to challenge your cardio fitness or just beat the train doors before they close—there are a few tricks and tips that can make an immediate difference, says Stanten.

Bend your arms

Think about it: “You’re not running with our arms at your sides,” she says. “You will walk faster with your arms bent.”

Take shorter, faster steps

The biggest tip for improving your speed is to take short, quick steps, says Stanten. “When people try to walk faster, they automatically start taking big, long steps, and that actually slows you down, and it puts a lot more stress on your joints,” she says. If you step directly in front of you, you can roll through the middle of your foot and push off your toes to keep your stride smoother, she says.

Swing your arms straight

Avoid swinging the arms back and forth or letting them cross your body as you move, Stanten says. “Your hand should return to about your hip and swing forward, but not above chest height.”

Maintain a good posture

“Stand up nice and tall,” she says. “Open your chest. It’s easier to breathe. Keep your abs tight; that will help.”

Choose a goal to walk towards

“People walk faster if they choose a spot in front of them and concentrate on that instead of looking around,” says Stanten. Choose someone who is walking in front of you and try to catch up with him mentally.

Mix your pace

Mix periods of walking at your most intense pace, moderate pace and recovery pace. Then track your time on a set route before the intervals, and after, to see how your pace is progressing.

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