How Many Steps in a Mile Should You Cover?
How many steps in a mile should you ideally cover? This seemingly simple question actually has no set answer. It depends on how you’re counting, or more specifically, what walking stride length your device uses when tracking your steps in a mile or longer.
While we can’t exactly tell how many miles you ran when you only walked 5k steps, we can give you the information needed to get the answer yourself.
How Many Steps in a Mile Should One Cover?
Since the average person takes between 2,000 and 7,000 steps in a mile (which is between 1.2 and 3.5 miles), it's possible to estimate how many steps in a mile are taken by multiplying their average number of steps per mile by 5.
For instance, if a person takes 3,000 steps in a mile they would walk 15 miles in 10,000 steps. On the other hand, if they took 4,500 steps in a mile, then they'd walk 20 miles.
So, now you know how many steps in a mile are optimal to cover!
How Many Calories Do I Burn When I Walk?
The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a day as a baseline goal. That's the equivalent of 5 miles! However, if you're someone who doesn't walk much and has never been an active person, it's best to start small—just add a few hundred steps each day until you're at your goal.
To help you get started, here are some common daily activities and the estimated number of calories they burn:
20 minutes of walking (4 mph) = 150 calories burned
15 minutes of running (6 mph) = 250 calories burned
30 minutes of swimming laps = 300-400 calories burned
How Many Miles Should I Walk a Day?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average person takes 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, which covers a walking distance of 1.5 to 2 miles a day. Doctors consider anything less than 5,000 daily steps to be sedentary lifestyle behavior because most people in the U.S. don’t walk enough steps for optimal health.
Other experts claim that targeting 15,000 steps is ideal for lowering the risk of metabolic syndrome. However, if you struggle to reach 15,000 steps daily, aim for 10,000 steps to still reap the rewards.
How Much Should I Walk to Lose Weight?
If you want to lose weight, dropping about one pound per week is a good target. Walking is a great way to keep the weight off because it doesn't have a lot of impact on your joints. You'll burn more calories as a heavier person, and as you lose weight, your calorie-burning will slow down.
A brisk walk is recommended for weight loss, but if you want more of a challenge, try jogging or running. To lose weight, aim to walk for 30-90 minutes several days each week at a brisk walking pace. You should average at least 150 minutes of walking each week.
Factors That Affect Step Length
There are a few other factors that affect the length of your steps in a mile. Your height, weight, stride length, and even how much sleep you get can impact your daily step count.
- The terrain you're walking on: If you're walking down a steep hill, your feet will have farther to go to reach the ground than if you were walking over flat ground. This means that more steps will be needed for each mile covered on steeper terrain.
- Your shoes: When wearing uncomfortable or inappropriate footwear (like high heels), your foot may not land correctly when taking each step—which can lead to shortened stride lengths and fewer steps taken per mile covered.
If you want to improve your health by increasing your daily activity level, 10,000 steps is a good goal for most people.
This goal may seem too high or too low for you. Based on previous research into how many steps per day we should all be getting (no matter our age), we suggest checking out an app like Fitbit that can help track progress towards these goals!
Not all steps in a mile are the same, but you can rely on the 10k!
It's easy to get discouraged by the number of steps in a mile, but you should keep going! Don't fret about how many calories you're burning or how much weight you're losing at this point.
Focus on making exercise part of your daily routine, and get more active every day. As long as you're moving more than you were before, and doing so for longer periods of time, then congratulations! You are doing what is needed to improve your health and happiness.
After all, there's nothing quite like taking that first step towards better health and feeling good again!