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Steps to Miles

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Calculate how many miles you've walked or run for a certain number of steps, using our calculator tool. You can calculate your calorie burn by selecting the 'Calculate calories burned' option.

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How many steps are in a mile?

On the basis that a person of average height has a step length of between 2.1 to 2.5 feet, we can say that approximately 2,250 walking steps make up a mile. This means that 10,000 steps convert to around 4.5 miles, with an average step length.

This 2,250 step figure is for a person of average height and weight walking at a regular speed of around 3 mph. The actual figure for your walk will depend upon your gender, height, weight, health and speed of travel. As an example, when increasing to a running pace, the steps taken per mile will decrease to between 1,400 and 1,700 steps per mile, due to the increase in step length.

Using the walking average from above, we can approximate the following:

  • A half-mile = 1,125 walking steps.
  • A quarter-mile = 560 walking steps.
  • 5,000 steps = around 2 ¼ miles.
  • 10,000 steps = around 4 ½ miles.
  • 15,000 steps = around 6 ¾ miles.
  • 20,000 steps = around 9 miles.

Let's take a look how we created these approximations...

Steps per mile study data

A 2008 study published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal found that the average number of steps taken to walk or run a mile ranges from 1,001 steps for a 6-minute-mile running pace to 2,197 steps for a 20-minute-mile walking pace for a man of 5ft 10 inches.

For a woman of average height (5ft 4 inches), the number of steps in a mile ranges from 1,082 steps for a 6-minute-mile running pace to 2,315 steps for a 20-minute-mile walking pace.

In the study, researchers sought to determine the number of steps men and women took to walk one mile at both 20 and 15-minute pace and compare them to those running one mile at 12, 10, 8 and 6-minute pace. All of the participants were of 'normal weight'. 1

Interestingly, individuals took more steps while jogging a 12-minute mile than walking a 15-minute mile (1,951 against 1,935 steps, respectively). The researchers suggested that this was likely to be related to the smaller distance between steps that people take while jogging at a slower speed (12-minute miles) compared to walking at a 15-minute-per-mile pace.

Using data from this research paper, here are some step-to-mile calculations for different walking/running speeds:

  • Average walk (20 mins/mile): 1 mile = 2,252 steps
  • Brisk walk (15 mins/mile): 1 mile = 1,935 steps
  • Jog (12 mins/mile): 1 mile = 1,951 steps
  • Run (10 mins/mile): 1 mile = 1,672 steps
  • Fast run (8 mins/mile): 1 mile = 1,400 steps
  • Very fast run (6 mins/mile): 1 mile = 1,080 steps

Remember that these figures are averages based on study participants as a whole. Our calculator (at the top of this page) works out mile figures based upon height and gender, giving a more accurate guideline figure.

Steps to miles for walking, running strides

Steps Average walk
(3mph)
Brisk walk
(4mph)
Run
(6mph)
1,000 steps 0.4 miles 0.5 miles 0.6 miles
2,000 steps 0.9 miles 1 miles 1.2 miles
3,000 steps 1.3 miles 1.6 miles 1.8 miles
4,000 steps 1.8 miles 2.1 miles 2.4 miles
5,000 steps 2.2 miles 2.6 miles 3 miles
6,000 steps 2.7 miles 3.1 miles 3.6 miles
7,000 steps 3.1 miles 3.6 miles 4.2 miles
8,000 steps 3.6 miles 4.1 miles 4.8 miles
9,000 steps 4 miles 4.7 miles 5.4 miles
10,000 steps 4.4 miles 5.2 miles 6 miles
Runners checking their devices for steps and calories
Step counters are proving helpful in motivating inactive people to increase their activity levels by about 2,500 steps per day. 2

Now, it's all very well looking at the data overall to get a rough estimate. But, if you're creating a personalised calculation for steps to miles, it is essential to calculate for your own, individual step length. The step of a 7ft tall runner will be longer than that of a 4ft person of shorter stature enjoying a casual walk. And therefore, the number of steps in a mile will vary from the runner to the walker. So, let's next break the figures down further into walkers and runners of different heights for men and women.

