If a ritualistic steps tracker you’ve probably checked to see how many miles hitting a 10,000 daily steps goal will earn
you. you might think walking a mile is a lot, only to notice it boiled down to a few thousand steps, or perhaps you’ve
noticed the 10,000 daily steps distance doesn’t match exactly to a friend’s or partner’s mileage. Spoiler alert – the
number of steps in a mile will vary from person to person.
“Pace and stride length are factors in calculating how many steps it takes for each to reach a mile while walking or
running” said Teddy Savage, national lead trainer at Planet Fitness.
We can estimate how many steps are in a mile – knowing this can help enhance overall wellbeing and encourage you to walk more. “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. This is especially relevant for how fitness trackers allow you to stay on top of your steps. The most important component of fitness trackers is they put the power of ownership and accountability directly in your hands and allow you to proactively plot your course to wellness success. Setting the tracker to give hourly reminders for step count, milestones to celebrate or gentle nudges to motivate to get moving are great ways to leverage the power and potential of fitness trackers to increase overall step count and daily activity” Savage said.
How many steps in a mile?
“Average stride length has been measured at 2.1-2.5 feet corresponding to ~2,000 steps
for 1 mile” Savage explained. Pace slightly impacts steps-per-mile number but not as drastically as it may seem since
how fast you’re walking or whether walking or running doesn’t change stride much. “Walking for a mile at a moderate
pace = ~2,000 steps, running at an easy pace may work out to be a tad closer to 1.2 miles per 2,000 steps so it’s not as
vast a difference as one might think” said Savage.
If interested in calculating exactly how many steps in your mile measure the length of 1 stride –
some fitness tracking systems such as Apple Health can tell your average stride length based on walking data.
There are 5,280 feet in a mile – divide this by the length of your stride. There’s no such thing as ideal stride length – a
number of factors influence it, the most important thing is regularly moving your body in general – you may be able to
hack yours if you see fewer steps-per-mile as bragging rights.
“The most notable stride factors are height, flexibility and joint range of motion. You can’t change height, however
impact flexibility and range of motion can be changed with exercise and stretching regimens. Flexibility through the
posterior chain including hamstrings, calves and glutes greatly impacts stride length – performing dynamic (gentle
movements) and static (stationary) stretches are best to improve this region. Joint range of motion through hips, knees and ankles is equally important and increased through targeted exercises designed to widen range of motion in those areas.” Consult a personal trainer or physical therapist to create a strengthening and flexibility routine.
Why steps per mile matters
Knowing how much distance you’re covering each day (beyond an official workout) can help get a better handle on physical activity levels and goals. “Walking is an underrated form of exercise or active recovery. We understand the benefits of cardiovascular strength in running but walking is great for heart and lungs. Walking supports bone health, boosts mood, improves cognitive function, reduces blood pressure and helps sleep. Walking in nature provides vitamin D and fresh air” explained Cristina Chan, CPT, F45 Training Recovery Athlete.
The bonus exercise by achieving daily step goals is good but walking is a beneficial addition to cardio and strength
training routines. “Pairing the consistent benefits of walking with an energizing workout creates a balanced fitness
routine. The steady recuperative pace of walking complements dynamic exercises” Chan added.
Committing to and striving to reach new daily step goals boosts confidence. “It provides the opportunity to celebrate
your efforts daily” said Savage.
How many steps daily
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention most people take 3,000- 4,000 steps daily – it recommends doubling that (and then some) for adults which is where the 10,000 comes from. Research suggests as little as 4,000 steps daily reduces the risk of dying from all causes but there are more benefits to10,000 steps daily.
Getting more from walking
These expert-backed tricks can help make the most of walking
- Increase walking pace “This raises heart rate and puts the heart under greater positive stress improving endurance and heart health” Savage said.
- Change tempo during walk Alternating between slower and faster paces promotes physical strength and endurance and “engages different areas of the brain” said Savage.
- Different terrain Walking uphill and downhill increases range of motion and mobility.
- Add weight Wear a weighted vest or carrying light dumbbells to increase strength, Weight-bearing aerobic activities are key to develop stronger bones and maintain bone density with age. Walking with weight increases intensity while staying low-impact requiring more energy for better cardiovascular strength and higher calorie burn” Chan explained.