Walking just one extra mile per day can get you closer to your personal step goal and burn more calories in less time than you probably think. If you’re aiming for a 10,000 step (or higher) daily goal, the best way to build up to that goal is to gradually increase your steps over weeks and months. That one extra mile can burn off most of a 100 calorie snack, give you a boost of happiness and energy, and break up the monotony of long periods of sitting.
Here’s a breakdown of your calories burned and steps taken per mile walked, plus 3 different strategies to get your extra daily mile depending on the amount of time you have available and how intense you’re able to walk.
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Why add 1 extra mile of walking per day?
The best way to hit a new step goal is to increase your walking gradually over time. You can add one extra mile (about 1.6 km) of walking with just 3 quick daily strolls. Getting up and walking gives you more energy, makes you feel happier, and can break up long periods of sitting or inactivity.
The CDC recommends 30 minutes of walking daily, 5 days per week. It turns out that even half that – 15 minutes a day – can still make a difference in your health. That’s nearly an extra mile of walking (read on to see the exact time). A 2011 study found that 15 minutes of daily walking corresponded to an extra 3 years of life expectancy and a 14% reduced risk of death. Each additional 15 minutes of daily walking further decreased the participants’ risk of death by 4% (up to 100 minutes total).
Did you know that walking is also good for productivity? A 2019 Rand/Vitality study found that if everyone ages 16-64 walked an additional 15 minutes per day (a little less than a mile), it could add up to $100 billion to the global economy? Why would this happen? Walking helps to increase life expectancy, increase productivity and reduce sick days.
Thinking of that extra mile a day in time walked or steps taken is great as well! Your goal should be to get more active, and distance, steps and time are only measures of how active you’re getting. Here are a few ways to think about that useful extra mile:
1 mile per day in steps
Your steps per mile depends on your step length, which in turn is partially based on your height. Depending on the length of your legs and your natural stride, you could see slightly more or slightly less than these numbers. The numbers below are also based on an average walking speed. Here are estimated steps per mile based on height.
- 4’10” – 2,601 steps/mile
- 5’0″ – 2,514 steps/mile
- 5’2″ – 2,433 steps/mile
- 5’3″ – 2,395 steps/mile
- 5’4″ – 2,357 steps/mile
- 5’5″ – 2,321 steps/mile
- 5’6″ – 2,286 steps/mile
- 5’7″ – 2,252 steps/mile
- 5’8″ – 2,218 steps/mile
- 5’9″ – 2,186 steps/mile
- 5’10” – 2,155 steps/mile
- 5’11” – 2,125 steps/mile
- 6’0″ – 2,095 steps/mile
- 6’2″ – 2,039 steps/mile
- 6’4″ – 1,985 steps/mile
- 6’6″ – 1,934 steps/mile
Adding the extra mile will get you a little more than 2,000 extra steps per day. Don’t feel discouraged if you’re taller. Taller people tend to be heavier, which means that each step burns more calories moving your body around. Speaking of calories burned…
1 mile per day in calories burned
The calories you burn walking 1 mile depend on several factors. Walking faster burns more calories, and heavier people burn more calories than lighter people as it takes more energy to move a larger body. Here are some calories per mile calculations based off of a variety of body weights and walking speeds:
130 pounds (59kg)
- 1 mile at 2.5 mph (4 km/h) burns 71 calories,
- 1 mile at 3 mph (4.8 km/h) burns 65 calories,
- 1 mile at 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) burns 64 calories
- 1 mile at 4 mph (6.4 km/h) burns 74 calories
155 pounds (70kg)
- 1 mile at 2.5 mph (4 km/h) burns 84 calories,
- 1 mile at 3 mph (4.8 km/h) burns 77 calories,
- 1 mile at 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) burns 76 calories
- 1 mile at 4 mph (6.4 km/h) burns 88 calories
180 pounds (82kg)
- 1 mile at 2.5 mph (4 km/h) burns 98 calories,
- 1 mile at 3 mph (4.8 km/h) burns 90 calories,
- 1 mile at 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) burns 89 calories
- 1 mile at 4 mph (6.4 km/h) burns 102 calories
205 pounds (93kg)
- 1 mile at 2.5 mph (4 km/h) burns 112 calories,
- 1 mile at 3 mph (4.8 km/h) burns 102 calories,
- 1 mile at 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) burns 101 calories
- 1 mile at 4 mph (6.4 km/h) burns 116 calories
You can see an interesting phenomenon – WebMD also notes that slow walking can actually burn more calories per mile than moderate-intensity walking. You’ll get more miles and greater cardio workout benefits through brisk walking, however.
