How Long Does It Take To Walk A Mile?

Plus, expert tips to improve your walking pace.

Walking is an excellent, low-impact form of cardio exercise. Whether you take up walking for fitness or choose to walk rather than drive your car from point A to point B, you’ll reap many physical and mental health benefits of walking, such as improving cardiovascular health.

But how long does it take to walk a mile?

If you’re trying to determine how long your walking workout or commute will take, you must know how long it takes to walk a mile.

An average person at a moderate pace can walk a mile roughly between 13 and 20 minutes.

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.

A person power walking a mile.

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 slightly longer than four complete laps. Although the lengths of blocks in a city can vary 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. At this speed, you will walk a 20 minute mile.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. In health.gov (pp. 1–118). https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf the average walking speed for adults is between 2.5 and 4 miles per hour.

A group of people walking through a park.

How long does it take to walk a mile at these walking speeds? Let’s get our calculators out.

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 study2Rasmussen, L. J. H., Caspi, A., Ambler, A., Broadbent, J. M., Cohen, H. J., d’Arbeloff, T., Elliott, M., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., Hogan, S., Houts, R., Ireland, D., Knodt, A. R., Meredith-Jones, K., Morey, M. C., Morrison, L., Poulton, R., Ramrakha, S., Richmond-Rakerd, L., & Sison, M. L. (2019). Association of Neurocognitive and Physical Function With Gait Speed in Midlife. JAMA Network Open2(10), e1913123. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.13123 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 1,609 meters, we can convert these walking speeds into mile walking time values.

The average “usual” walking speed is 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.

Two people walking with their dog.

What is the Average Time It Takes to Walk a Mile for Different Age Groups?

Another study3Schimpl, M., Moore, C., Lederer, C., Neuhaus, A., Sambrook, J., Danesh, J., Ouwehand, W., & Daumer, M. (2011). Association between Walking Speed and Age in Healthy, Free-Living Individuals Using Mobile Accelerometry—A Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS ONE6(8), e23299. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023299 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:

AgeAverage Walking Speed for Women (mph)Average Walking Speed for Men (mph)
20-293.03.4
30-393.03.2
40-493.113.2
50-592.933.2
60-692.773.0
70-792.532.82
80-892.12.17

Based on these walking speeds, we can calculate how long it takes 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)
20-2920:0017:39
30-3920:0018:45
40-4919:1718:45
50-5920:2818:45
60-6921:4020:00
70-7923:4321:16
80-8928:3127:39

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 pace, although any individual’s walking speed will vary slightly from day to day.

However, as the research cited above and observations you’ve likely made in your own life show, any two people can have somewhat different average walking speeds.

Several different factors 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:

#1: Age

Generally, 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.

A person taking a step on a track.

#2: Sex

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 relatively 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 at a fast pace or how long it usually takes 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 mile-per-hour difference between your comfortable and maximum walking speeds. 

A person walking in the woods.

#6: Terrain

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 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.

A person walking through tall grass.

How To Increase Your Walking Pace

Wherever your starting point on your walking journey is, it is 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:

#1: Train 

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 improves your walking distance and intensity.

Throwing in intervals of brisk walking or walking quickly uphill to your regular walking pace or moderate walking pace workouts. This can build cardiovascular endurance and health, aerobic capacity, and leg strength.

#2: Use Good Form

Walking with good form may help you walk a mile faster than you currently walk.

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. Your cadence refers to your steps per minute. Using shorter strides will also help quicken your step count.

Also, walk upright, keeping your core and glutes engaged.

#3: Weight Management & Weight Loss

If you are currently overweight, you can use walking or other forms of exercise to help you lose weight and feel stronger relative to your body size.

A close up of someone taking a step in sneakers.

#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 songs to pump up your cadence, throw on your running shoes and check out:

References

  • 1
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. In health.gov (pp. 1–118). https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf
  • 2
    Rasmussen, L. J. H., Caspi, A., Ambler, A., Broadbent, J. M., Cohen, H. J., d’Arbeloff, T., Elliott, M., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., Hogan, S., Houts, R., Ireland, D., Knodt, A. R., Meredith-Jones, K., Morey, M. C., Morrison, L., Poulton, R., Ramrakha, S., Richmond-Rakerd, L., & Sison, M. L. (2019). Association of Neurocognitive and Physical Function With Gait Speed in Midlife. JAMA Network Open2(10), e1913123. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.13123
  • 3
    Schimpl, M., Moore, C., Lederer, C., Neuhaus, A., Sambrook, J., Danesh, J., Ouwehand, W., & Daumer, M. (2011). Association between Walking Speed and Age in Healthy, Free-Living Individuals Using Mobile Accelerometry—A Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS ONE6(8), e23299. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023299
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.

1 thought on “How Long Does It Take To Walk A Mile?”

  1. Thank you Amber. Your article on walking has really enlightening me much more on importance of walking. All your information are so easily understood and very helpful. Looking forward to my next walk with so much excitement Cheers. Clara.

    Reply

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