There are many variables that can determine the number of steps it would take you to walk or run a kilometer. I have made some calculations and presented a table of the number of steps you can expect below.
On average, there are 1265-1515 steps in a kilometer. This will of course depend on your step length. Simply put, your step length is the distance you move with each step. An average step length is 0.79 m (2.6 ft) for men and 0.66 (2.2 ft) for women (Source). That is where my number above comes from; 1265 steps on average for men and 1515 steps for women. If you divide 1000 meters by your step length, you will get the number of steps it would take you for a kilometer.
Number of steps = 1000 m / Step length (m)
How can you estimate your step length?
The easiest way would be to actually measure it. Take a step at your normal walking or running pace and measure the distance from the heel of your first leg to the heel of your second. Step length is actually defined by the distance between the first point of contact of your foot, but heels should be fine for our estimation.
If you would rather use an estimate, you can do that based on your height. If you’re a man, multiply your height in cm or inches by 0.415. For women, multiply your height in cm or inches by 0.413. That will give you your step length in cm or inches depending on what you used.
For men: Step length = Height × 0.415
For women: Step length = Height × 0.413
If you have time, there’s a way to get a more accurate measurement if you can get outside. You’ll need to find a puddle (or just bring your water bottle) and wet your shoes. Then you’ll need to walk/run a few steps at the pace you want to measure your step length for. Before your footprints dry, measure the distances between your feet on the ground and calculate an average.
Don’t have a measuring tape or don’t feel like doing it? You can refer to the table below for some estimates based on your height.
|Height||Step Length||Steps per km|
|150 cm (4’11)||0.623 m (2’1)||1606|
|155 cm (5’1)||0.643 m (2’1)||1555|
|160 cm (5’3)||0.664 m (2’2)||1506|
|165 cm (5’5)||0.685 m (2’3)||1460|
|170 cm (5’7)||0.706 m (2’4)||1417|
|175 cm (5’9)||0.726 m (2’5)||1377|
|180 cm (5’11)||0.747 m (2’5)||1339|
|185 cm (6’1)||0.768 m (2’6)||1303|
|190 cm (6’3)||0.789 m (2’7)||1268|
|195 cm (6’5)||0.809 m (2’8)||1236|
|Height||Step Length||Steps per km|
|145 cm (4’9)||0.599 m (2′)||1670|
|150 cm (4’11)||0.620 m (2′)||1614|
|155 cm (5’1)||0.640 m (2’1)||1562|
|160 cm (5’3)||0.661 m (2’2)||1513|
|165 cm (5’5)||0.681 m (2’3)||1467|
|170 cm (5’7)||0.702 m (2’4)||1424|
|175 cm (5’9)||0.723 m (2’4)||1384|
|180 cm (5’11)||0.743 m (2’5)||1345|
|185 cm (6’1)||0.764 m (2’6)||1309|
|190 cm (6’3)||0.785 m (2’7)||1274|
Don’t want to count your steps while walking? Try using a simple pedometer that counts the number of steps you take. It can make it easier to set daily goals and achieve them.
My favorite pedometer is the 3DFitBud. You can see its current price on Amazon by clicking here.
What is your stride length?
Stride length is the distance you walk every two steps. It is basically the distance between the first point of contact of the same leg as you move. So how can you calculate it? All you have to do is multiply your step length by two.
Keep in mind that pedometers may actually be referring to your step length when they ask for your stride. Don’t take my word for it though; you can always test it out yourself.
How many calories does walking burn?
There are many factors that can affect the number of calories that your body burns while walking for a set time. These mainly include your weight and the speed at which you are walking. Depending on these factors, you can burn anywhere between 150-600 kcal per hour. As you can tell, the range is very wide. This is why you need to include your gender, weight, and speed in these calculations.
To a lesser extent, the calories burnt also depend on your age and height. I calculated approximate values for different weights, genders, and paces as shown in the tables below. These tables can be used as a rough guideline for the number of calories (kcal) you burn while walking.
The first table is for a 20-year old female with average height (5 foot 4 inches / 163 cm), and the second one is for a 20-year old male with average height (5 foot 9 inches / 175 cm). A walking speed of 2.5 mph (4 km/h) is considered slow, 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) is moderate, and 4.5 mph (7.2 km/h) is fast. To approximate the calories you can burn in an hour of walking, look for your weight and desired walking speed.
Women: (Scroll down for men)
|50 kg (110 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||166|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||237|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||387|
|55 kg (121 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||171|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||246|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||400|
|60 kg (132 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||177|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||254|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||413|
|65 kg (143 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||183|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||262|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||427|
|70 kg (154 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||189|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||271|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||440|
|75 kg (165 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||195|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||279|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||454|
|80 kg (176 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||200|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||287|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||467|
|85 kg (187 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||206|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||295|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||481|
|90 kg (198 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||212|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||304|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||494|
|95 kg (209 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||218|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||312|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||508|
|100 kg (220 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||223|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||320|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||521|
Men: (Scroll up for women)
|65 kg (143 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||211|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||302|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||492|
|70 kg (154 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||219|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||314|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||511|
|75 kg (165 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||227|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||326|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||531|
|80 kg (176 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||236|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||338|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||550|
|85 kg (187 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||244|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||350|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||570|
|90 kg (198 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||253|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||362|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||589|
|95 kg (209 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||261|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||374|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||609|
|100 kg (220 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||269|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||386|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||628|
|105 kg (231 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||278|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||398|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||648|
|110 kg (243 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||286|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||410|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||667|
|115 kg (254 lbs)||2.5 mph (4 km/h)||294|
|3.5 mph (5.6 km/h)||422|
|4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)||687|
Keep in mind that these values are only an approximation that can be used to help you get a better idea of how many calories you can burn in an hour of walking. Actual values will vary slightly according to your age, height, and metabolism rate. If you’re looking for a simpler way, check out my post on how many steps it takes to burn 100 calories.
