Walking is an excellent form of exercise, and if you take up walking for fitness or choose to walk on foot rather than drive your car when you’re going from point A to point B, you’ll reap many excellent physical and mental health benefits.
But how long does it take to walk a mile?
If you’re trying to determine how long your walking workout or walking commute will take, you will need to know how long it takes to walk a mile.
In this article, we will discuss how long it takes to walk a mile for most average walkers, factors that affect walking speed, and tips to walk faster so that you can walk a mile in less time.
We will cover:
- How Far Is a Mile?
- How Long Does It Take to Walk a Mile?
- 9 Factors that Affect How Long It Takes to Walk a Mile
- 4 Tips for How to Walk a Mile Faster
Let’s get started!
How Far Is a Mile?
It may seem a bit basic, but it’s always a good idea to have some familiarity with the distance you have as your walking goal.
A mile is the equivalent of 5,280 feet or 1,609 meters.
On a standard 400-meter running track, a full mile is just slightly longer than four complete laps. Although the lengths of a block in a city can vary from city to city and block to block somewhat, a mile is roughly 20 city blocks.
How Long Does It Take to Walk a Mile?
Many new walkers want to know how long it takes to walk one mile.
Of course, how long it takes to walk a mile depends entirely on how fast you are walking.
The majority of walkers can walk a mile in under 30 minutes. This is a very slow, leisurely pace, equivalent to 2 mph.
A more typical walking pace is 3 miles per hour. It will take you 20 minutes to walk a mile at this 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.
How long does it take to walk a mile at these walking speeds?
At a pace of 2.5 miles per hour, it would take 24 minutes to walk a mile. For most people, this is an easy, conversational walking speed.
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.
Because a mile is 1609 meters, we can convert these walking speeds into mile walking time values.
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.
Therefore, this data suggests that the average middle-aged walker can walk a mile between 13 minutes and 30 seconds to 20 minutes and 36 seconds.
Another study took a deeper dive into determining the average walking speed based on age and sex. According to the data, the researchers reported the following walking speeds:
|Age||Average Walking Speed for Women (mph)||Average Walking Speed for Men (mph)|
Based on these walking speeds, we can calculate how long it takes to walk a mile based on age and sex, as shown below:
|Age||How 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)|
9 Factors that Affect How Long It Takes to Walk a Mile
Most people have an average comfortable walking speed and an average maximum or brisk walking speed, although some day-to-day variability will exist for any individual.
However, as can be seen from the research cited above, as well as observations you’ve likely made in your own life, any two people can have somewhat different average walking speeds.
There are several different factors that can impact your walking speed or how long it takes you to walk a mile. The interplay of these factors will determine your walking speed on any given day.
The primary factors that determine how long it takes to walk a mile include:
In general, it takes young children longer to walk a mile than fully-grown adults, mainly because their limbs are shorter, and their drive or sense of urgency might not be the same.
Healthy young adults usually walk the fastest but walking speed decreases around middle age with each additional decade of life.
Men tend to walk faster than women, perhaps due to longer legs, more muscle mass, or higher average aerobic fitness.
#3: Fitness Level
This one is rather clear—the fitter you are, the faster you can walk a mile without fatiguing.
#4: Body Weight and Composition
Individuals who are overweight or obese have more mass to move, so it takes more energy to walk a mile.
This does not necessarily mean heavier individuals will walk slower, but it can play into the average time it takes to walk a mile.
#5: Effort Level
Everyone can modulate their walking speed to some degree. When people ask, “How long does it take to walk a mile?” you have to consider whether you’re asking what’s the shortest amount of time it takes to walk a mile if you’re walking as fast as you can or how long does it usually take to walk a mile if you’re walking at a normal speed.
Depending on how hard you’re pushing yourself, you might have almost a full mile-per-hour difference between your comfortable walking speed and your maximum walking speed.
The terrain can affect how fast you walk a mile.
Walking uphill is more difficult than walking on flat terrain, and if you’re hiking on rugged trails, it will take longer to walk a mile than if you’re walking on a road, track, or treadmill because you have to watch your footing and navigate obstacles.
#7: Environmental Conditions
Extreme weather conditions can make you walk slower.
For example, if you’re walking a mile in snow or in the stifling heat, you will probably walk more slowly than on a comfortable, dry day.
#8: Physical Limitations
People with physical impairments usually walk slower, especially if they need to use auxiliary aids like crutches, canes, or walkers.
#9: External Load
The time it takes to walk a mile generally increases if you’re carrying a heavy pack, pushing a stroller, or carrying some kind of load because it’s more taxing, and you may need to balance the weight as you move.
4 Tips for How to Walk a Mile Faster
Wherever you are along the continuum of time it takes to walk a mile at this point, it should be possible to increase your walking speed so that you can walk a mile faster.
Here are some tips to lower your mile time while walking:
The single best way to walk a mile faster than you are currently walking is to walk more and improve your fitness.
You can do walking workouts or follow a walking training program that progresses the length and intensity of your walking.
Throwing in intervals of brisk walking or walking quickly uphill can build cardiovascular endurance, aerobic capacity, and leg strength.
#2: Use Good Form
Walking with good form may help you walk a mile faster than you are currently walking.
One of the main form corrections most people can make to increase their walking pace is to pump the arms more vigorously back and forth alongside the body.
Your arm swing helps drive your legs forward, and if you maintain a quick, powerful arm swing, your cadence will increase.
Walk with an upright posture, keeping your core and glutes engaged.
#3: Lose Weight
If you are currently overweight, you can use walking or other forms of exercise to help you lose weight to feel stronger relative to your body size.
#4: Push Yourself
You are the captain of your own ship.
Sometimes, the best way to walk faster is just to focus on that—walking faster.
Push yourself. Remove distractions while you walk.
For example, if you usually check your phone for messages every few blocks or take in the scenery on a leisurely stroll, try putting your phone in your pocket and keeping your eyes ahead, swinging your arms briskly, and walking with a purpose.
You might also consider listening to upbeat music to help you keep a fast cadence (step rate) or using a heart rate monitor to keep you aware of how vigorous you are walking.
No matter how fast or slow you walk a mile, have fun!
If you are looking for some songs to pump up your cadence, take a look at our article: High BPM Songs To Power Your Running Or Workout for some inspiration!