1 mile per day in minutes
The amount of time it takes to walk 1 extra mile depends entirely on your walking speed. Here’s the simple calculation:
- 1 mile at 2.5 mph (4 km/h) – 24 minutes
- 1 mile at 3 mph (4.8 km/h) – 20 minutes
- 1 mile at 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) – 17 minutes
- 1 mile at 4 mph (6.4 km/h) – 15 minutes
How to add 1 mile to your daily steps
The easy way to get 1 mile daily
The easiest, most convenient way to get an extra mile into your daily schedule is to take 3 five to 8-minute walks during the day. You can add one morning walk, one walking during your lunch break, and one walk after dinner. While very short walks aren’t ideal for working up to a brisk pace, taking several 5-minute walks can still be great for your health. It turns out that several short walks can be just as beneficial as one longer walk for health, especially when you’re breaking up long periods of sitting or inactivity.
If you’re already walking during these times, simply walk a little bit longer each time and you can hit that mile goal. Most people can find an extra 5 minutes before breakfast or after dinner by being a bit more efficient and setting your gear out ahead of time. Since it can be hard to work up to a brisk walking speed in 5-8 minutes, you may need to add a 4th short walk as well to get enough steps. Alternative, you may need an extra few minutes per short walk to hit that extra mile. More walking is almost always good in any case, so don’t feel discouraged if you can’t hit your goal just yet.
The intense way to get 1 mile daily
Interval training is one of the best ways to maximize your calories burned and steps walked in that extra mile per day. Take a short warmup, and then alternate periods of very brisk, fast walking with periods of regular-speed walking to catch your breath. You can get more intense by increasing the fast walking intervals, decreasing the slower intervals, and eventually adding jogging, incline walking or stair walking if you’re up to it. Do make sure that you stay within your limits and don’t push yourself harder than you need to. Work up the intensity gradually over time, as interval training can be intense and tiring if you’re not used to it.
Try this 15-minute walking workout to get that 1 mile in as efficiently as possible. If you’re looking to get even more intense, you can add running to your intervals. Fast walking can be an intense workout, however, so there’s no need to run unless you want to.
The leisurely way to get 1 mile daily
You can still get your extra mile in by adding a leisurely, 30-minute walk to your daily routine. That works out to about 2 mph (3.2 km/h) in walking speed. You only need to average 2 mph to get that mile in, and you can break up your walk with several stops along the way. For instance, you could walk at a regular speed of 3 mph, but stop periodically to window shop or run a quick errand.
This kind of leisurely walk is great for people nursing injuries or people with health conditions, as it’s lower impact on your body than even regular walking. Remember to maintain good walking posture, even if you’re walking slowly, to prevent injuries and have the most enjoyable walk possible. It also still helps to set a goal for your leisurely walks to prevent boredom and to give you some productive things to see or do during your walk.
An extra mile a day is as easy as three 6 minute short walks, a 15-minute walking workout, or a 30-minute leisurely stroll. That extra mile can get you between 2,000 and 2,500 steps depending on your steps per mile, and can burn off between 70 and 120 calories depending on your weight and walking speed. Getting up and taking a walk also makes you feel great and helps boost your energy as an additional side benefit. Targeting an extra mile per day is a great way to work towards a new, higher step goal and to get healthier overall.
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