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How Long Does it Take to Walk a Mile?

By Becky Kleanthous. Last update: 30 August 2022

Typically, adults walk at a speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour, and therefore walk a mile in around 15 to 20 minutes. Some people will be faster or slower than this, and walking speed is influenced by age and gender, as well as fitness level.

Can you calculate walking speed?

When you're planning a journey, a day out, or preparing for a sponsored walk or 10,000 step challenge, you may want to calculate how many minutes it takes to walk a mile. Individual health will of course have an impact on how long it takes to walk a mile, but more general factors such as age, gender and pace can be accounted for in your planning.

Walking speed by age

You might be surprised to learn that sprightly twenty-somethings actually tend to walk at a slower pace than their older thirty-something and forty-something counterparts. It's true. Then, once we reach our fifties, our walking speed slows down again.

So at just 2.1 mph, it would take an average 80-year-old nearly half an hour to walk a mile (28 minutes and 34 seconds), while a 23-year-old is likely to walk at a speed of 3 mph, taking only 20 minutes to walk a mile.

According to research published in 2011, your walking speed decreases at a rate of about 0.0037 m/s per year as your age increases. This means you'll take around 1 minute and 56 seconds longer to walk a mile when you're 60 years old compared to when you're 20. 1

How long to walk a mile by age

The table below shows average walking speeds by age along with the calculated time to walk a mile. 2

Age Avg walking speed
(mph)
Avg mile time
(minutes)
20 to 29 years3 to 3.04 mph19 mins 52 seconds
30 to 39 years3 to 3.2 mph19 mins 21 seconds
40 to 49 years3.11 to 3.2 mph19 mins 1 seconds
50 to 59 years2.93 to 3.2 mph19 mins 35 seconds
60 to 69 years2.77 to 3 mph20 mins 48 seconds
70 to 79 years2.53 to 2.82 mph22 mins 26 seconds
80 to 89 years2.1 to 2.17 mph28 mins 6 seconds
Apple Watch showing 1 mile walk in 20 minutes
One mile at a 3 mph, 'moderate-intensity' walking speed takes about 20 minutes.

Accounting for different walking speeds

In all age categories, men walk faster than women. This could be because they tend to have slightly longer legs. Or perhaps they're more likely to be running late for something...

There is, however, one more important factor to consider when you calculate how long it takes to walk a mile: are you strolling, walking or steaming down the street? You'll walk at a different pace when you're enjoying the country air compared to when you're worried you'll miss the train.

Studies on walking speeds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest a leisurely walking speed to be around 2 mph, moderate-intensity walking to be in the range of 2.5 to 3.5 mph and fast walking to be around 4.5 to 5 mph. 3

In addition to this, a study published in the British Medical Journal defines 100 steps-per-minute as a minimum moderate-intensity walking speed for adults of 60 years and under. This equates to around 3 mph. 4 And a 2021 analysis of thirty-five studies between 1970 and 2019 identified average walking speeds from 1.8 mph for a slow pace to 3.8 mph for a fast (brisk) pace. 5

From this information, we can extrapolate the following walking speeds:

Walking speed Steps per minute Minutes per mile
Fast walking130+ steps / min12 mins per mile
Brisk walking120-130 steps / min15 mins per mile
Moderate-intensity100-120 steps / min20 mins per mile
Relaxed walking80-100 steps / min30 mins per mile

Is a 15-minute mile a good walking pace?

To walk a mile in 15 minutes, you will need to walk at a brisk walking speed of around 4 mph. Walking 4 mph on a level, firm surface equates to a MET score of 5.0 in the Compendium of Physical Activities. A MET score of 1 indicates the amount of energy used when someone is resting and sitting quietly. The MET score of 5.0 for walking at 4mph represents a moderate intensity activity. 6

Due to the fact that people use energy at different rates, the amount of energy consumed by one person during a 15-minute-mile walk won't be the same as another. Factors such as age, gender, body weight, fitness level and genetics need to be factored in to determine the fitness impact of the walk. MET scores therefore have their limitations, but are a useful guide and starting point for discussions about exercise.

How long would it take to walk X miles?

Check out the miles chart below to get an idea of how long it would take to walk a set number of miles at a relaxed, moderate or brisk pace. If you want to calculate how long it will take you to walk a mile for your specific biological sex and height, it's well worth checking out our steps and miles calculation tool.

