So, how long does it take to walk a mile? On average, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Walking a mile is healthy, yet many people don’t believe they have the time to do so. While this is understandable — after all, people have busy lives — you do have options.
For instance, you can get up earlier, use a smart app to motivate you, or a walking program. That way, you can set some walking goals and improve your speed.
How long does it take to walk a mile?
In general, it takes most people 15 to 20 minutes to walk a mile.
As important as it is to know your steps in a mile, knowing your time is essential for keeping track of your fitness progress. It may also help you better implement exercise into your daily routine (which is a problem for many).
Of course, 15 to 20 minutes is just the average range of time it takes. Some faster walkers might walk their mile in only 12 minutes, while others take over 20.
To work out how long it will take you to walk a mile, use the calculator below. Select if you walk at a slow, normal, brisk, or fast pace to see how long it will take you to walk a mile, 2 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, 10k, or any distance.
Factors that affect your mile time
Each person is different, and your time will vary depending on a few factors, such as fitness level, age, walking pace, and the environment you’re walking in.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors and why they play a crucial role in your mile time.
People who are more in shape tend to have faster mile times than those who aren’t particularly active. That’s because they’ve trained their bodies to keep an accelerated pace for longer.
Weight also plays a factor here, as people who exercise usually burn more fat on average and can compensate for faster times with leaner muscle mass. They’re also lighter on their feet which makes it much easier to walk fast.
It’s no secret that you tend to slow down as you get older. In most cases, the older you get, the slower you walk.
Interestingly though, studies show that the time difference between walking a kilometer at the age of 20 years versus 60 years in healthy active individuals is only 1.2 minutes. Studies have also shown that the younger you feel, the faster you’ll walk.
So although age may play a factor, if you decide to start walking and work on your mile time, you’ll soon be beating the youngsters.
The rate at which you walk undoubtedly affects your mile time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average walking pace is 2.5 to 4 mph.
Walking pace isn’t always a matter of fitness level; instead, it’s contingent upon what an individual is accustomed to and the speed they wish to walk at.
Your walking pace is subject to change relatively often. On a day when you feel energized and preppy, you’ll probably walk at a faster pace. Likewise, if you didn’t get much sleep the night prior and are feeling sluggish, you’ll most likely take on a more casual pace.
Environment and terrain
Few people consider how the terrain and environment impact their mile time, even though it’s a major factor.
For instance, walking a mile in a city with a level sidewalk will undoubtedly take less time than in nature, where the terrain is rugged, unpredictable, and full of obstacles. Hills will also slow you down since steep slopes take more energy and time to climb up.
How to set a walking goal to walk a mile
First things first, you’ll benefit from having an easy way to track your time and/or steps before setting your goals. There are many fitness devices out there, such as Fitbit or Whoop to manage your fitness journey, but you could also use a free app on your smartphone.
Once you have a way to track your progress, the first step is to see how long it takes you to walk a mile. There are three primary stages you’ll want to consider when setting your mile goals: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Beginner: Walk a mile without stopping
You’ve got to start somewhere, and not everyone can walk a mile right off the bat. Many beginners and people with medical conditions might have trouble completing the first mile straight through.
That isn’t anything to be ashamed of, everyone has to start somewhere. It just means that your first goal is to walk a mile without stopping.
When you first start, you can just walk half a mile or whatever is most practical. You’ll be able to slowly build up, and with enough time and effort, you’ll move on to the intermediate goal.
Intermediate: Reduce your mile time
So you’ve got your mile time. With an intermediate walking program, your next goal will be to cut your time by a minute and, eventually, two minutes.
Remember, it can sometimes be a slow process, so don’t expect to make leaps and bounds overnight. Just move at your own pace and take breaks whenever necessary. With enough determination, you’ll achieve a walking speed far beyond your original expectations.
Advanced: Maintain a fast walking pace for longer than a mile
Once you think you’re ready to go above and beyond, you can move up to the advanced goal.
Fast walkers typically walk a mile in 13 to 15 minutes (sometimes even less!), and it will be your goal to walk multiple miles at this pace.
