Whether you’re new to exercise or getting back into it after a break, walking is a great way to stay active and healthy.
But if you want to plan out your walks, you might be wondering: how long does it take for an adult to walk a mile? Your mile time is the foundation you’ll build upon as you improve, so don’t neglect this data!
Here’s everything you need to know about walking a mile from how long it takes to how to walk faster and farther.
How Long Does It Take to Walk a Mile?
The average time to walk a mile ranges between 15 and 22 minutes. Your time depends on a few different things. Even if you manage to walk a mile in 15 minutes in one case, if you change any of these elements, you can expect a change in your mile time.
Your Walking Pace
The CDC states that the average adult walking speed is 2.5 to 4 miles per hour. At 2.5 miles per hour, you can get through a mile in 24 minutes. You can walk a mile at 4 miles per hour in 15 minutes.
Your pace is the speed you can sustain for the full mile. It’s an average because it’s natural that you might speed up at some points and slow down at some points, like when turning corners or navigating more tricky ground.
Your pace could be slower if you’re not very fit or if you’re new to walking. The fitter you get, the faster you’ll get!
Your Fitness Level
As we just mentioned, the fitter you are, the faster you can walk. It may take some time to hit your stride when you first begin exercising. If you’ve never walked, your fitness level is likely low.
However, the more you walk, your fitness level will improve. With some consistency, you can expect to improve quickly!
The Terrain You’re On
Walking on flat terrain is easier than walking on rough terrain. You’ll likely walk slower on tricky terrain, as you’ll need to be more careful, so you don’t twist an ankle or trip over hazards.
You’ll also be slower if you’re walking on an incline, both uphill or downhill. We advise walking your mile on flat ground to get an accurate idea of your mile time.
If you don’t have a mile-long flat route or a track near you, expect your mile time to be a little slower than average to account for the elevation changes and rough ground.
What the Weather’s Like
The weather can also affect how long you walk a mile. The heat can cause you to fatigue faster, adding minutes to your time. On the other hand, if it’s cold, it may take longer for your muscles to warm up, adding time to your final number.
Wind, rain, snow, and icy surfaces can also affect your speed, as you won’t be able to walk at full speed. This is obviously out of your control, so don’t fret if your mile time seems slower in harsh weather.
Your Body Composition
The more weight you’re carrying, the slower you’ll walk. This is because the more mass you carry, the more energy it takes to walk, slowing you down.
Of course, it doesn’t always mean that heavier walkers will be slower than lighter ones. These other factors also come into play, so this is just one other factor to consider.
Basic One-Mile Walking Paces to Aim For
If you’re unsure what pace to aim for, here’s a quick guide to the pace you should consider depending on how you want your walk to go.
An “easy” walking pace finishes a mile in around 20 to 24 minutes. This will have you walking at a pace of 2.5 to 3 miles per hour. At this pace, you’ll be able to hold a conversation easily without feeling out of breath.
It’s important to note that this pace is a good average for anyone just starting! If you’re in this category, it’s an excellent starting point to build on.
A moderate pace will have you finish your mile in 15 to 20 minutes or 3 to 4 miles per hour. At this pace, you may be able to hold a conversation, but you might have to pause between sentences to catch your breath.
Walking an 11 to 12-minute mile is considered to be fast. That’s around 5 miles per hour, sustained for the full mile. You may not be able to have a friendly chat at this pace without feeling out of breath. It can be considered a light jog.
For Longer Distances
It’s important to note that while you may be able to walk one mile at a certain pace, you’re not likely to be able to keep that up for many miles in a row!
It’s natural for you to slow down incrementally on each consecutive mile. Don’t try to calculate your 5-mile time by simply multiplying your one-mile time by 5! Each mile will get longer, but the better your fitness level, the smaller the difference.
The Benefits of Walking
Whether you’re a newbie or a competitive walker, there’s no denying that walking has many benefits. Here are a few of them.
This is the biggest difference between walking and running. Running can be hard on the joints of the feet, knees, and even the hips. Walking is far more low-impact while still burning a good number of calories.
It’s an excellent exercise for seniors, those with mobility issues, or anyone with joint pain or troubles. The slower nature of walking compared to running also means there’s less chance of accidents like tripping.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Although we walk every single day—at home, at the office, and in the store—it’s a great cardiovascular exercise if you do it with a bit of intensity.
A CDC study suggests that walking could be an effective remedy against cardiovascular disease. While there’s plenty to be said for HIIT workouts, walking is an extremely underrated form of cardiovascular exercise and is accessible to almost anyone!
Improves Insulin Response
For type 2 diabetics or those who are pre-diabetic, this is great news. Simply walking more during your day can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which can better control your blood glucose levels.
According to a study, walking does more for insulin sensitivity than an exercise like cycling. Simply walking every day could be life-changing for individuals with diabetes!
Can Increase Creativity
This might sound far-fetched, but it could be excellent news for those who work in creative jobs. Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education performed studies that indicate the effectiveness of walking for inspiring creative ideas!
