What is a good average walking speed for fitness walking? The answer depends on a few factors, such as your age, fitness level, leg length, terrain (flat or hilly) and gender (research has shown that men move faster than women).
In general, it is between 3.0 – 3.5 miles per hour which means you can walk one mile in 17 to 20 minutes.
At this brisk pace, many people will enjoy the aerobic benefits, such as strengthened cardiovascular system, lower blood pressure, less anxiety and improved overall physical fitness.
No matter what your age, gender or fitness level currently is, it is more important to find a pace that elevates your heart rate to 60% to 80% of its maximum.
This is known as your target heart rate zone. If you keep your heart rate within this zone while exercising you will experience the aerobic benefits of walking.
The average walking speed is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule for achieving physical fitness. For some, it won’t be fast enough and for others, it will be too fast.
That is why it is better to judge the right pace for you by listening to your body and following your heart…so to speak! Let your heart rate determine your pace, not an average number.
If you find the average walking speed discussed above is too slow and you are looking for more of a challenge, try incorporating some interval walking into your walks 2 – 3 times a week. Intervals are a great way to beat the boredom while boosting your calorie and fat burning potential.
If you aren’t able to walk a 17 to 20 minute mile now, don’t push yourself to do so! It is recommended that you start walking slowly and build your stamina and fitness level before increasing your speed.
When you are able to walk for 30 minutes at a time without feeling exhausted, you will be ready to increase your pace.
If you can’t walk for 30 minutes yet, try walking for 10 minutes and increase your time by about 10% every other week. You’ll find many more helpful walking tips on this site to help you become a successful fitness walker.
To walk faster, focus on taking quicker strides and keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Do not take extra long strides. This only increases your chance of injury. Learning how to walk properly is important to avoid injury and to strengthen the right muscles while walking.