Covering more miles at a faster pace is beneficial in many ways. You’ll burn more calories, and exercising might take much less time too.
How to increase your walking pace
You have the answer to the question, “How long does it take to walk a mile?” but did you know that your mile time may be faster than you initially recorded? That’s because many factors could inhibit your pace, such as your posture and other unassuming details.
To ensure that you’re walking at the highest efficiency, follow these valuable walking tips:
Take shorter strides
Wait. Doesn’t longer strides equal more distance covered for less effort? Not exactly!
Extending your leg with a longer stride leaves your foot in a straight, outstretched position, which acts as a break to your momentum. Shorter strides will give you much more power behind each step and allow you to move faster.
Push off your toes
Pushing off the toes of your back foot will cause your body to tilt forward and use your weight to propel you at an accelerated pace.
Using your toes as a driver also leaves you in an optimal position to take quick, efficient steps with more strength behind each one.
Keep a good posture
As with most things in life, your walking can be improved by good posture.
Slouched spines and downward spirally necks not only cause back pain but also slow down your mile time.
A good posture means keeping your back straight and your eyes facing forward. If you’re having trouble finding the proper position, try this method:
- Inhale deeply and puff your chest out like a gorilla.
- Bring your head up so that you’re looking straight ahead.
- Next, breathe out and relax your chest while keeping your back straight.
If you ever catch yourself slouching, use this technique to correct it.
Use your arms
Walking isn’t just for your legs; it’s a full-body workout that requires a complete range of motion to reach maximum efficiency.
Utilizing your arms can help propel you forward and naturally twists your body to be in a position with greater mobility.
If you’re unsure what that means, walk a short distance while keeping your entire body stagnant. Next, walk that same distance using your arms and body to walk as you naturally would. Notice how it strains your muscles more to maintain a static position than keeping a fluid, moving one.
Use your glutes and core
As stated in the previous point, you use far more than just your lower legs when walking. Recruiting your glutes and core into your walking technique will improve your balance and sustain a more powerful range of movement.
Health benefits of walking a mile a day
Walking just one mile every day has its perks. Indeed, it has a lot of clinically proven perks, such as:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Weight loss
- Boosted blood flow
- Stronger bones
- Greater endurance
- Increased energy
Walking is such an effective exercise because it employs a variety of different muscles in a single movement, doesn’t take as much energy as more strenuous workouts such as running, and is something most people can do.
Moreover, many studies show that walking is an effective preventive measure for various diseases and chronic illnesses.
You may not notice it at first, or perhaps never at all, but in the long run, you’ll be grateful for everything a simple daily walk can do for you.
How to walk a mile in a day
Walking is free and accessible to everyone, yet many people cannot keep a consistent walking routine. That isn’t because they lack dedication or desire, but it’s often because it conflicts with other aspects of their lives.
Since walking a mile only takes 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll find it easy enough to fit the activity into your weekly regimen if you deliberately plan ahead. Here are some tips to keep you on track:
Wake up 20 minutes earlier
Sometimes, you’ve got to make sacrifices. More often than not, you may have to give up sleep to achieve your goals. While waking up early to walk is rough, you’ll find yourself sleeping much better later on for your efforts.
Take a walking meeting
If you have the luxury to do so, why not try out a walking meeting? Sure, it isn’t for every circumstance, but sometimes casual walk meetings that don’t require any note-taking are an excellent change of pace.
Walk 20 minutes after work
Once you get home from work, your body relaxes, and you won’t want to go out after you’ve sat down. So, take the opportunity to take a short walk before you settle in for the evening.
- How long does it take to walk a mile? It only takes 15 to 20 minutes on average.
- Setting a goal can help improve your time and increase your walking pace.
- Taking shorter strides, pushing off your toes, keeping a good posture, and using your glutes, arms, and core are all ways to immediately improve your walking pace.
- Walking a mile each day can benefit cardiovascular health, improve endurance, boost blood flow, increase energy, and strengthen bones.