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Steps to Miles Calculator

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Using our calculator tool to see how many miles you've walked or run for a certain number of steps and work out your calorie burn.

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Calculating steps and miles

A person of average height and weight has a step length of between 2.1 and 2.5 feet, meaning they take around 2,250 steps to walk one mile at a moderate pace of about 3 mph (4.8 kph).

Using this steps-per-mile walking average, 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.

These figures are, of course, based on an average of height ranges and speeds. For a more accurate conversion of steps to miles, you need to look at a number of factors that affect your step length and the distance you cover. The step length of a 7ft tall runner is going to be greater than that of a 4 ft tall walker. For our steps to miles conversion to work, we therefore need to take into account for variables such as gender, height, weight and the pace of your walk or run.

Our steps to miles calculator and the data tables below use data from a 2008 research study of one-mile step counts at walking and running speeds, published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal. In the study, researchers set out to find out the number of steps individuals took at various speeds of walking and running. They then examined the differences for men and women and extrapolated the data out for individual heights. It's important to note that all people studied were regarded as being of 'normal weight'. 1

To get the most accurate calculation, it's best to measure your personal step length and use that data. We discuss how to do this later on in our article.

Steps to miles for walking, running steps

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

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 at a moderate walking pace of 3 mph. At this pace you will walk a mile in around 20 minutes.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.

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.

Does age affect step/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.

Created by Alastair Hazell. Reviewed by Aaron Kandola, Ph.D. Last updated: October 3, 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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