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The 1-Mile Walking Test

A DIY Fitness Assessment

-- By Jason Anderson and Nicole Nichols, Certified Personal Trainers
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Measuring your fitness level regularly is one way to find out if you're making progress. Most fitness centers have trained staff who can evaluate your body composition, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance, but it can be pricey. If you don’t have access to all the toys and tools of your gym, don’t panic. You have everything you need to measure your fitness level in your own house!

This 1-Mile Walking Test measures your aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness level based on how quickly you are able to walk a mile at a submaximal (moderate) exercise intensity.

Equipment Needed: Comfortable clothing and sturdy walking or running shoes; a stopwatch or a clock with a second hand; a flat one-mile walking surface, such as a standard quarter-mile track (four laps equals one mile) or a flat road where you've measured the one-mile distance with your car's odometer.

Goal: Walk one mile as quickly as possible.

Execution: We suggest that you DO NOT attempt this test until you are routinely walking for 15 to 20 minutes several times per week. Do not perform this test on a treadmill, as it will skew your results. Warm up by walking slowly for 3-5 minutes. When you are ready to begin, start the clock and begin walking as fast as you can while maintaining a steady pace. You can slow down and speed up as you wish, but the goal is to complete the mile as quickly as possible. Stop your watch or check your time at the end of the mile to the nearest second. When finished, keep walking for a few minutes to cool down. Follow up with a few stretches.
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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • This seems a little skewed, I'm in the 30-39 range. I walk about a 16 minute mile, I run about a 9:30; 8:40 on a sprint and pushing hard, I do cross fit 4 days a week and run 4 days a week...I think I'm in better shape than that range given. - 1/23/2014 4:52:53 PM
  • I''m a bit confused too.
    Is it alowed to run too?
    Cause I simply can not walk that fast, cause my legs are too short.
    So walking takes me 16,4 minutes - I'm 40 and running 14.
    - 1/19/2014 2:35:56 AM
  • Jerico - you have to add it in as an extra measurement on the Weight & Other Measurements reports page. Wish I'd done it when I started this weight loss in Sept last. Oh well, I've always been fit enough. - 8/5/2013 12:57:36 PM
    I'm confused about this chart. Can you run, too, or is it just walking? If I can run at least a mile in under the time limit, does that automatically place me in the "excellent" catergory? - 7/10/2013 5:51:25 PM
    I am not in agreement with this. I may do a 22 minute mile, but at 52 and obees, I think I am doing very very well indeed to be able to walk 16 miles in a day. Distance counts too, not only speed. Boo !!!!! - 7/1/2013 10:59:48 AM
  • This is great information to use in planning my fitness for the day. Thanks Spark People. - 6/25/2013 4:16:39 PM
  • I feel that these charts are very discouraging to anyone who has any kind of medical condition. I am 61 years old, have had anterior compartment syndrome for almost 20 years (caused by trying to speed walk) and just had triple by-pass surgery in the last six months. Prior to surgery, I had been walking an hour to an hour and a half a day for the last eight years. I consider myself in good condition, but according to these charts I am in poor condition. Fiddlesticks!!!! All the more power to everyone who is in excellent condition, but these charts do not factor in many elements - and I am glad to see other comments about us short females. (5'3" here). It DOES make a difference. My theory is that any exercise is better than none, and no matter if you walk a mile in 15 minutes or 20+ minutes you are still doing your body good! - 6/24/2013 7:06:40 PM
  • Great read! This helps me a lot. I have been walking a mile everyday. I am at 18 minutes right now but I'm getting better. - 6/21/2013 7:48:07 PM
    I was kind of shocked at my results. I'm 54 and I walk every day about 3-4 miles at what I THOUGHT was a pretty rapid pace. Since its getting warmer outside and I read this article today I decided to do this on the treadmill at the gym. 16 minutes! I would have said under 15. Well, this gives me something to work on/towards!

    Keep on walking my friends :-) - 6/21/2013 6:17:50 PM
  • I am 5'6 female ( i was 40 at the time)
    At my fittest walking - I walked my fastest half marathon ( 14 miles) at a speed of 11:00 minute miles. I was race walking at the time - which put me in the above excellent for men.

    At 48 - I currently walk at 13 and a half minute mile but hardly race walk as it is very hard on the body - Also much harder carrying an extra 30 kilos. However when I get my weight down I might try again.

    - 6/21/2013 4:57:38 PM
  • I always track my time when I walk the track to see how long it take me. - 6/21/2013 10:04:22 AM
  • My speed is more limited by my arthritic knees than by my cardiovascular system. - 6/21/2013 8:43:59 AM
  • After reading this I was upset with myself because my mile walks are about 16 minutes...which is average for my age. Finally realized that the mile that I walk is very hilly! No wonder it is taking me longer...I need to find a track or some other flat route to test myself on! - 6/14/2013 9:34:37 AM
  • I do not see the option to track a 1 mile walk on my fitness tracker page. - 4/14/2013 9:27:41 AM
  • Tublady - Wow - You are my inspiration this week! - 3/3/2013 9:19:23 PM
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