Here's What a Good Walking Pace Looks Like for a Mile
Sport & Activity
Aiming for a mile a day is a great way to incorporate more walking into your regular exercise routine and reap the health benefits.
Have you ever wondered how long it takes to walk a mile? The duration of your mile, of course, depends on your average pace. But pace guidelines exist to give you a general idea of how long it takes for an average person to walk a mile.
Walking is a natural form of movement for humans as we are the only habitually bipedal primates—meaning that we stand upright on two feet. From that upright position, we are able to walk and run. It makes sense, then, that walking is one of the most popular types of exercise. There aren't any special skills or equipment required. And walking is good for you, according to the American Heart Association, which concluded that brisk walking for 150 minutes a week can:
- Boost cognitive function
- Reduce disease risk
- Lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health
- Increase energy and stamina
- Improve quality of life
- Prevent weight gain
How Long Does It Take to Walk a Mile?
Aiming for a mile a day is a great way to incorporate more walking into your daily routine and to enjoy the benefits of being active. For beginners, a mile may seem like a long walk, but for most it's an easily attainable goal.
Most people can expect to walk a mile in 15 to 22 minutes, according to data gathered in a 2019 study spanning five decades. The average walking pace is 2.5 to 4 mph, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Factors that affect the speed of your pace include physical fitness levels, the incline and your age.
Competitive walkers, for instance, can walk an 11-minute mile, according to a 2015 study on walking groups. These walkers are physically fit and able to maintain a fast pace for one mile. How long should it take to walk a mile, fast? Between 11 and 15 minutes, ideally.
If you walk at a more relaxed pace, are new to fitness or are older, your average mile time may be closer to 20 minutes. But your average speed can be improved with practice.
How Much Should You Walk Per Day?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or about 20 minutes per day. Depending on your pace, this could mean walking at least one mile per day.
How to Increase Your Walking Pace
As with any type of exercise, to get better, you've got to build stamina. How do you build stamina? You practise. The more you train your body, the better it performs.
To increase your walking pace, you first need to track your progress. For beginners, walking a mile might take more than 22 minutes. Beginners may need to stop and start, or adjust their pace to catch their breath. Over time, your fitness levels will improve and your one-mile time will decrease.
You can calculate your walking pace by using a pedometer or app that tracks step cadence. Watch to see how your speed increases.
Another helpful way to track your progress is to monitor your perceived exertion, which is an indication of your heart rate. As your heart rate increases, so does your breathing rate. It is harder to maintain a higher heart rate, so you may have to adjust your pace to catch your breath.
As your fitness level improves, you will have better cardiac output and aerobic capacity (your VO2 max). This means that you won't get out of breath so easily and can maintain a faster pace for longer. As a result, your average one-mile pace will improve.
You can track your exertion by taking note of how you feel—how easily can you maintain a conversation during the exercise? Or by monitoring your heart rate.
To keep your data reporting accurate, try to walk the same terrain for the mile each time. Walking a steep or uneven terrain will take longer. You might calculate and track your pace by walking on a treadmill.
As your fitness level improves, so will your walking pace. Other recommendations to try: wear proper footwear, take shorter strides, use your arms for acceleration and engage your core. Taken together, these tweaks can push your mile faster.
How to Set a Walking Goal
Depending on your starting point, there are different walking goals you can work towards. Here are some example goals based on your starting point:
- Beginner: Finish a mile without stopping.
- Intermediate: Cut two minutes from your mile time.
- Advanced: Maintain a walking pace of 4 mph, or a 15-minute mile for more than one mile.
Lifestyle changes can help too. For example, try walking to the coffee shop instead of driving, taking work calls while walking around the block or socialising on a walk rather than in a restaurant. The more you walk, the better your fitness levels get and the more stamina you build.
Once you progress and want to challenge yourself further, consider signing up for a charity walk or a local speed-walking group. For advanced walkers, this might culminate in signing up for a half-marathon.
So How Long Should It Take to Walk a Mile Fast?
It should take around 11 to 15 minutes to walk a mile fast. Your speed will depend on your fitness levels, gait, terrain, environment, age and other factors. The more you walk, the more your stamina, endurance and fitness levels will improve. As a result, so will your speed. Keep at it.
How Long Does it Take to Walk a Half-Marathon?
A common goal to work towards is walking a half-marathon. The distance of a half-marathon is 13.1 miles. If you maintain a brisk walking pace, you can expect to complete this in 3 to 4 hours, walking 13- to 15-minute miles.
To increase your stamina to be able to complete a half-marathon, build up your walking endurance by increasing the amount of miles walked in one training session. Aim for three miles per session, maintaining 13- to 15-minute miles.
As you near the date of your half-marathon, add in one longer walking day per week to test yourself. Increase this by two miles every other week until you meet your 13.1-mile target in one go.