How Fast Do You Walk? Unveiling the Average Speed

average walking speed

Walking is not just a basic human activity; it’s a cornerstone of physical health and mental well-being. Whether you’re a casual stroller or an elite power walker, knowing about average walking speed and its impact on your fitness journey is essential. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the intricacies of walking speed, from its average metrics to the myriad of factors influencing it. Let’s dive into the science behind walking speed and discover how you can harness it to elevate your health and fitness.

What Is an Average Walking Speed?

average walking speed by different ages and sex

The walking speed depends on such factors as age, gender, and health in general. Having average walking speed information is essential for getting a general idea about your fitness and health potential results.

Average Walking Speed by Age for Women

For women aged between 30 and 39, the average walking speed is 3 miles per hour (mph), equivalent to approximately 4.83 kilometers per hour (km/h). 

AgeMiles per hour (mph)Kilometers per hour (km/h)

Average Walking Speed by Age for Men

For men aged between 30 and 39, the average walking speed is around 3.20 miles per hour (mph), which is approximately 5.15 kilometers per hour (km/h).

AgeMiles per hour (mph)Kilometers per hour (km/h)

Factors Influencing Walking Speed

There are several factors that impact how fast you walk, from age and sex to fitness level, terrain, etc.

  1. Age: Age plays a significant role in determining your walking speed, with older adults generally walking at a slower speed compared to younger individuals. Studies indicate that walking speed tends to peak in the late teens or early twenties and gradually declines with advancing age due to factors such as decreased muscle strength and flexibility.
  2. Sex: Sex differences also impact walking speed, with men typically exhibiting slightly faster speeds than women. Physiological factors such as muscle mass, leg length, and stride length contribute to these disparities. However, it’s important to note that individual variations within each gender category are considerable.
  1. Fitness Level: Physical fitness exerts a profound influence on walking speed, with individuals who engage in regular exercise demonstrating greater speed and endurance. Aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility all contribute to improved walking performance. Incorporating activities such as walking, jogging, and strength training can enhance overall fitness and boost walking speed.
  2. Terrain: The nature of the walking surface significantly affects walking speed, with smooth, level terrain facilitating faster movement compared to rough or uneven surfaces. Factors such as incline, elevation changes, and surface texture can impact stride length and cadence, thereby influencing overall speed.
  3. Load: Carrying additional weight, such as a backpack or weighted vest, can impede walking speed by increasing energy expenditure and altering biomechanics. While weighted walking can offer fitness benefits, it’s essential to distribute weight evenly and avoid overexertion to prevent injury.

What are the Benefits of Regular Walking?

benefits of regular walking

Walking may lack the high-octane excitement of activities like rock climbing or CrossFit, but its health benefits are unparalleled. Here’s why walking is hailed as one of the healthiest habits you can adopt:

A groundbreaking study conducted in 2018, involving 50,000 walkers across various age groups and genders in the UK revealed a compelling link between regular brisk walking and decreased mortality rates. Participants who engaged in consistent brisk walking experienced a significant 20% reduction in all-cause mortality. This underscores the life-extending potential of this simple yet potent exercise.

In addition to lowering overall mortality rates, regular brisk walking has been shown to offer significant protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD). The same study highlighted a noteworthy 24% decrease in the incidence of cardiovascular disease among individuals who made brisk walking a regular part of their routine. By enhancing heart health and circulation, walking serves as a powerful shield against conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Walking isn’t just beneficial for physical health—it’s also a boon for mental well-being. Research conducted by the Ramblers and other institutions has shed light on the positive impact of walking in natural environments on mental health.

People also read: How Long does it take to Walk 20 Miles?

Studies indicate that walking in green spaces, such as parks and forests, can significantly elevate mood and reduce stress levels. Moreover, engaging in a weekly “awe-walk,” where individuals intentionally seek out awe-inspiring sights in their surroundings, has been linked to improved mental resilience and overall psychological well-being.

Related: The Rich Story of Walking Through Evolution

How can I Incorporate Walking into my Running Routine?

Incorporating walking into your running routine can enhance your overall performance and endurance. Renowned athletes and coaches advocate for the integration of walking as a strategic component of training.

Former Olympian Jeff Galloway is a prominent advocate of the run-walk method, which involves alternating periods of running with intervals of walking. This approach not only reduces the risk of overuse injuries but also extends the duration of your workouts, allowing for longer and more sustainable efforts. By strategically incorporating walking intervals, you can maintain a consistent pace throughout your run and ultimately improve your overall endurance.

Related: How to Prepare for a Long Run?

Many elite trail runners incorporate hiking into their training schedules to prepare for challenging terrain and elevation changes. Top ultrarunners, such as Kilian Jornet, are renowned for their prowess in power-hiking, a term that emphasizes the athletic nature of walking uphill.

Integrating power-hiking sessions into your training regimen can build strength, improve endurance, and enhance your ability to tackle steep ascents during races. By embracing power-hiking as a fundamental aspect of your training, you’ll develop efficient movement patterns and conquer even the most demanding trails with ease.

Related: High Intensity interval Training for Runners

Damian Hall, a distinguished ultrarunner and UKA coach, emphasizes the importance of tailoring long runs to match the specific demands of your target race. Prior to an important event, focus on mimicking race conditions by incorporating power-hiking segments into your training sessions.

By practicing power-hiking on steep inclines during both training and competition, you’ll develop the strength and resilience needed to excel on challenging courses. Remember, power-hiking is not a sign of weakness—it’s a strategic approach to conquering difficult terrain and maximizing your performance potential.

My Thoughts

Walking is a timeless activity that offers a wealth of benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. By understanding the factors influencing walking speed and incorporating regular walking into your routine, you can enhance your overall health and well-being.

Whether you’re aiming to boost cardiovascular fitness, manage weight, or simply enjoy the therapeutic effects of walking, lace up your shoes and start striding towards a healthier, happier you. Embrace the journey one step at a time, and let walking be your path to vitality and vitality.

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