Walking steps in a mile for women

Approximate walking steps-per-mile figures for individual heights for women, using the data and formulae from the 2008 Health & Fitness Journal study: 1

Height Slow walk
(2mph)
Average walk
(3mph)
Brisk walk
(4mph)
4' 10" 3,033 steps 2,399 steps 2,082 steps
4' 11" 3,019 steps 2,385 steps 2,068 steps
5' 0" 3,005 steps 2,371 steps 2,054 steps
5' 1" 2,991 steps 2,357 steps 2,040 steps
5' 2" 2,977 steps 2,343 steps 2,026 steps
5' 3" 2,963 steps 2,329 steps 2,012 steps
5' 4" 2,949 steps 2,315 steps 1,998 steps
5' 5" 2,935 steps 2,301 steps 1,984 steps
5' 6" 2,920 steps 2,286 steps 1,969 steps
5' 7" 2,906 steps 2,272 steps 1,955 steps
5' 8" 2,892 steps 2,258 steps 1,941 steps
5' 9" 2,878 steps 2,244 steps 1,927 steps
5' 10" 2,864 steps 2,230 steps 1,913 steps
5' 11" 2,850 steps 2,216 steps 1,899 steps
6' 0" 2,836 steps 2,202 steps 1,885 steps
6' 1" 2,822 steps 2,188 steps 1,871 steps
6' 2" 2,808 steps 2,174 steps 1,857 steps

Walking steps in a mile for men

Approximate walking steps-per-mile figures for individual heights for men, using the data and formulae from the 2008 Health & Fitness Journal study: 1

Height Slow walk
(2mph)
Average walk
(3mph)
Brisk walk
(4mph)
5' 0" 2,972 steps 2,338 steps 2,021 steps
5' 1" 2,958 steps 2,324 steps 2,007 steps
5' 2" 2,944 steps 2,310 steps 1,993 steps
5' 3" 2,930 steps 2,296 steps 1,979 steps
5' 4" 2,916 steps 2,282 steps 1,965 steps
5' 5" 2,902 steps 2,268 steps 1,951 steps
5' 6" 2,887 steps 2,253 steps 1,936 steps
5' 7" 2,873 steps 2,239 steps 1,922 steps
5' 8" 2,859 steps 2,225 steps 1,908 steps
5' 9" 2,845 steps 2,211 steps 1,894 steps
5' 10" 2,831 steps 2,197 steps 1,880 steps
5' 11" 2,817 steps 2,183 steps 1,866 steps
6' 0" 2,803 steps 2,169 steps 1,852 steps
6' 1" 2,789 steps 2,155 steps 1,838 steps
6' 2" 2,775 steps 2,141 steps 1,824 steps
6' 3" 2,761 steps 2,127 steps 1,810 steps
6' 4" 2,746 steps 2,112 steps 1,795 steps

Running steps in a mile for both men and women

Approximate running steps-per-mile figures for both men and women:

Height 12mins/mile 10mins/mile 8mins/mile
5' 0" 1,997 steps 1,710 steps 1,423 steps
5' 1" 1,984 steps 1,697 steps 1,409 steps
5' 2" 1,970 steps 1,683 steps 1,396 steps
5' 3" 1,957 steps 1,670 steps 1,382 steps
5' 4" 1,943 steps 1,656 steps 1,369 steps
5' 5" 1,930 steps 1,643 steps 1,355 steps
5' 6" 1,916 steps 1,629 steps 1,342 steps
5' 7" 1,903 steps 1,616 steps 1,328 steps
5' 8" 1,889 steps 1,602 steps 1,315 steps
5' 9" 1,876 steps 1,589 steps 1,301 steps
5' 10" 1,862 steps 1,575 steps 1,288 steps
5' 11" 1,849 steps 1,562 steps 1,274 steps
6' 0" 1,835 steps 1,548 steps 1,261 steps
6' 1" 1,822 steps 1,535 steps 1,247 steps
6' 2" 1,808 steps 1,521 steps 1,234 steps
6' 3" 1,795 steps 1,508 steps 1,220 steps
6' 4" 1,781 steps 1,494 steps 1,207 steps

It's worth noting that people who exercise at higher intensities tend to take fewer steps and cover a given distance in less time. They may also see more significant health benefits than those who exercise at lower intensities. Of course, you should always seek advice from a qualified health professional before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or fitness regime.

Does age affect stride length?

