As more people strap on fitness trackers in the quest for better health, 10,000 steps has become a popular target for daily physical activity. It may sound like a lot of steps, but add a 3-mile walk into a fitness routine, and you're more than halfway there. Even better, it doesn't take much time: The average person takes one hour to walk 3 miles at a moderate pace.
Some people walk slower, of course, and others may pick up the pace to burn more calories. But, according to a study in New Zealand's Sports Medicine journal, the average pace when walking outdoors is 1.31 meters per second, which converts to 2.9 miles per hour. This is the same pace used by Google Maps when estimating how long it takes to get to a destination on foot.
Walking speed is also impacted by terrain. It's much easier to go faster on level ground than to climb a hill or tackle a rough hiking path. To maintain a consistent pace when walking, opt for a smooth, flat outdoor surface or a treadmill.
Health Benefits of Walking
Adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Brisk walking at a pace of at least 3 miles per hour fits the bill, according to the CDC. Those who walk faster increase the intensity level of the exercise.
Walking offers a range of health benefits, including strengthening the bones and muscles and improving mood. This form of exercise also reduces the risk of:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
How Many Steps Are in 3 Miles?
On average, a person logs 2,000 steps when walking a mile. Based on this rule of thumb, there are 6,000 steps in a 3-mile walk. A 5-mile walk can help achieve a 10,000-step daily goal.