Your steps per mile depend on your stride length
The average person takes between 2,000 and 2,500 walking steps per mile as counted by a pedometer or fitness band. Running steps have a longer stride length and you may take between 1,400 and 1,700 steps per mile. A total of 10,000 steps equals 4 to 5 miles. But the number of steps per mile varies from person to person and depends on your stride length.
Measuring your stride length will give you a much more accurate number for your personal steps per mile.
Your stride length is the distance is from the heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot. This is the distance traveled forward by a single leg. Your stride length varies depending on whether you are walking or running, and whether you are on hills or rough trails, or crossing streets with starts and stops.
If you know your stride length, your steps per mile will be:
- 5,280 divided by your stride length in feet.
- 63,360 divided by your stride length in inches.
See more rules of thumb and ways to estimate your typical steps per mile.
Typical Steps per Mile Walking and Running
For a quick rule of thumb, a research study found these average steps per mile at walking and running speeds:
- Walking 20 minutes per mile (3 miles per hour): 2,250 steps per mile
- Walking 15 minutes per mile (4 miles per hour): 1,950 steps per mile
- Running 12 minutes per mile (5 miles per hour): 1,950 steps per mile
Small Steps for Lasting Health
When it comes to new year’s health resolutions, focus on the small things that can be easily maintained year round. Follow this month-long guide for daily tips.
- Running 10 minutes per mile (6 miles per hour): 1,700 steps per mile
- Running 8 minutes per mile (7.5 miles per hour): 1,400 steps per mile
Using these averages, here is how far you might go using various step totals.
|1,000||0.4 miles||0.5 miles||0.6 miles||0.7 miles|
Steps per Mile Estimated by Height
A widely quoted estimate of stride length is 42 percent of height, although further research shows that ratio is only moderately accurate. Many pedometers use these estimates and ask for your height during setup. Rough estimates of steps per mile based on a stride to height ratio are:
|Height||Steps per Mile|
|4 feet 10 inches||2,601 steps|
|4 feet 11 inches||2,557 steps|
|5 feet even||2,514 steps|
|5 feet 1 inch||2,473 steps|
|5 feet 2 inches||2,433 steps|
|5 feet 3 inches||2,395 steps|
|5 feet 4 inches||2,357 steps|
|5 feet 5 inches||2,321 steps|
|5 feet 6 inches||2,286 steps|
|5 feet 7 inches||2,252 steps|
|5 feet 8 inches||2,218 steps|
|5 feet 9 inches||2,186 steps|
|5 feet 10 inches||2,155 steps|
|5 feet 11 inches||2,125 steps|
|6 feet even||2,095 steps|
|6 feet 1 inch||2,067 steps|
|6 feet 2 inches||2,039 steps|
|6 feet 3 inches||2,011 steps|
|6 feet 4 inches||1,985 steps|
How to Measure Your Steps per Mile
The best way to find your average steps per mile is to count them over a course of a known distance, several times, and find your own average. You can use a step-counting pedometer or the pedometer function of your mobile phone to count your steps, or you can count them in your head.
- Track: To find a measured mile, you can use a regulation quarter-mile track at a local school. You may have to ask the coach to ensure it is a quarter-mile track (1,320 feet) rather than a 400-meter track (1,308 feet). Walk in the inside lane only. Count your steps. It’s best to go around four times to get a full mile on a quarter-mile track, so you won’t need to do any math. For a 400 meter track, go around four times and multiply your steps by 1.009.
- Football Field: A football field is 300 feet from goal line to goal line. Count your steps as you walk or run at your usual pace from goal line to goal line. Multiply your steps by 17.6 to get your steps per mile.
- App: You can use a mobile app such as MapMyWalk that will count your steps and measure a mile with your phone’s GPS at the same time. However, the mile distance can be off by 10 percent using GPS. For better accuracy, choose a place to walk that is in an open area with a clear view of the sky and no twists or turns. GPS signals travel between your phone and multiple satellites in orbit. They can get confused by buildings, trees, and hillsides, resulting in a less accurate distance measurement.
- Measured Mile: Another method is to use an online mapping site to map you a mile course in your local area, then walk it with a pedometer or pedometer app. It’s wise to choose a straight course without turn and curves for the best accuracy.
Steps per Mile From Stride Length
Most pedometers request that you enter your stride length during setup in order to calculate distance based on your step count. An average that you will see listed in many places is 2.2 feet (0.67 meters) for women and 2.5 feet (0.762 meters) for men, but it depends very much on height. Steps per mile would be 5,280 feet divided by your stride length in feet. A pedometer takes the number you have entered as stride length and divides a mile by that number to calculate the distance you have walked.
To measure your stride length, you can use various methods such as walking a football field (300 feet) and using these equations:
- 300/step count = stride length in feet
- 3600/step count = stride length in inches
Correcting Your Pedometer and Fitness Band Distance
If you find that your pedometer is telling you that you have gone farther than a mile in a measured mile, then increase the stride length programmed in the pedometer.
If it is telling you that you have gone less than a mile in a measured mile, then reduce your stride length programmed into the pedometer.
For Fitbit fitness bands and pedometers, you can adjust your stride length via the Edit Profile function on the online Dashboard. In the Fitbit app, it can be set in the Account, Advanced Settings, Stride Length menu. You can set different lengths for walking and running strides.
Fitness trackers you wear on your wrist may be counting arm motion rather than steps. Read the instructions to see how to set its sensitivity, so it isn’t over-counting steps. Research says that wearing it on your non-dominate wrist is better for accuracy. For example, if you are right-handed, wear it on your left wrist.
Your steps per mile will be inaccurate when wearing a wrist-based fitness tracker if you don’t use arm motion, such as when you are holding onto the handrails of a treadmill or pushing a baby stroller. They may also be inaccurate when you are using trekking poles and not moving the poles every step.
A Word From Verywell
Knowing how many steps are typical for a mile, you can begin to envision how much you need to walk to log 10,000 steps per day on a pedometer. It also works in reverse. The miles might not seem so long if you realize how many you manage to log during your daily activities. Keep moving and you will make it to your daily goal.
Barreira TV, Rowe DA, Kang M. “Parameters of Walking and Jogging in Healthy Young Adults,” International Journal of Exercise Science. Vol. 3 (2010) Iss. 1.
Bassett DR, Toth LP, Lamunion SR, Crouter SE. Step Counting: A Review of Measurement Considerations and Health-Related Applications. Sports Medicine. 2016;47(7):1303-1315.
Hoeger WK, Bond L, Ransdell L, Shimon JM, Merugu S. “One-Mile Step Count at Walking and Running Speeds” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, January/February 2008, Vol. 12, No. 1.