What are the health benefits of walking?
It is easy to fit some walking into your everyday routine. Walking can have a lot of benefits for people of all ages. Here are some of the health benefits you can expect when you increase your daily walking:
- Heart health: A lot of studies show how important regular exercise can be for your health. A lot of these studies talk about exercise in general though. It is equally important to look at studies that consider walking specifically. For example, a report that summarizes findings from different studies concluded that walking can reduce cardiovascular events and the risk of death by up to 30%. Similarly, a different study found that older adults who walk more than 4 hours per week have a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those who walked less than 1 hour per week (Source).
- Stronger bones: Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones weak and brittle. Fractures related to osteoporosis usually occur in the hip, wrists, or spine and are increasingly common among older adults. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help promote stronger bones and reduce fractures by preventing bone fragility. Although some studies suggest that this effect is less potent in mature adults, recent findings confirm that aging skeletons do indeed respond positively to exercise (Source). Walking can therefore improve your bone health and prevent bone loss no matter how old you are.
- Life expectancy: Walking regularly can increase your life expectancy too. A recent study followed more than 27,000 participants over a period of 13 years and found that those who walked more had significantly lower mortality ratios (Source). Participants who walked more than an hour per day lived 1.4 years longer on average. In addition, the increased longevity did not lead to an increase in medical expenditure; it actually decreased it. Another study found that “brisk” walkers live longer regardless of their obesity (Source). The study which involved almost half a million participants in the UK over 7 years found that active and energetic fast walking (self-reported as brisk) was correlated with longer life expectancies. The difference between slow and fast walkers was 15 years for women and more than 21 years for men!
Why is walking good for the environment?
Walking is good for the environment because it allows people to avoid using vehicles that pollute the air. Someone who takes his car to work every day and gets stuck in traffic on the way is contributing to air pollution in his/her city significantly more than someone who walks or rides a bike.
An average petrol car emits about 180g of CO2 per km, while an average local bus emits 82g/km. Newer vehicles such as those in European countries reduce these emissions to an average of about 120g/km. However, short journeys that can be made on foot make it possible to avoid using vehicles altogether. Considering the large proportion of short journeys that are made by cars, switching to walking can have a huge impact over time.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to walk every day. If you find it difficult to substitute your daily commute with walking, why not consider walking once or twice a week? If you work a 5-day week, you can eliminate 40% of your emissions by just walking 2 days a week! Every step you take (literally) towards a completely emission-free commute has a positive impact no matter how small it is.
Is walking more sustainable than other transportation methods?
Walking is definitely a more sustainable option for people than other transportation methods since there are no emissions resulting from walking and running. Does this mean you should always walk to work or school? Not necessarily. There are a lot of factors that can affect your decision.
If you live at a distance from your office that doesn’t allow you to walk, you should consider public transportation options. Although buses and trains produce emissions, they significantly reduce your carbon footprint because you get to share them with others. Imagine everyone on your bus using a car and you can just about visualize the emissions that are avoided by using public transportation. In addition, less traffic means less time spent inside polluting vehicles for everyone else. Another option that is totally emission-free is cycling. Check out my other article to find out how fast cycling can be in a city.
The amount of free time you have is another consideration. If you’re too busy, a brisk walk may be out of the question. Not only do you spend more time on the way, but you also have to account for the time it may take you to freshen up or shower once you reach your destination. This may not be ideal for everyone especially when you have limited time. It might be worth it to wake up earlier though considering all the health and environmental benefits of walking.
One last thing to consider is environmental effects other than emissions. Water, for example, is an important resource that should not be neglected. Using water for showers twice a day in places facing water scarcity issues is not exactly environmentally friendly. This again depends on the climate where you live and the distance that you are walking. Not everyone will have to shower after walking especially if it’s only a short walk and in moderate weather. At the end of the day, it is up to you to consider all the different aspects and evaluate the best option by comparing all its related effects.
What months are the best for walking?
The best months for walking mainly depend on your location and the weather. This is because the weather affects solar radiation, air temperature, wind speed, and humidity. Although there is no ideal temperature for walking, some estimates can be made.
A study of marathon runners showed that the highest average speeds were achieved when the temperature was between 3.8-9.9 °C (39-50 °F) (Source). The temperature range where the best marathon times and most world records were achieved is 10-15 °C (50-59 °F). As the temperature increases above this optimal temperature, running speeds decrease and more runners withdraw from the races. This is not to say that similar temperatures are needed for walking. After all, our bodies heat up a lot faster when we run than when we walk. Based on that, the best temperature for walking is somewhere around 15-25 °C (59-77 °F).
Another study found that precipitation had the greatest effect on walking patterns (Source). Other parameters that affect walking are sunlight and temperature. Slight increases in temperature and sunlit area coupled with a shift from snow to dry conditions were found to cause more people to walk.
What time of the day is best for walking outside?
The best time for walking is the time that fits your schedule! After all, walking is only good if you actually do it.
Although there is a lot of research around the benefits of walking at different times of the day, there doesn’t seem to be a single time that is best. Each time can have its benefits depending on your daily schedule and needs. For example, although your muscles are warmer and more flexible when walking in the evening, you will get a feeling of being more energetic when you walk in the morning. Similarly, outside walks in the morning can be dangerous if it’s still dark, and committing to afternoon walks can be very hard with a busy schedule.
My advice is to find a time that works the best for your goals. When it comes to walking, the best time would be the one you can easily commit to.