Miles Relaxed Moderate Brisk
1 mile30 mins 20 mins 15 mins
2 miles1 hr 40 mins 30 mins
3 miles1 hr, 30 mins 1 hr 45 mins
4 miles2 hrs 1 hr, 20 mins 1 hrs
5 miles2 hrs, 30 mins 1 hr, 40 mins 1 hr, 15 mins
6 miles3 hrs 2 hrs 1 hr, 30 mins
7 miles3 hrs, 30 mins 2 hrs, 20 mins 1 hr, 45 mins
8 miles4 hrs 2 hrs, 40 mins 2 hr
9 miles4 hrs, 30 mins 3 hrs 2 hr, 15 mins
10 miles5 hrs 3 hrs, 20 mins 2 hrs, 30 mins
11 miles5 hrs, 30 mins 3 hrs, 40 mins 2 hrs, 45 mins
12 miles6 hrs 4 hrs 3 hrs
13 miles6 hrs, 30 mins 4 hrs, 20 mins 3 hrs, 15 mins
14 miles7 hrs 4 hrs, 40 mins 3 hrs, 30 mins
15 miles7 hrs, 30 mins 5 hrs 3 hrs, 45 mins
16 miles8 hrs 5 hrs, 20 mins 4 hrs
17 miles8 hrs, 30 mins 5 hrs, 40 mins 4 hrs, 15 mins
18 miles9 hrs 6 hrs 4 hrs, 30 mins
19 miles9 hrs, 30 mins 6 hrs, 20 mins 4 hrs, 45 mins
20 miles10 hrs 6 hrs, 40 mins 5 hrs
21 miles10 hrs, 30 mins 7 hrs 5 hrs, 15 mins
22 miles11 hrs 7 hrs, 20 mins 5 hrs, 30 mins
23 miles11 hrs, 30 mins 7 hrs, 40 mins 5 hrs, 45 mins
24 miles12 hrs 8 hrs 6 hrs
25 miles12 hrs, 30 mins 8 hrs, 20 mins 6 hrs, 15 mins
26 miles13 hrs 8 hrs, 40 mins 6 hrs, 30 mins
27 miles13 hrs, 30 mins 9 hrs 6 hrs, 45 mins
28 miles14 hrs 9 hrs, 20 mins 7 hrs
29 miles14 hrs, 30 mins 9 hrs, 40 mins 7 hrs, 15 mins
30 miles15 hrs 10 hrs 7 hrs, 30 mins
40 miles20 hrs 13 hrs, 20 mins 10 hrs
50 miles25 hrs 16 hrs, 40 mins 12 hrs, 30 mins
60 miles30 hrs 20 hrs 15 hrs
70 miles35 hrs 23 hrs, 20 mins 17 hrs, 30 mins
80 miles40 hrs 26 hrs, 40 mins 20 hrs
90 miles45 hrs 30 hrs 22 hrs, 30 mins
100 miles50 hrs 33 hrs, 20 mins 25 hrs
500 miles250 hrs 166 hrs, 40 mins 125 hrs

The final entry in our table above is a fun one to finally give an answer to the question: "How long would it take the Proclaimers to walk 500 miles?" (from their hit song). The answer is 167 hours (10,000 minutes) at a moderate walking pace. Please be sure to let them know!

World record for walking a mile

Now, you might be wondering - what's the fastest anyone has ever walked a mile? Well, we've looked into it and here's the answer...

In July 2017 at the London Anniversary Games, Tom Bosworth smashed the world record for the fastest one-mile walk ever recorded. He hit the mile marker in a time of five minutes and 31.08 seconds. If you're wondering what speed that equates to, it's an astonishing 10.87 mph.

In summary

Let's summarize what we've learned. Adults walk at a speed of between 3 and 4 mph, meaning that a mile is covered in around 15 to 20 minutes. This, of course, is a generalised average because people walk at varying speeds based upon their biological sex, age, height, weight, physical fitness and other factors, such as whether they're late for a train (or being chased by a bear). The quoted figures also assume that you walk at a constant rate throughout your journey.

Nevertheless, the figures we've featured, which come from studies on the subject, can give you a rough idea of how long it might take you to walk a mile based upon your average walking speed. And, if you want to work out a more accurate calculation for your biological sex and height, we have a miles to steps calculator to help you calculate your steps in a mile and how many minutes it might take (assuming a constant speed).

As an extra, fun article you can also find out how long it would take to walk around the world.

Finally, if you want to work out how fast you should walk to aid your personal fitness levels or lose weight, this article at Verywell Fit might be helpful for you.


References

  1. Sex-Specific Correlates of Walking Speed in a Wide Age-Ranged Population. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Average walking speed by age. Healthline.
  3. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. CDC.
  4. How fast is fast enough? Walking cadence (steps/min) as a practical estimate of intensity in adults: a narrative review. BMJ.
  5. Outdoor Walking Speeds of Apparently Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. National Library of Medicine.
  6. MET Scores for Walking. Compendium of Physical Activities.

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