There are a couple of studies of particular note relating to age and step/stride length. In a 2000 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Professor Paul DeVita and his colleague Tibor Hortobagyi set out to examine the joint torques and powers of young and elderly adults walking at the same speed. They discovered that the older people get, the less they use the muscles in their ankles to make each stride, and the more they use the muscles around their hips. Stride length was found to be 4% shorter in elderly adult walkers compared with young adults. 3

In a follow-up study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in 2016, Dr. DeVita and his team looked to examine the biomechanics of a set of healthy, recreational runners between the ages of 23 and 59. As participants ran at their regular training pace, motion and force data were captured, and the data were then analyzed and correlated with age. 4

Their research findings suggest that with each passing year, a runner's stride length and speed decrease by an average of 0.33%. By the time a 20-year-old runner reaches the age of 80, their stride length may have decreased by as much as 20%.

How many steps is enough?

You'll likely have heard the adage of taking 10,000 steps a day to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. You may not know that this message originated from a series of Japanese marketing campaigns run around the time of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Spotting an increased focus on fitness and exercise in the general population, Dr Yoshiro Hatano introduced a pedometer called the Manpo-kei (which translates to 10,000 step meter) in 1965. The 10,000 steps concept took off and gradually spread worldwide as an achievable daily target for maintaining good health. However, there has never been any great science behind it.

Manpo-kei (10,000 steps meter) The Manpo-kei (10,000 steps meter) from 1965. Credit: Yoshida1338

Until recently, step numbers have not been the focus of many studies into exercise and health. Research instead focussed on time in different activity intensities, such as light, moderate and vigorous. However, the rise of technology has meant that steps are being seen as a more intuitive measurement for people. And so we're beginning to see studies looking at step counts. In November 2021, a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that a figure of 7,500 steps is associated with lower risk of early death. 8

In addition to this, another 2021 study of 2,110 adults, with an average follow-up of 10.8 years, found that participants who took at least 7,000 steps per day had a 50% to 70% lower risk of mortality compared with those taking fewer than 7,000 steps per day. The study, published in JAMA, suggests that "higher daily step volume was associated with a lower risk of premature all-cause mortality among Black and White middle-aged women and men." 9

In November 2021, the Steps for Health Collaborative conducted a meta-analysis of seven studies with device-measured steps-per-day. They followed participants for cardiovascular disease events (disorders of the heart and blood vessels) over time. Importantly, these studies didn't rely on self-reporting data, instead using step counters to ensure accuracy. The researchers found that the risk of cardiovascular disease fell as the number of steps increased. Indeed, the most active group had less than half the number of cardiovascular disease events than the least active (243 versus 491).

Amanda Paluch, a lead researcher and assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, said:

"The message is to move more. Don't get caught up in 10,000 or any other number. It is not an all or nothing situation for cardiovascular health benefits. Just getting incremental increases in your steps could be meaningful in your cardiovascular health." 10

Dr. Felipe Lobelo, who heads Emory University's Exercise is Medicine (EIM) Global Research and Collaboration Center, and was not involved in the research, reinforced the message that came from it:

"This research shows that the number of steps we should be striving for to generate benefits for cardiovascular disease is lower than 10,000, maybe between 5,000 and 6,000 steps per day, which is pretty much the equivalent of 150 minutes per week," 10

The NHS in England has also adopted the 150-minute-per-week message. For many years it promoted a '10,000 steps challenge', suggesting that "setting yourself a target of walking 10,000 steps a day can be a fun way of increasing the amount of physical activity you do." This guidance has now changed to highlight short, brisk walks and a recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise. 5

And the intensity of the walk is the key thing here. A person will expend more energy (burn more calories) walking briskly than taking a gentle stroll.

"Research shows that a total amount of at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, consistently reduces the risk of many chronic diseases and other adverse health outcomes" 6

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

The time of day that you exercise may also be important to maximise the best result. A study published in Frontiers in Physiology found women burned more body fat during morning exercise, whereas evening exercise was "ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health, as well as emotional wellbeing." 11

Calculating calories burned

Let's shift focus a little to calorie burn. You may be wondering how many calories you're burning with your daily step count. We use METS (metabolic equivalents) data from the Compendium of Physical Activities to calculate the number of calories burned during your walk or run. Your body is said to burn 3.5ml of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute when sitting still. Sitting still is given a MET value of 1. MET values then increase based upon the activity.

Formula for calories burned per minute

(MET × weight in kg × 3.5) ÷ 200

Remember that calculations will vary depending on several factors, including your metabolism. You can calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) here and find out your daily calorie requirement if you need to.

