Running is great exercise. We all know that. But maybe you feel like you’re not quite ready to run just yet. Or maybe you are coming back from an injury and need to ease into things. Or, maybe you simply prefer mellower activities like walking. In any of these cases, you might have some questions about walking for exercise.
The good news is that walking is an excellent way to exercise. In some ways, it’s actually superior to running.
While running can help you to see results faster (like losing weight), walking is a great workout and it’s a great, lower impact exercise for people with injuries or who don’t want to run (yes, we know you’re out there!).
In this article, we’re going to discuss walking times and various paces, giving you a good idea of what to expect if you want to walk a mile or more.
How Long Does It Take to Walk One Mile?
The short answer, as always, is that it varies. Just like it might take one runner 10 minutes to run a mile and another 5 minutes to run a mile, it all depends on pace, terrain, and weather.
How fast you are able to walk a mile depends on your age and your fitness. Someone who is in good physical shape or who regularly walks a mile is obviously going to be able to go faster than a beginner.
Similarly, someone in his 30s is likely going to be able to walk one mile faster than someone in her 60s. As we all know, people tend to slow down some as they get older.
As a general guideline, walking a mile in 15 minutes is a properly fast challenge even for the very fit. A mile in 20 minutes is still on the fast side, but more manageable for most people. But as with running, don’t judge yourself on other people’s paces. Do what you can do, and set your sights on improving slowly. You are your own best yardstick.
Terrain can play a huge role in how fast you’re able to walk. For example, it’s going to take you more time to walk up a hill than to walk on flat ground because you have to exert more effort. Frustratingly, walking downhill speeds you up less than an uphill slows you down. So even though your route might have equal uphills and downhills, a hilly route will always be slower than a flat one.
Additionally, some surfaces may be more comfortable than others. For example, you might be able to walk faster on grass than on concrete because it is softer. Likewise, walking on the beach will take you longer because the softness of the sand absorbs some of your stride.
Finally, weather can play a huge role in pace. It might be quite comfortable to keep up a brisk pace when it’s 65-75 degrees outside. Try doing that when it’s cold and rainy or when it’s super hot. It’s much less likely.
Average Time to Walk One Mile
Typically, there are three common walking speeds: slow, moderate, and fast. Depending on what your fitness goals are, it’s important to know what kind of speed you should be shooting for.
3 Basic Speeds & Paces
A slow walking speed is going to be around 2.5 mph or roughly a 24-minute-mile, although this obviously will vary depending on the factors we listed above.
A moderate walking speed is between 3-4 mph, which works out to a 20-minute-mile to a 15-minute-mile respectively. This is an average speed for someone in their 20s.
Finally, a fast speed would be between 4-5 mph, which is a 15-minute-mile to a 12-minute-mile respectively. A 12-minute-mile is also considered a jog or a light running pace.
Just by looking at the times, it’s pretty easy to see what is a slow, leisurely pace and what would be considered a very brisk, speed walking pace.
If you want to know how long it would take to walk other distances, no worries! We’ve already figured it out for you. You can also use a pace calculator if there are other distances you want to know about.
Slow (2.5 mph)
- 1k: 14:54
- 5k: 1:14:34
- 5 miles: 2:00:00
- 10k: 2:29:09
- Half Marathon: 5:14:34
- Marathon: 10:28:48
Moderate (3-4 mph)
- 1k: 9:19-12:25
- 5k: 46:36-1:02:09
- 5 miles: 1:15:00-1:40:00
- 10k: 1:33:13-2:04:18
- Half Marathon: 3:16:30-4:22:00
- Marathon: 6:33:00-8:44:00
Fast (4-5 mph)
- 1k: 7:27-12:25
- 5k: 37:17-46:36
- 5 miles: 1:00:00-1:15:00
- 10k: 1:14:34-1:33:13
- Half Marathon: 2:37:12-3:16:30
- Marathon: 5:14:24-6:33:00
How Many Steps Do I Need to Take to Walk One Mile?
Obviously, this can vary widely. It typically takes the average person roughly 2,000-2,500 steps to get to one mile walking. One research study found that walking at 3 mph works out to 2,252 steps per mile while walking at 4 mph works out to 1,935 steps per mile.
That means that if you walk a little faster, you’ll need fewer steps to get that mile in. Additionally, if you run, you’ll need even fewer steps to get to a mile, but that’s because you get more steps in when you run.
How Can I Track How Long It Takes Me to Walk One Mile?
You can track how long it takes you to walk one mile in a variety of ways. Depending on where you live and what devices you have, all of these are ways you can figure out how long it takes you to walk a mile.
Walk Around a Track
A good option is walking around a track, because you know the distance will be accurate. All you need is a stopwatch. Typically, you’ll have to walk four laps around the track to get to a mile.
Walk on a Treadmill
Another option is to use a treadmill because it will calculate distance for you. This is the option my mom prefers because she knows exactly what speed she’s walking. And if she wants to, she can go a little faster some days just with the push of a button.
Use a Phone App
Phone apps are great because they give you a pretty good idea of how long it takes you to walk a mile using the GPS function on your phone. However, they are not completely accurate, so only use a phone app if you want a general idea, especially if you’re walking outside.
Wear a GPS Watch
Most runners use GPS watches, but there’s nothing stopping you from getting a GPS watch as someone who walks instead of runs. This will give you an excellent idea in real time of how long it takes you to walk a mile as well as what your fastest and slowest speeds were.
Can I Improve My One-Mile Walking Time?
Yes, you can, and like running, a good option is to do it consistently. While it might be somewhat strenuous to walk one mile now if you haven’t been working out, it will get much easier the more you do it and you will get faster.
You can even do walking intervals like runners do speedwork by walking a certain distance at a faster pace alternating with brief slower pace breaks in between. This is definitely one of the best ways to increase your speed.
You can also start walking up hills, as this will help you develop endurance and is another way to do speedwork that isn’t as hard on the body. When you go back to flat surfaces after doing hills for a while, you’ll find that your one-mile time is faster.
It all comes down to pushing yourself a little bit beyond what is typically comfortable for you. That’s when you’ll start to see results that you’re picking up the pace.
Can I Lose Weight Walking One Mile a Day?
Yes, you can definitely lose weight walking one mile a day. Simply put, you will burn calories. You won’t see as great a benefit as from running, but it will impact your weight. However, how many calories you’ll burn varies by your speed and your weight.
For example, someone who is 140 pounds and who is walking at a slower to moderate speed of 2.5-3.5 mph will burn about 75 calories each mile that he or she walks. It’s not a ton of calories, but it could make a difference if you’re changing your food habits too.
If you want to know roughly how many calories you can expect to burn, you can use this calculator that requires you to input your weight, speed, and the number of minutes that you walked. As a good rule of thumb, you’ll burn more calories the heavier you are and the faster you walk.
Weight is not an absolute measure of health. Rather than focusing specifically on losing weight, focus on building a fitness habit. Your heart, lungs, muscles, mind (and yes, waistline) will all thank you in unison.
Whether you’re walking because that’s how you get your exercise, or whether you’re thinking of running soon, walking is a great way to make sure that you’re doing something to stay physically fit.
You won’t burn tons of calories, and it will definitely take you longer to walk a mile than someone who is running, but you’re helping to lengthen the numbers of years you can expect to live here on earth.
Hopefully this article has been helpful in giving you an idea of how long it typically takes someone to walk a mile as well as what your number is!