If you’re a ritualistic steps tracker, you’ve probably checked to see how many miles hitting that 10,000 daily steps goal will earn you. After all, you might think that walking a mile is a lot, only to notice it only boiled down to just a few thousand steps, or perhaps you’ve noticed that your 10,000 daily steps distance doesn’t match up exactly to your friend’s or partner’s mileage. Well, spoiler alert: the number of steps in a mile will be varied from person to person.
Still, we can still guesstimate how many steps are in a mile, and knowing this information can help you enhance your overall wellbeing and encourage you to walk more. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This is especially relevant for how fitness trackers allow you to stay on top of your steps. The most important component of fitness trackers is that they put the power of ownership and accountability directly in your hands and allow you to proactively plot out your course to wellness success,” Savage says. “Setting your tracker to give you hourly reminders for step counts, milestones to celebrate, or even gentle nudges to motivate you to get moving are all great ways to leverage the power and potential of fitness trackers to increase your overall step counts and daily activity!”
Here’s, on average, how many steps are in a mile. Plus, how fitness experts say you can calculate your personal step mileage and tips for getting the most out of walking and hitting your daily step goal.
How many steps are in a mile
The general number of in a mile is about 2,000. “The average stride length has been measured to be about 2.1 to 2.5 feet, which corresponds to roughly about 2,000 steps for most people to reach one mile,” Savage explains.
Pace can slightly impact your steps-per-mile number, but not as drastically as it may seem since how fast you’re walking, or whether you’re walking or running, won’t change your stride very much. “Walking for a mile at a moderate pace equals about 2,000 steps, and running at an easy pace may work out to be a tad closer to 1.2 miles per 2,000 steps, so it’s not as vast a difference as one might think,” says Savage.
How to calculate your steps
If you’re really interested in calculating exactly how many steps are in your personal mile, you can measure the length of one stride length, and some fitness tracking systems, such as Apple Health can do the work for you and tell you your average stride length based on walking data.
There are 5,280 feet in a mile, so then divide this by the length of your stride. There’s no such thing as “ideal” stride length — a number of factors influence each of ours, and the most important thing is that you’re regularly moving your body in general — but you may be able to hack yours if you see fewer steps-per-mile as bragging rights.
“The most notable stride factors are height, flexibility and joint range of motion. You can’t change your height, however, you can impact your flexibility and range of motion with exercise and stretching regimens,” Savage explains. “Flexibility through your posterior chain, including hamstrings, calves, and glutes, greatly impacts stride length—so performing dynamic (gentle movements) and static (stationary) stretches are the best way to make improvements in this region. Joint range of motion through your hips, knees and ankles is equally important and can be increased through targeted mobility exercises that are designed to widen range of motion in those areas.”
It’s a good idea to consult with a personal trainer or physical therapist who can create a strengthening and flexibility routine that would most benefit you.
Why knowing how many steps are in a mile matters
Knowing about how much distance you’re covering each day (beyond your official workout) can help you get a better handle on your physical activity levels and goals. “Walking is an underrated form of exercise or active recovery in everyday life. We understand the benefits of cardiovascular strength in running, but walking, too, does something great for your heart and lungs,” explains Cristina Chan, CPT, an F45 Training Recovery Athlete. “Walking also supports bone health, boosts your mood, improves cognitive functioning, reduces blood pressure and can even help you sleep. And if you have the opportunity to walk in nature, you also receive vitamin D and fresh air!”
The “bonus exercise” you get by achieving daily step goals is good for us, but walking is also a beneficial addition to cardio and strength training routines, too. “When you pair the consistent benefits of walking with an energizing workout, you strike a balanced fitness routine. The steady, recuperative pace of walking is a perfect complement to dynamic exercises,” Chan adds.
And finally, committing to and striving to reach new daily step goals can even boost your confidence. “It provides you with the opportunity to celebrate your efforts daily!” says Savage.
How many steps should you take daily?
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people take 3,000 — 4,000 steps per day, but it recommends doubling that (and then some) for adults, which is where we get the 10,000 number. That being said, new research suggests that as little as just under 4,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of dying from all causes, but again, there are even more benefits if you do hit 10,000 steps per day.
How to get more out of walking
These easy expert-backed tricks can help you make the most of walking your daily steps:
Increase your walking pace. “This raises your heart rate and puts your heart under greater positive stress, which improves endurance and heart health,” Savage says.
Change the tempos throughout your walking routine (so alternating between slower and faster paces) to promote physical strength and endurance; this also “engages different areas of the brain that keep your muscles guessing” says Savage.
Cover different terrain—walking uphill and downhill helps increase range of motion and mobility.
Add some weight with a weighted vest or by carrying light dumbbells. “The body gets stronger when we put it under pressure, and weight-bearing aerobic activities are a key way to develop stronger bones and address bone density as we age,” Chan explains. “Walking with weight can offer increased intensity while staying low-impact and requires more energy for better cardiovascular strength and higher calorie burn.”
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