How Many Steps in a Mile or Kilometer

When we begin a walking or running routine, our primary goal is to increase our speed and duration. Step counting is an effective way to measure progress because your number of steps will decrease as your speed improves and stride lengthens.

However, step counting is not as simple as it seems. Stride length is dependent upon height, speed, gait, and even age. Therefore, the exact steps necessary to complete a mile or kilometer varies from person to person.

In this article, we will discuss how to accurately calculate the number of steps it takes you to travel a specific distance.

Types of Measurement Units

There are two primary systems of measurement: the imperial system and metric system. The United States uses the imperial system and measures distance in miles. Most other countries use the metric system and measure distance in kilometers, but what’s the difference?

Miles are longer than kilometers. A kilometer is only six-tenths of a mile, meaning one mile is equal to approximately 1.6 kilometers. Neither measurement is better than the other. The unit you record your steps-to-distance with comes down to preference.

How to Accurately Determine Steps-to-Distance

The number of steps taken while walking a mile or kilometer is called steps-to-distance. The average person takes 2,000 to 2,500 steps per mile and 1,200 to 1,500 steps per kilometer. However, step length varies by height. For instance, taller people have longer strides and use fewer steps than shorter people to complete the same distance.

Walking a known unit of length while step counting in your head is the best way to find your steps-to-distance. While doing so, it is important to maintain your normal pace during exercise. Let’s discuss a couple of places fit for this activity.

  • Your local track: Most tracks consist of an inside lane a quarter mile or 400 meters long. Find your steps per mile by walking around the inside lane four times while counting your steps. If you prefer kilometers, walk the lane two and a half times, stopping directly across from where you began.
  • A football field: Standard football fields are 300 feet long. Walk from goal line to goal line while counting your steps. To find your step count per mile, multiply your number of steps by 17.6. For your step count per kilometer, multiply your total steps by 10.94. These mathematical formulas account for the additional feet in a full mile and kilometer.

At the end of the day, though, you can complete this activity using any path as long as you know exactly how long it is. For instance, one side of your city block may be 400 feet. If you record distance with miles, simply divide the total number of feet in a mile (5,280) by 400 then multiply the result by your number of steps.

If you measure distance in kilometers, use the same process. Divide the total number of feet in a kilometer (3,281) by the feet of your city block. Next, multiply your step count by the quotient. You can find the total number of feet in a mile or kilometer using an online conversion calculator.

Keep in mind, as you become more physically fit, you may begin to walk faster which will lengthen your stride and decrease the number of steps in your mile or kilometer. Repeating this activity every few weeks is a great way to measure progress. You should see your health taking a turn for the better, thanks to the benefits of a daily walk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take 10,000 steps a day?

The amount of time you spend active is more important than the number of steps you take a day. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. You may split your exercise into 30 or 15-minute sessions per day.

Many people set a 10,000 daily step goal to motivate themselves during these sessions, but it is not realistic for everyone. Instead, use a pedometer or fitness tracker to count how many steps you take during the entirety of your day. Increase your steps by 500 per day until you reach or surpass 10,000 steps.

How can I get to 10,000 steps a day?

Reaching 10,000 steps during your daily walk or run alone may be difficult. However, you can reach a 10,000 step count by moving more frequently during the day. For instance, consider walking to work or school, and take walks during lunch or break times. You can also park farther away or get off your bus or train a few stops early.

What is the average mile time?

The average mile time is 15 to 20 minutes, or approximately 3 miles per hour. However, mile time varies from person to person because it is dependent upon physical ability, height, speed, and age. Therefore, we suggest focusing on quality rather than quantity. Maintaining proper form during your walk or run will ensure a comfortable pace and yield the best results. In time, your physical ability will naturally increase and your mile time will decrease.

Is stride length different than step length?

Stride length is the distance of two steps while step length is the distance of one.

To find stride length, stand with both feet together and place a tape measure at the heel of your left foot. Step forward onto your right foot so it is in front of your left foot. Now, step forward with your left foot. Extend the tape measure to your left heel’s current position. The number of inches or centimeters is your stride length. Stride length is important to know when setting up a pedometer.

Step length is much easier to find. Stand with both feet together then step forward onto your left foot. The number of inches or centimeters between your left heel and right heel is your step length.  

How do I know if my pedometer is accurate?

The most accurate pedometers will ask you to input your height and stride length. Additionally, a precise pedometer will have a step count error less than 10 percent. You can figure this by wearing the tracker then walking 100 steps. If your pedometer counted more than 110 steps or less than 90, consider re-measuring and adjusting your set stride length.

Did We Help?

Finding the exact number of steps it takes you to walk a mile or kilometer is beneficial to recording progress and setting new daily goals. As your physical activity increases, your stride length changes, reducing your steps-to-distance.

If you are new to walking or running, we suggest recording changes in step count at the end of each week. You may be surprised at your progress! Every time your step number decreases, set a new but reasonable goal for the following week. Before you know it, your steps per day will increase as your steps per mile or kilometer decrease.

You may also be interested in our guide to how many calories you burn walking a mile or kilometer.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

James Nguyen, Sleep Expert James Nguyen

James Nguyen is Zoma's resident sleep expert and staff writer. James enjoys learning about the newest technologies in the mattress industry and doing deep dives into the science of sleep. He's tried nearly every gadget and gizmo in an effort to determine which sleep-promoting accessories can truly enhance your shut-eye. Outside of work, James takes his dedication to get healthy sleep seriously, and has even declared himself an "expert napper."

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