If you pay attention to your fitness, chances are you’ve been encouraged to count your steps at some point. With health devices like smartwatches more popular than ever, it’s never been easier to keep an eye on exactly how many steps you’re taking every day.
For many people however, a vague step count can seem arbitrary. You managed to get your 10,000 steps, but what does that actually mean? In fact, the target of 10,000 was many runners want to know how many steps go into the distances they’re already walking and running, to be able to track their fitness more closely. Read on to find out just how many steps go into your regular runs.
How many steps are in a mile walking?
There are around 2,000 steps in a mile for the average walker, according to figures from the University of Wyoming. But that number will differ from person to person, depending on factors like height, overall fitness or even gender.
For example, a 5ft 4ins man walking at a leisurely pace of 20 minutes per mile will walk an estimated 2,282 steps, while a 6ft 2ins man walking the same distance at a more intense 14 minutes per mile will clock up just 1,760 steps, according to a study in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal.
Generally, women will take more steps. A 5ft 2ins woman walking 20 minutes per mile will take roughly 2,343 steps, compared to 1,821 for a 6ft woman walking at 14 minutes per mile.
How many steps are in a mile running?
There are around 1,500 steps in a mile running. In the Health & Fitness Journal’s study, participants running a mile in 12 minutes took an average of 1,951 steps, while those running the same distance in eight minutes took 1,400 steps.
Why it’s important to know how many steps are in a mile
Knowing how many steps are in a mile can have surprising benefits. As well as helping you to manage your exercise regime, there’s growing evidence that paying close attention to how many steps you’re getting – whether it's on a couple of laps around the park or a longer run – can help to keep your general health in check.
One study released in 2019 compared the fitness of those who were randomly assigned pedometers to those who weren’t. Those that used one, and therefore tracked their steps, managed to get around 30 more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week than those that didn’t.
Lead study author Tess Harris, a professor of primary care research at St George’s University of London, told Reuters: ‘Pedometers can be helpful for patients to use, as they give people a clear idea of how much they are doing (self-monitoring) and can be used to set realistic goals for increasing their walking gradually’.
‘There is no one appropriate step-count for everyone,’ she said. ‘It is important for individuals to measure their own baseline step-count and then to have a plan to gradually increase both how often they walk and how fast they walk in a safe way for them.’
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