Calories burned per mile when walking

An average adult man (suggested to be about 200 pounds, or 91kg) burns roughly 106 calories walking one mile. For an average adult woman (suggested to be about 170 pounds, or 77kg), the figure will be about 90 calories per mile.

To estimate how many calories you burn for each mile of walking, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.53 (or kg weight × 1.17).

Note that these figures assume that you're not carrying extra weight. Walking while weighted is said to burn more calories than walking without weights because you're expending more energy to carry that extra weight. There's also a level of fitness to consider - the fitter you are, the more fuel-efficient you become. Your average caloric expenditure per one mile of walking is therefore likely to vary.

Calories burned per mile when running

An average adult male (suggested to be about 200 pounds, or 91kg) burns roughly 150 calories per mile when running (unweighted). An average adult female (suggested to be about 170 pounds, or 77kg) might expect to burn around 128 calories.

To calculate the number of calories you burn when running a mile, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.75 (or kg weight × 1.65).

For more information on calories per mile, it's worth reading this article from LiveStrong.

How to calculate steps to miles

If you want to manually calculate how many steps you take when walking or running for your personal measurements, you can use this formula:

miles = steps × step length (inches) / 63,360

If you want the formula in feet, it looks like this:

miles = steps × step length (feet) / 5,280

Let's go through the calculation steps, which will require a conversion. For step 1, you will need a tape measure or other measuring device. If you want to skip this part, you can get a rough calculation by using average step lengths: 26 inches for a woman and 30 inches for a man. 7

  1. Measure your step length. Take 10 steps (making sure you either run or walk, depending on which step length you want to measure). Measure the distance in inches and then divide by 10 to get your average step length.
  2. Multiply your step length by the number of steps you've taken. E.g. 26 inches × 5,000 = 130,000 inches.
  3. Convert your inch figure to miles by dividing it by 63,360 (converter here). 130,000 inches / 63,360 = 2.1 miles.

It's worth remembering that step length and stride length are different, as the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's stride analysis explains 7

  • Step length is the distance between the heel contact of one foot and the heel contact of the opposite foot.
  • Stride length is the distance between the heel contact of two successive placements of the same foot.

The definition of a step also varies depending on the measurement tool. As an example, both Fitbit and Apple Watch have their own proprietary algorithms that determine what constitutes a step, based on acceleration. In research, it's common to use more accurate devices such as actigraphs. It's therefore worth bearing in mind that steps will vary depending on what you are using to measure them.

FAQ

How many miles is 20,000 steps?

20,000 steps convert to about 9 miles. Your step length should be factored in for an accurate calculation. A woman of average height (5ft 4in) walking 20,000 steps at a regular walking speed will travel about 8.6 miles, whilst a man of average height (5ft 9in) will walk about 9 miles.

How many miles is 15,000 steps?

15,000 steps convert to about 6 ¾ miles. For a more accurate calculation, factor in your step length. A woman of average height (5ft 4in) walking 15,000 steps at a regular walking speed will travel about 6.5 miles, whilst a man of average height (5ft 9in) will walk about 6 ¾ miles.

How many miles is 10,000 steps?

10,000 steps convert to about 4 ½ miles. To gain a more accurate measurement for the distance you have covered, your height, gender and walking speed need to be factored into the equation.

How many miles is 5,000 steps?

5,000 steps convert to about 2 ¼ miles. Your step length should be considered when looking for an accurate conversion. A woman of average height (5ft 4in) walking 5,000 steps at a regular walking speed will walk about 2.15 miles, whilst a man of average height (5ft 9in) will walk about 2 ¼ miles.


I hope this article has assisted you in working out how active you currently are. Please remember to always seek advice from a qualified health professional before making any major changes to your lifestyle or fitness regime.

Calculator created by Alastair Hazell.
Last updated: September 24, 2022

References:

  1. One-mile step count at walking and running speeds. American College of Sports Medicine.
  2. Step counting: a review of health-related applications. Sports Medicine
  3. Age causes a redistribution of joint torques and powers during gait. Journal of Applied Physiology
  4. The relationships between age and running biomechanics. American College of Sports Medicine
  5. Walking for health. NHS (England)
  6. Physical activity guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition - chapter 4
  7. Stride analysis. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  8. How many steps a day to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality?. Journal of Internal Medicine
  9. Steps per day and all-cause mortality in middle-aged adults.... JAMA
  10. Is 10,000 steps really a magic number for health?. American Heart Association
  11. Best exercise time differs for men and women. BBC

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