Updated September 27, 2020Step counting is a simple and effective measurement when creating goals for walking or running. It can keep you accountable for your daily movement and encourage increased activity and better health.The two primary means of measuring distance are kilometers and miles. Kilometers are a part of the metric system and used in nearly every country today, while miles come from the imperial system and are used in the United States. Both measurements suffice for counting steps, though their distances differ:1 kilometer = .62 of a mile (roughly two-thirds of a mile)1 mile = 1.61 of a kilometer (a little over a kilometer and a half)By knowing how many steps you take per mile or kilometer, you can begin setting goals for how far or how many more steps you hope to take per day. Walking or running are simple ways to improve your overall well-being with gentle exercise.Steps in a MileThe average person walks between 2,000 to 2,500 steps in a mile. When running a mile, a person typically takes fewer steps, averaging between 1,400 and 2,000 steps. To take 10,000 steps, it can take upwards of 4 to 5 miles of walking.Steps in a KilometerOn average, it takes roughly 1,200 to 1,500 steps to walk one kilometer while it can take between 900 and 1250 steps to run a kilometer. If your goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, it will take a little over 8 kilometers of travel to reach that goal.Variations in Step CountsA person’s steps per mile or kilometer vary based on their height, speed, and stride length. By understanding these factors, you can establish your approximate step count with improved accuracy.Stride LengthA person’s stride length is the distance traveled between consecutive steps of one foot. The length of your stride determines how frequently you move in one distance, directly affecting your steps per mile or kilometer.The average person has a stride length of 2 to 2.5 feet or 60 to 76 centimeters. Your stride length varies based on whether you’re walking or running, the terrain you’re walking on, or if you’re stopping and starting, such as when you’re using a crosswalk or taking breaks.To measure your stride length, try the “water dance” method. Start by standing on a sidewalk and step in some water such as a puddle. Next, walk ten steps at your normal pace and your footsteps will show on the ground. With this, measure the distance—in feet or meters—of your footprints from the heel of one foot to the heel of the same foot in one stride. Take 3 or 4 measurements to calculate your average stride length.HeightYour stride length varies based upon how tall you are, being roughly 42 percent of your height. The average adult woman is 5’4” (162 centimeters) and has a 2.2-foot (67 centimeters) stride while the average adult man is 5’9” (175 centimeters) and has a 2.3-foot (70 centimeters) stride. As men are generally taller than women, their stride length is longer on average.In general, a taller individual will take fewer steps to walk a mile than a shorter person because they have a longer stride length.SpeedYour speed impacts the length of your stride, in turn affecting your steps in a mile or kilometer. A 2008 study examined the average number of steps it takes to travel one mile while moving at different speeds.20 minutes of walking (3mph/4.7kph) = 2,252 steps15 minutes of walking (4mph/6.4kph) = 1,935 steps12 minutes of running (5mph/8kph) = 1,951 steps10 minutes of running (6mph/9.7kph) = 1,672 steps8 minutes of running (7.5mph/12kph) = 1,400 steps6 minutes of running (10mph/12kph) = 1,080 stepsThe pattern represents how your steps per mile decrease as you move faster and increase as you go slower. For instance, an avid runner may find they don’t take as many steps to complete a mile compared to a person who walks frequently.How To Calculate Your StepsThere are multiple methods you can use to calculate your average steps in a mile or kilometer, including mobile apps or walking on a local track.While you can always track your steps by counting in your head, a pedometer does the work for you. Many pedometers are quite affordable and easy to use, most being worn like a watch. The devices are most accurate when you input some basic personal information such as your stride length, height, weight, and gender as these factors affect your average speed.TrackAn easy way to calculate your steps in a mile or kilometer is by walking around a track. Tracks are relatively easy to find and all are the same standard size. Even better, some tracks have exact mile markers you can use as a reference point.There are two different types of tracks, a quarter-mile (1,320 feet) and a 400-meter (1,308 feet), and four laps around either are roughly one mile. A 400-meter track is ever so slightly smaller than a quarter-mile track, so if you’re unsure whether the track you’re on is a 400-meter or quarter-mile, ask a staff member or sports coach who works on it for clarification.When determining your steps per mile, walk