You may wonder how fast you walk in contrast to other people. While walking speed depends on many things there are averages to compare with.
The average walking speed will vary because of details like age, walking surface, where you walk, physical fitness, weather, and much more.
During day-to-day life, most people will have an average walking speed of about 2-3 miles per hour (3.2-4.8 km/h). At this pace, it takes 30-20 minutes to walk a mile and 19 to 12 minutes to walk a kilometer.
When walking more as a form of exercise, the average person walks about 3 to 4 miles per hour (4.8-6.4 km/h). At this pace, it takes 20-15 minutes to walk a mile and 12 to 9 minutes to walk a kilometer.
The world records of race walking reach average speeds up to 9.7 mph (15.7 km/h) over a distance of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) (1).
This article will go over the factors that influence walking speed the most, average walking speeds for different ages, how fast a brisk walk is, other interesting average walking speeds, convenient ways to measure your personal walking speed, how long it takes to walk certain distances at different speeds, and whether walking faster is healthier.
Biggest factors in walking speed
A walking fact that may feel annoying is that average walking speeds are hard to predict correctly. This fact can make things like predicting how you compare to other people feel like a guessing game.
Even so, good estimations can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate. Some of the biggest factors that influence how fast you will walk include:
- Physical fitness: The first factor that influences how fast you walk on average is your current physical fitness level. If you are used to running miles in 7 minutes you will likely also have a fast average walking speed.
- Walking surface: Your walking surface can influence your walking speed in a few different ways. First of all the slope of your walking surface will matter a lot. Generally the steeper the slower you will walk. There will also be a difference between walking on a flat concrete surface vs walking on a forest trail.
- Age: The next factor may be a consequence of other factors but generally from a certain point on the older the slower the average walking speed.
- Weather: There will be a difference in how fast you walk in a clear sky without wind compared to walking in the rain with a headwind all the way.
- How hard you try: Another important point is that most people do not go walk to hit top speeds. So comparing the speed of your Sunday morning stroll with the average walking speed of racewalkers is generally not the way to go.
If you are looking for average walking speeds to measure your performance it is generally better to compare yourself to your walking performance of yesterday instead of the performances of other people today.
Estimations for average walking speeds by age
One study looked at the walking speeds of 358 healthy individuals to see how different factors influence walking speed (2). The data from their measurements indicated a statistically significant difference for age.
They also found differences for genders but these walking statistics were not statistically significant.
This can mean that there is no difference between genders in walking speed but that would be unusual since men are typically taller. It can also mean that a larger study may be needed for more accurate data.
Another thing to note is that this data is from a 7-day free-living period. So when walking as an actual exercise your average speed will likely be higher.
|Age||Speed (kmh)||Speed (mph)||Time To Walk A Mile|
|20-29 Years||4.82 kmh||3 mph||20 minutes|
|30-39 Years||4.54 kmh||2.82 mph||21:17 minutes|
|40-49 Years||4.54 kmh||2.82 mph||21:17 minutes|
|50-59 Years||4.43 kmh||2.75 mph||21:49 minutes|
|60+ Years||4.36 kmh||2.71 mph||22:08 minutes|
How fast is a brisk walk?
Brisk walking is a name used for walking at higher intensities. The question is how fast you need to go to hit intensity levels considered brisk walking.
The CDC defines walking briskly as 3 miles per hour (4.8 km/h) or faster (3).
In reality, this will look different for each individual. A professional athlete in his or her 20’s will have to walk faster to get the same workout as an elderly individual in his or her 70’s.
As a general guideline, the CDC mentions that during moderate-intensity exercise like a brisk walk you should be able to talk but not sing (3).
You can also define a brisk walk as reaching a certain heart rate when walking.
Other interesting average walking speeds
Besides the average speeds of regular people, you may also be interested in the top speeds of some of the fastest humans alive who dedicate their lives to sport walking.
Here are some of these interesting walking statistics (1):
- 20 kilometers meters racewalking world record women by Hong Liu: 8.8 mph (14.2 km/h)
- 20 kilometers meters racewalking world record men by Yusuke Suzuki: 9.7 mph (15.7 km/h)
- 50 kilometers meters racewalking world record women by Hong Liu: 7.8 mph (12.5 km/h)
- 50 kilometers meters racewalking world record men by Yohann Diniz: 8.7 mph (14.1 km/h)
As expected these are very impressive walking speeds. Faster than many people’s average running speed.
How to measure your personal average walking speed
Having good estimations of how fast you walk can be useful. That being said in the end there are a lot of differences between individuals.
The best way to get an accurate prediction is to measure out your time on a few occasions and use these times as your personal benchmarks.
To do this you need 2 things. Something to measure how much time has passed. For this, you can use basically anything that tells the time like a watch or a phone or something like a stopwatch.
Secondly, you need to know how long the distance is you will walk. You can walk on a path from which you know the distance. For example, most outdoor tracks are 400 meters, slightly less than a quarter-mile.
More convenient options for this second part are using a fitness tracker, app, treadmill, or website to tell you how many miles or kilometers your walk was.
If you measure these 2 pieces of information a few times you can then calculate your personal average walking speed.
Of course, being able to walk a short distance at a certain speed is no guarantee you can keep up the same pace for longer distances.
How long it takes to walk distances by speed
Besides wanting to know how long it takes to walk a mile at the average walking pace, you may be interested in how long it takes when you speed up or down and how long it takes to walk other distances.
|2 mph (3.2 kmh)|
|3 mph (4.8 kmh)|
|4 mph (6.4 kmh)|
|5 mph (8.1 kmh)|
(Very Fast Pace)
|1 kilometer||19 minutes||12 minutes||9 minutes||7 minutes|
|1 mile||30 minutes||20 minutes||15 minutes||12 minutes|
|2 miles||60 minutes||40 minutes||30 minutes||24 minutes|
|3 miles||90 minutes||60 minutes||45 minutes||36 minutes|
|5 kilometer||93 minutes||62 minutes||47 minutes||37 minutes|
|4 miles||120 minutes||80 minutes||60 minutes||48 minutes|
|5 miles||150 minutes||100 minutes||75 minutes||60 minutes|
|10 kilometer||186 minutes||124 minutes||93 minutes||75 minutes|
|10 miles||300 minutes||200 minutes||150 minutes||120 minutes|
Is walking faster healthier?
The first thing to think about is the limits of your body. Your heart and other muscles can get injured by overdoing it.
A big part of a good workout schedule is being consistent and an injury can reduce the amount of exercise you can do.
Even though walking is generally a low injury risk workout you want to be aware of where your personal limits currently are.
With that in mind, if your body is able to deal with it, walking and most exercises will generally be more beneficial at higher intensities than the same duration of lower intensity exercise (5).
So if you can deal with it and want to get more health benefits in a shorter amount of time you can walk faster or even consider running.
That being said, a small amount of walking, even if it is not at record speeds, can offer you important health benefits over doing nothing (6).
Walking can be a decent start when initially trying to get healthier but generally, most other workouts will help you get more results in a smaller amount of time.
Another important factor in your workout plan is how much you like the workouts. If you love walking it is easier to stay consistent with it.