Tips for Improving Your Walking Speed
Want to get faster at walking a mile? Here are some tips that can help you improve your speed quickly!
Monitor Perceived Exertion
An easy way to increase your mile time is to pay attention to how you feel while walking. Your “perceived exertion” is how much effort you feel that you’re putting into your walking.
As mentioned above, you may start at an “easy” walking pace. If you want to start improving your fitness level, you can begin to increase your level of intensity.
You don’t have to sustain this pace for the full mile, but try to do it in short bursts, so you get used to that pace. As time passes, you’ll be able to sustain it for longer periods of time.
Wear Proper Shoes
You still need supportive, comfortable shoes even if you’re walking and not running. Make sure there’s enough arch support for your feet, and if you overpronate, you’ll need something with extra support features.
There should also be enough cushioning underfoot to absorb shock as you walk, which will protect your joints. Also, ensure your shoes fit right and don’t put extra pressure on any particular parts of your feet, which could lead to blisters.
Get Your Walking Form Right
Yes, walking form is a thing! And getting it wrong can hamper your performance. Your posture is important, and paying attention to it will help you to increase your mile time.
Keep your body upright and maintain your posture as you walk. Don’t slouch or lean forward in an attempt to speed up. Swing your arms to increase momentum!
Keep your stride short. Your foot should land underneath your hips, not out in front of your body. Push off with the toes of your back foot.
How Many Steps Are In a Mile?
There’s no specific answer for this, as it depends on the walker’s height and stride length. However, the average stride length is between 2 and 2.5 feet, equaling around 2,000 steps per mile.
Depending on your own stride length, yours could be more or less than 2000 steps. Measuring it on your fitness tracker or smartwatch is a good idea.
Also, be aware that not every walk will have the same number of steps, although it should all be in a similar ballpark.
Can You Lose Weight Walking a Mile Day?
Yes, you can! But it requires some work outside of just doing your one-mile walk. The biggest factor in weight loss is burning more calories than you consume.
The number of calories you can burn when walking depends on a number of factors, including your weight, your walking intensity, your pace, and your fitness level.
According to a Harvard Health study, this is how many calories you can expect to burn in 30 minutes of walking:
- 107 calories if you weigh 125 pounds and walk at 3.5 mph
- 133 calories if you weigh 155 pounds and walk at 3.5 mph
- 159 calories if you weigh 185 pounds and walk at 3.5 mph
- 135 calories if you weigh 125 pounds and walk at 4.5 mph
- 175 calories if you weigh 155 pounds and walk at 4.5 mph
- 189 calories if you weigh 185 pounds and walk at 4.5 mph
Remember, these numbers are for 30 minutes of walking, so you’ll need to do some mathematics to figure out how many you would be burning according to how long it takes you to walk a mile.
All you need to do is work out how many calories you burn daily—your TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure.
Then, use an app like MyFitnessPal to calculate how many calories you’re eating every day, and make sure you’re burning more than you’re eating.
That’s how weight loss works! You’ll need to sustain this over many weeks to see results, but it’s possible.
How Much Walking Should You Do In a Week?
The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. If you’re walking a 15 to 20-minute mile, you could easily walk a mile daily.
However, we highly recommend having at least one full rest day every week. You could walk up to 2 miles a day with at least one rest day, but listen to your body and ensure you’re not overdoing it.
Overtraining can happen even if you’re doing moderate-intensity walking. This can set you back days or even weeks if you get injured due to fatigue.
How to Track How Long It Takes to Walk a Mile?
One of the best ways to keep an eye on how your pace is progressing is to track your progress.
This will help you to pick up on small positive changes, like a few seconds increase which you might miss if you weren’t tracking your data.
It’s extremely motivating when you notice that your few seconds here and there are beginning to add up to take minutes off your mile time!
Walk Around a Track
A track is a great choice for those who cannot track distance. All you need is a stopwatch to measure how long it takes you to walk your mile. One mile equals four laps around the track.
Walk On a Treadmill
If you have a treadmill, it tracks your distance and time for you. You just need to keep an eye on when you hit that mile. You also know exactly what pace you’re walking at any given time, so it’s easy to increase or decrease your pace depending on your goals.
Use a Phone App
Phone apps, like Strava or MapMyRun, can be a good choice if you carry your phone with you. They use the GPS on your phone to track your distance, and sometimes you can set them to notify you when you’ve reached a mile so you can check your time.
They’re not the most accurate, and it can also be annoying—and add seconds to your time—to have to take your phone out of your pocket, armband, or belt to check your mile time. But they’re a good choice if you have nothing else.
Wear a GPS Watch
A GPS watch is the most accurate way of tracking your mile time. Don’t think they’re just for runners! A walker can find huge value in a GPS watch, as you’ll get data like distance, time, pace, and your fastest and slowest paces during the walk.
Thankfully, you can find some excellent quality GPS watches that don’t cost an arm and a leg. This is the tracking method we recommend!
Once you’ve chosen your method for tracking your progress, it’s a good idea to keep notes in a training log. This will allow you to compare previous runs to your current ones, so you can see your progress.