the inner lane of a track four times while counting your steps. To measure your steps per kilometer, walk the inner lane two and a half times, approximately one kilometer, and count your steps.Football FieldWhen calculating your steps, a football field is a useful tool because the size is a standard, 300 feet, or roughly 91 meters long. Additionally, football fields are typically accessible and can be found at local schools or colleges.To measure, count your steps from goal line to opposite goal line by using a pedometer or counting in your head. With this number, you can calculate your steps per mile using simple math:To find your steps per mile, multiply your steps walked by 17.6To find your steps per kilometer, multiply your steps walked by 10.94The multiplication accounts for the additional distance to reach one mile or kilometer. To find your average step count, walk from goal line to goal line 3 or 4 times, counting each length of the field as a separate repetition, and completing the math. Add your total steps and divide by the number of repetitions walked to get your average.Mobile AppsWhile fitness apps are not always accurate, they can be helpful for estimating your step count. Many newer cell phones have step counter apps built in them already, but app stores also provide apps to count your steps and distance.These apps work by using the GPS and satellite to track your movements. Buildings and trees can possibly confuse the apps and lead to inaccurate measurements, so they are best used in an open area such as a field or trail.FAQsCan I lose weight by walking 30 minutes a day?Yes, when pairing a healthy and well-balanced diet with a brisk, daily walk, you can lose weight. Light aerobic workouts, such as walking, help you burn calories and are excellent for weight control. If you’re introducing more exercise into your lifestyle, daily walks are a good starting point for people of all ages and sizes.Do I need 10,000 steps a day?Walking 10,000 steps per day is a popular step goal promoted by the media to get healthy and lose weight. For a generally sedentary or older person, walking this much may feel daunting and turn you off exercising entirely. In fact, 10,000 steps a day began as a marketing gimmick by a Japanese pedometer company in the 1960s with no factual basis.Now, this step goal is not a bad recommendation, especially for a young healthy individual, but it is absolutely not necessary. Rather, a Harvard Medical School professor suggests walking merely 2,000 steps more than usual can increase your movement and foster better health.How can I increase my steps per day?When trying to increase your daily steps, be sure not to exponentially raise your steps. For instance, if you are sedentary (averaging 1000 to 3000 steps per day), attempting to suddenly walk over 10,000 steps a day can cause burnout.Instead, try steadily increasing your steps by 500 each day. It may feel difficult initially, however, little changes throughout the day can quickly increase your step count, including parking slightly further away from work or skipping the transportation entirely and walking from place to place when possible.If you’re struggling to find ways to increase your steps, consider going to the park with a loved one, getting off the bus a few stops before your destination, or taking the stairs rather than the elevator.Is walking every day enough exercise?Yes, walking at a brisk pace is a great moderate exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week and can be split up in whatever way best fits your schedule. With this in mind, adding just ten minutes of walking a day can improve your mood, mental and physical health, and result in weight loss.Is it better to walk for distance or time?Typically, walking for distance is better than walking for time because it’s easier to track, particularly in regards to weight loss. For every mile you walk or run, you can surely assume you’ve burned roughly 100 calories.Walking for time, on the contrary, is more difficult to determine as you cannot measure intensity. Say you were to walk forty minutes; after that time is over, you cannot properly estimate calories burned because you aren’t certain of your speed and distance.Regardless, the difference between the two measurements is not exceptional. If it’s easier to track your walks by time, go ahead and do so.ConclusionFinding out how many steps you take per mile or kilometer can help track your progress and set future goals. If you’re new to walking or running, try recording your step count for a few weeks. Over time, your stride length and steps per distance may reduce as you become more physically active.You don’t need to do all of your exercise at once, especially if you’re only starting to incorporate it into your daily routine. Breaking up your activity throughout the day, perhaps by taking multiple short walks versus one long walk, is more manageable and attainable.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.