Counting steps is a popular way to measure activity and fitness levels. While measuring how many steps you take might seem easy, it’s actually a bit more complicated than you’d think.
In fact, figuring out precisely how many steps you take each day and then determining how many miles you’ve walked as a result can be a challenge.
To get started, we’ve put together this guide to measuring steps so you can stay on top of your daily activity levels. Up next, we’ll discuss how many steps equal a mile, and we’ll offer some top tips for calculating your step count accurately every time.
How Many Steps Equal A Mile?
If you’ve just started tracking your daily step count, you almost certainly have questions about what your daily step total really means. Since most of us think about our activity levels in terms of total distance covered – rather than in the number of steps we take – it’s natural to wonder how many steps equal a mile.
One of the most common questions people have when using a step counter is “how many miles is 10000 steps?”
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. While the average adult will find that walking 10,000 steps equals roughly 4 to 5 miles (6 to 8km), this is an estimate rather than a hard-and-fast rule.
How have those estimates been determined, you might ask?
Well, your average human boasts a stride length of anywhere from 2.1 to 2.5 feet (64 to 76cm). As a result, we can figure that the average human walks about 1 mile for every 2,000 steps, though this number can vary based on your height. Additionally, it can also be deduced that the average person walks 4 to 5 miles (6 to 8km) per 10,000 steps.
Beyond that, figuring out the number of steps in a mile depends on the length of your stride. Fortunately, you can roughly estimate the total steps you take per mile using your height and our nifty calculation tool:
|Height||Steps Per Mile|
How To Calculate Stride Length and Step Length
The table you see above is just a quick and dirty way to estimate your step-to-mile conversion based on your height. However, height and stride length are not always perfectly proportional.
So, if you want to be more accurate in your step calculations, you’ll need to calculate your stride length. The good news is that calculating your stride length is a fairly straightforward process.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Gather materials – Grab a tape measure and 2 pieces of masking tape. You’ll also need to find a space that’s at least 40 feet (12m) long so you can measure your stride length over a distance.
- Set a distance – Using your tape measure and tape, measure out a set distance, such as 20 feet (6m). Mark the distance using the 2 pieces of tape.
- Start Walking – You’ll want to start walking about 10 feet (3m) before your first piece of tape so you can be sure that you’re walking with your normal gait.
- Count Your Steps – As you walk, start counting the number of steps you take from the moment you cross your first piece of tape to the moment you cross your second piece of tape.
- Do A Simple Calculation – Once you have your total number of steps taken, you’ll need to do a bit of math by dividing your measured distance by the number of steps you take. The resulting number is your stride length. Here’s the formula you’ll use:
Step Length = Distance ÷ Number of Steps
How Many Steps Should You Walk A Day?
All this talk about counting steps might have you asking yourself if you’re walking enough each day. While most of us have likely heard that you should aim to walk around 10,000 steps per day, few realize how this 10,000 step craze really started.
It turns out that the 10,000 step craze started back in the 1960s when a Japanese company started selling pedometers. The name they gave their pedometer in Japanese translated to “10,000-step meter” because the character that they used kind of looks like someone walking. Thus, a fitness trend was born.
Even though the 10,000 step rule isn’t really rooted in science, it certainly caught on. In fact, nearly all pedometers, fitness watches, and smartphone apps will encourage you to walk 10,000 steps a day by default.
But, is 10,000 steps enough?
An international study from 2019 found that, among older women, getting even just 4,400 steps per day significantly lowered the mortality rate. This decrease in mortality rate continued the more people walked, though it started to level off around 7,500 steps per day.
Figuring Out Your Personal Activity Needs
Where does this leave us? Well, since the study was done only on a very small subsection of the population (elderly women), it’s not clear what its broader implications are for the rest of us.
Nevertheless, it’s important to point out that the 10,000 step rule is there more to encourage you than to serve as a guideline of how much activity you need.
Depending on the type of activity you like to do, you may find that you far exceed this step count each day. Alternatively, if you prefer to bike or swim instead of walking, you may find that you struggle to hit 10,000 steps per day, even if you’re really active.
Therefore, the CDC recommends exercising for a certain amount of time each week, namely 150 minutes. The more you exercise, however, and the more vigorously you exercise, the easier it will be to reach your fitness goals.
For more specific guidance, we recommend consulting your physician or a certified personal training as they can help you figure out what level of physical activity is best for your needs.
Step Counting FAQs
How Many Steps Equal One Mile?
Most people walk an average of 2,000 steps per mile. However, your specific step to miles conversion will depend on your stride length. For example, some taller people walk as few as 1,900 steps per mile, while shorter folks may walk as many as 2,500 steps per mile.
Additionally, if you’re running, you will cover more ground in fewer steps. That’s because your stride naturally lengthens while you run, decreasing your total step count over a certain distance when compared to walking.
How Many Miles is 10000 Steps?
Although it depends on your specific stride length, 10,000 steps is about 4 to 5 miles (6 to 8km) for most people.
How Many Steps In 3 Miles?
There are approximately 6,000 steps in 3 miles (4.9km); however, this number can vary based on your personal stride length.