Walking is one of the simplest yet most beneficial forms of exercise. It improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, helps maintain a healthy weight, and boosts mood. Knowing how long a walk of a certain distance will take can help you plan your exercise regimen accordingly.
Factors That Determine Walking Speed
Several key factors account for differences in walking speeds between both individuals and populations:
Age and Fitness Level
Your age and fitness level have an enormous impact on walking speed. The general rule is that the younger and more active you are, the quicker your pace will be.
Studies have found that average walking speeds tend to reach a peak around age 30 and then decline with advancing age. A 30-year-old can walk nearly 30% faster than a 70-year-old. Higher aerobic fitness translates directly into elevated walking paces.
The type of terrain dramatically alters your walking tempo. Hiking uphill makes walking far more intense and slows your speed considerably, while going downhill has the opposite effect.
Similarly, smooth, flat sidewalks allow much faster walking than uneven grass or sand. Obstacles like steps and curbs also force you to become more cautious and deliberate with your gait.
Injuries and Conditions
Existing injuries, medical conditions, or excess body weight can all restrict walking speed through impacts like painful joints, reduced endurance, or muscle weakness.
Conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease are often associated with slower walking paces due to their effects on body-wide oxygen circulation and stamina.
Your intent when walking alters your speed. An evening stroll to relax has an entirely different tempo than rushing to make an appointment on time. Fitness walking or hiking also involves more effort and quicker strides than casual jaunts.
Average Walking Speed Statistics
Studies monitoring walking speeds have led to some general statistics:
- Average normal walking pace: 3 to 4 miles per hour
- Brisk walking or fitness walking: 4 to 6 miles per hour
- Racewalking: Over 7 miles per hour
The average American takes roughly 2,000 to 3,000 steps per mile while walking. Other key numbers to note:
- 20-year-olds can walk 4.7 miles per hour on average
- 65-year-olds can walk 3.2 miles per hour on average
- 80-year-olds can walk 2.9 miles per hour on average
So in general, a younger adult can walk a mile in around 13 minutes compared to 20 minutes for a senior. Speeds also vary significantly based on gender, with men habitually walking faster than women.
How Long It Takes to Walk 7 Miles
We can use those averages to calculate how long a walk of 7 miles would take:
At a normal walking pace of 3 mph:
- 7 miles / 3 mph = 2.3 hours
- So at a leisurely pace, a walk of 7 miles takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes
At a brisk pace of 4 mph:
- 7 miles / 4 mph = 1.75 hours
- Thus, at a brisk fitness pace, 7 miles would take around 1 hour and 45 minutes
So in total, expect a 7 mile walk to take between 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes for most fit adults. Factoring in rest stops extends that time even more.
As always, your individual fitness level could make your time significantly faster or slower. Let’s take a deeper look at variables that alter your 7 mile walking duration.
Factors That Change How Long It Takes
While we estimated 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes for an average 7 mile walk time, your personal traits impact your speed:
Due to declining speeds, a 70-year-old’s 7 mile walk may take over 3 hours at a gentle pace. Their brisk pace is equivalent to a 20-year-old’s normal pace.
Very fit joggers can walk 7 miles in well under 1 hour 45 minutes. Meanwhile, severely obese individuals or those with mobility issues could require over 3 hours.
Existing leg, knee, ankle or foot injuries could greatly restrict pace and add 0.5 to 1 hour to total 7 mile walk times.
Hiking a very hilly 7 miles could take elite athletes up to 3 hours. Meanwhile, a flat paved trail makes faster paces much more achievable.
Number and Length of Breaks
Taking extended breaks to rest, snack, or enjoy views adds minutes and hours to your 7 mile walk duration. Stopping every mile for 5-10 minutes would add 30+ minutes more time.
Very high heat/humidity, cold temperatures, or heavy rain/snowfall generally slow pace and prompt more breaks, tacking on extra time to complete 7 miles.
Sightseeing, taking photos, talking to friends, etc. also causes periodic speed drops that accumulate over 7 miles.
As you can see, while 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes is a reasonable estimate, the total time needed spans quite a wide range based on personal variables. Tracking walk times helps you better predict how long similar distances will take for your individual fitness level and walking style.
Tips for Walking 7 Miles Faster
Here are some tips if your goal is to walk 7 miles faster to improve cardiovascular health or meet fitness goals:
Take long, fast strides and swing arms vigorously to power walk instead of casual strolling. This elicits your maximum pace.
Maintain Proper Posture
Walk tall with your chin up, abdominals tight, and shoulders back. Slouching restricts stride length and speed.
Listen to Upbeat Music
Music with fast tempos enhances both pace and enthusiasm for exercise.
Find a Walking Partner
Exercising together makes time pass quickly and enables friendly competition pushing you to speed up.
Use Interval Training
Alternate between walking briskly for 2-3 minutes and moderate strolling for 1 minute to ultimately cover more distance faster.
The Health Benefits of Walking 7 Miles
While walking any amount has excellent health effects, longer walks like 7 miles provide even more benefits. Some positives include:
- Burns up to 500 extra calories to aid weight management
- Reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Keeps muscles, ligaments, and tendons flexible and functional
- Boosts bone density helping prevent osteoporosis
- Improves joint mobility decreasing arthritis pain
- Strengthens immune function to resist illness
- Increases “feel good” endorphins that elevate mood and relaxation
So in addition to knowing typical 7 mile walk times, recognize all the major gains for cardiovascular, joint, and mental health from lengthier treks. Tracking distances instead of solely time spent also helps incentivize gradually longer fitness walks.
For most healthy adults, walking 7 miles at a moderate pace takes around 2 hours, while picking up speed can cut it down to under 1 hour 45 minutes. However, age, injuries, fitness level, terrain, and other factors can all increase or decrease individual duration. Taking rest breaks also elongates the total walking time.
Knowing approximate 7 mile walk durations allows proper scheduling so you don’t feel rushed. If seeking improved fitness though, try power walking, maintaining good posture, listening to motivational music, and tracking time so you ultimately complete the distance faster. The health gains from frequent lengthy walks like 7 miles make it well worth striving for.