How long does it take to walk a mile?

To calculate how long it takes to walk a mile, you need to factor in age, skill level, and general health.

But if you want a back-of-the-napkin estimate, there’s a ballpark range.

“A beginner can usually walk a mile in 15 to 20 minutes, or three to four miles per hour,” says Bethany Rutledge, a USA Triathlon-certified coach and author. Dare to try.

Of course, this leaves a lot of margin for the above factors, explored in more detail below.

Miles: Average walking time by age and sex

Couple walking on Nordic field

According to a 2011 study that looked at average walking speeds among different age groups, men and women in their 30s and 40s tended to walk slightly faster than those in their 20s.

Walking slows ever so slightly in each subsequent decade before slowing significantly in our 60s.

age GENDER speed Time
20-29 male 3.04 mph 19:45
woman 3.0 mph 20:00
30-39 male 3.2 mph 18:45
woman 3.0 mph 20:00
40-49 male 3.2 mph 18:45
woman 3.11 mph 19:17
50-59 male 3.2 mph 18:45
woman 2.93 mph 20:29
60-69 male 3.0 mph 20:00
woman 2.77 mph 21:40
70-79 male 2.82 mph 21:17
woman 2.53 mph 23:43
80-89 male 2.17 mph 27:39
woman 2.1 mph 28:34

Source: PLOS

How walking speed affects mile time

Low shot of women walking

Is there a universal standard for fast, medium or slow walking? Actually yes. Fitness experts tend to use these general guidelines.

Quick: 11 minutes per mile

Modest: 15 minutes per mile

Simple: 20 minutes per mile

According to that scale, it refers to how long it takes to walk a mile and other common distances Medium speed:

miles kilometers 3K 5K 10K 1/2 marathon marathon
15-20 minutes 10-12 minutes 30-37 minutes 1 hour 2 hours 4-4.5 hours 6.5-8 hours

How steps per minute affect mile time

Man testing his fitness tracker

In 2018, British Journal of Sports Medicine Tracks steps taken by people walking at various speeds per minute and reaches the following ranges

slow: 60 to 79 steps per minute

Medium: 80 to 99 steps per minute

Quick: 100 to 119 steps per minute

Strong: 130+ steps per minute

The researchers defined 100 steps per minute as “moderate-intensity exercise.”

Using a fitness tracker — such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit — can help you measure your progress and stay motivated

Most of these wearable devices track distance covered, calories burned and steps taken in a day — or during a workout.

“As you improve your cardiovascular fitness and get in better shape, your time to complete a mile will decrease,” says Rutledge. “In that case, you may want to consider adding distance so your workouts are in the 20-to-30-minute range.”

How can I train for long distance walking?

The key is to be consistent with your walking routine and add to it gradually.

“As a beginner, it helps to focus primarily on frequency,” says Rutledge. “Frequency is achieved gradually at first by doing a few short and easy walks together over several weeks, then gradually adding time and then intensity where appropriate.”

For example: Try walking for 20 minutes the first week. Next week, aim for 25 minutes, and the following week, go for 30 minutes.

Can I lose weight by walking a mile a day?

Woman walking for exercise

It depends on your activity level and diet.

“Combining exercise with diet creates a calorie deficit, which results in weight loss,” says Caleb Back, a New Jersey-based certified personal trainer and health expert at Maple Holistics.

“This means that while one mile may be enough to lose weight, it’s not the only factor to take into account,” he explains.

The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume.

According to the CDC, walking at a moderate pace (3.5 mph) will enable a 154-pound person to burn about 280 calories per hour while walking at a vigorous pace (4.5 mph) will allow them to burn about 460 calories per hour.

That’s not bad – three hours a week, and you burn about 1,500 calories, right?

But that won’t translate to weight loss if you follow your first walk to Starbucks for a sugary frozen drink slathered in whipped cream, and then go to the drive-thru a few times a week after work.

You’ll see what you’re putting in is exactly as much as you’re burning off.

Regardless of what you’re doing to lose weight, walking has been shown to offer a host of other benefits.

These include improved cardiovascular health, lower risk of diabetes and stroke, improved mood, stronger bones and better balance.

And remember: any No amount of exercise is better than none.

“According to the latest government guidelines, even just 10 minutes of movement per day can optimize your health,” says Back. “If you’re walking a brisk mile, it can take you as little as 15 minutes, which means you’re getting more than the minimum amount of movement for optimal health.”

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