Average Walking Speed By Age And Sex


Walking can be fantastic for your health and can be a challenging workout in its own right, especially if you are a beginner or push yourself to walk at a faster pace.

But how fast should you be walking? What is the average speed for walking by age and sex? What is the average human walking speed overall?

If you’re trying to determine how fast you should be walking during your walking workouts or how your walking speed compares to the average human walking speed, it can be helpful to know the average speed for walking categorized by age and sex.

In this article, we will discuss the average walking speed for most average walkers, factors that affect walking speed, and tips on how to walk faster.

We will cover: 

  • What Is the Average Human Walking Speed?
  • What Is the Average Walking Speed Based On Age?
  • What Is the Average Walking Speed By Age and Sex?
  • Factors that Affect Average Walking Speed

Let’s get started!

Two people walking and looing at each other.

What Is the Average Human Walking Speed?

There isn’t necessarily a definitive answer to the average human walking speed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average walking speed for adults is between 2.5-4 miles per hour. 

At the low end of these average walking speeds, it would take 24 minutes to walk a mile. For most people, this is an easy, conversational walking speed. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are walking at a brisk speed of 4.0 miles per hour, it would take 15 minutes to walk one mile.

One study of 997 middle-aged walkers (aged 45 years old) found that the average walking speeds were 1.30 m/s for usual walking gait and 1.99 m/s for maximum gait.

Using the conversion that one mile is equal to 1609 meters, the average “usual” walking speed works out to walking one mile in 20.6 minutes, while walking a mile at the average maximum walking speed would take 13.48 minutes.

A person walking in a park.

What Is the Average Walking Speed Based On Age?

Studies have shown that average walking speed decreases with age.

There are numerous contributing reasons why people tend to walk slower as they age, such as the natural decrease in muscle mass (age-related sarcopenia), a loss of muscle strength, a decrease in aerobic capacity (VO2 max), and cardiovascular endurance.

One relatively recent study looked at the impact of age on various factors of walking. The authors shared data about the average walking speed based on age. The table below is an adaptation of that data. 

Note that for the oldest age group, the average walking speed varied significantly between different studies, so we took the average of the findings. 

AgeKilometers per hour (km/h)Miles per hour (mph)Walking Pace min/mile
<304.82 km/h3 mph20:00
30–394.54 km/h2.8 mph21:24
40–494.54 km/h2.8 mph21:24
50–594.43 km/h2.75 mph21:40
>604.34 km/h2.7 mph22:13
>652.88 km/h1.8 mph33:30
An older couple powerwalking.

What Is the Average Walking Speed By Age and Sex?

Biological sex can also influence average walking speed. Men tend to walk faster than women, likely due to longer legs, more muscle mass, and a higher average aerobic fitness.

Studies that have tried to investigate the combined effects of sex and age on walking speed have indeed found that the average walking speed for women is slower than that for men when matched by age. 

According to one study, the average walking speeds based on age and sex are as follows

AgeAverage Walking Speed for Women (mph)Average Walking Speed for Men (mph)
A person smiling and walking.

Based on these walking speeds, we can calculate how long it takes on average to walk a mile based on age and sex, as shown below:

AgeHow Long Does It Take to Walk a Mile for Women? (minutes: seconds)How Long Does It Take to Walk a Mile for Men? (minutes: seconds)

Factors that Affect Average Walking Speed

In addition to age and sex, there are other factors that can affect your own personal average walking speed.

Most people have an average comfortable walking speed and an average maximum or brisk walking speed, although even within these two different extremes for a given individual, there is usually some amount of day-to-day variability in average walking pace.

Here are some additional factors that can affect your average walking speed either on a day-to-day basis for a given individual or between two different individuals of the same age and sex:

People powerwalking at an average walking speed and smiling.

#1: Fitness Level

Your fitness level will have a significant impact on your average walking speed, particularly over longer-distance walks. 

The fitter you are, the faster you can walk, and the better able you will be to maintain your walking speed for longer walks without slowing down.   

#2: Body Weight and Composition

Individuals who are overweight or obese have more body mass to move, so it is more demanding on the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems to transport the body from point A to point B. 

This does not mean that heavier individuals will definitely walk slower than leaner individuals, but having a higher body fat percentage can potentially decrease your average walking speed, particularly at a given effort level.

#3: Effort Level

One of the primary factors that affect your average walking speed is the effort or intensity level with which you are trying to walk. Are you walking comfortably or trying to do a fitness walk and pushing the pace as much as possible?

A person walking up a hill.

#4: Terrain

The terrain can definitely affect your average walking speed.

Particularly if you are walking up an incline, such as hiking up a mountain or doing an incline treadmill walk, the metabolic cost of your walking workout will be significantly higher, so your resultant average walking speed will likely be slower unless you are purposely exerting significantly more effort for a vigorous workout. 

Additionally, walking on uneven, challenging terrain such as technical hiking trails, soft sand, or slippery and snowy roads can slow your average walking pace because you have to watch your footing and navigate obstacles.

#5: Environmental Conditions

Extreme weather conditions can decrease your average walking speed. For example, if it is extremely hot and humid outside, your body has to work harder to keep you cool, and you are more likely to experience significant cardiac drift over long-distance walks. This can slow your average walking speed. 

Walking in the wind, cold, rain, sleet, and snow can have similar effects because poor visibility, slippery footing, walking into a headwind, or trying to maintain your core body temperature in freezing conditions are all more taxing on the body than trying to walk on a comfortable dry day.

People walking on a track during a snowstorm.

#6: Carrying an External Load

If you are carrying a heavy pack or some other type of load or wearing a weighted vest to increase the intensity of your workouts, it is normal to see a drop in your average walking speed because your muscles have to work harder to move your heavier body.

If you would like to walk faster, the best thing you can do is improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance by training. Walk consistently, gradually building up your stamina and incorporating intervals of brisk walking to improve your speed.

Try to walk with good form, using a powerful arm swing to drive your legs forward and keep your cadence quick and light.

Moreover, focus on pushing yourself and pushing the pace during your walks. Try listening to upbeat music or using a metronome app to support a faster walking cadence.

Avoid distractions like checking your phone.

It can also be helpful to use a fitness watch or app to track your pace and distance. This can increase your motivation to walk faster and can help you keep track of your progress.

How does your average walking speed compare to others of your age and sex? What tips have worked best for you to walk faster? Let us know!

Interested in knowing more about stride length and how it is affecting your walking? Check out our article, Average Stride Length Statistics, for more information.

A person walking on a treadmill.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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