Fitness Articles

The 1-Mile Walking Test

A DIY Fitness Assessment

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 is an odd test, one mile in 14 minutes is not a walking test, it is running for me, anything less then 17 minutes is running/jogging, my legs just don't go fast enough at a walk for that without resorting to running. To think someone my age can walk that fast without running is very strange. - 11/2/2014 1:34:27 AM
  • Thanks for the article! I'm a 51 year old female who is 5.5" tall and walk a 14.5 minute mile. Good but could be better! Thanks for giving me something to strive for! - 10/14/2014 10:21:29 AM
  • I've been walking for exercise regularly for several years. On regular pavement, I can walk a mile in under 12 minutes. I can walk 5 miles in an hour. That's even dealing with some hills. I don't do that all the time. Just when I am really pushing myself. I'm 5"5", so average height. Pretty excited that it shows on the chart as excellent for someone in their 20's. I'm 52. When I was in my 20's, I averaged about a 14 minute mile. - 9/28/2014 11:03:03 AM
  • This is a take it-or-leave-it kind of article. If it's useful, great. If not, then disregard it. I think as long as a person works on his/her fitness, then that's the key and using markers such as these guidelines *may* be helpful but don't use it to gauge one's fitness. I personally take a moderate approach to walking but I am also a runner and my average is a 9/min. mile - I took the "test" and ranked "average". I also do crossfit like a crazy person. I am not average. No one is. Skip this article and take a walk, run, row or whatever you do and have fun and get fit on your own terms. - 7/16/2014 5:34:17 PM
  • A moderate pace is 4 miles an hour? To each 4 miles an hour, I have to run. This is skewed towards tall people! Not very fair. - 7/15/2014 6:47:21 AM
    I am 65. 4 years ago I was pretty fit, walking 10kms about 4 times per week on average. Then I broke my leg. 14 months later I broke it again. 12 months after that I was diagnosed with cancer and had urgent surgery. As you can imagine my fitness went to heck. Little more than a month ago I began regular walking for exercise again. This morning I walked 7km in 1 hour 5 minutes, and the route includes a number of good steep climbs, both up and down. That puts me in the excellent category for my age group, although I weigh 120Kgs. I urge those folks who seem to be struggling with the parameters on the chart to keep trying. P.S. I work full time at what used to be a sedentary occupation. I changed it by throwing away the old style desk and creating a standing desk. I heartily recommend it. - 6/22/2014 7:48:32 PM
  • This chart is discouraging. I walk 18 minutes a mile I think I do pretty good. If I walk any faster than that then I am jogging. I am short and about to reach 50. So the chart doesn't seem real! - 4/29/2014 9:12:56 PM
  • Demoralizing. My friends think I rush everywhere, and this says I'm poor. So what are my firends? This is totally scewed toward physically fit people. There are tons of folks who wouldn't even try to walk 1/4 of a mile. - 4/29/2014 1:56:36 PM
  • 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
  • ELMA1913
    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

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