The 1-Mile Walking Test

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 One-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 three to five 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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Scoring: Here are the age-adjusted standards (listed in minutes and seconds) for men and women, which are based on information collected from the Cooper Institute, American Council on Exercise and other sources.

Ratings for Men, Based on Age
 
Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+
Excellent <11:54 <12:24 <12:54 <13:24 <14:06 <15:06
Good 11:54-13:00 12:24-13:30 12:54-14:00 13:24-14:24 14:06-15:12 15:06-15:48
Average 13:01-13:42 13:31-14:12 14:01-14:42 14:25-15:12 15:13-16:18 15:49-18:48
Fair 13:43-14:30 14:13-15:00 14:43-15:30 15:13-16:30 16:19-17:18 18:49-20:18
Poor >14:30 >15:00 >15:30 >16:30 >17:18 >20:18


Ratings for Women, Based on Age
 
Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+
Excellent <13:12 <13:42 <14:12 <14:42 <15:06 <18:18
Good 13:12-14:06 13:42-14:36 14:12-15:06 14:42-15:36 15:06-16:18 18:18-20:00
Average 14:07-15:06 14:37-15:36 15:07-16:06 15:37-17:00 16:19-17:30 20:01-21:48
Fair 15:07-16:30 15:37-17:00 16:07-17:30 17:01-18:06 17:31-19:12 21:49-24:06
Poor >16:30 >17:00 >17:30 >18:06 >19:12 >24:06


Maybe you’ll find that you’re doing really well. But even if you weren't able to register on the chart, that's OK. Everyone starts somewhere! Just try to improve gradually over time from where you started. Remember, you are looking for improvement in yourself, regardless of what a chart says or how well someone else does.

How to improve: To improve your scores on this test, develop a regular cardio (aerobic) exercise routine and stick to it. Increase your intensity and duration gradually and you'll boost your endurance over time. Use the SparkPeople resources below for more tips to improve your aerobic fitness.

This will build a good aerobic base and over time, your heart will become more efficient, which means that it will be able to do the same amount of work without working as hard. If your exercise of choice is walking, think about incorporating a little bit of higher intensity intervals, such as hills or light jogging.

How to know its working: When you're done testing, you can track your results to have a visual representation of your progress! Over time, you should be able to walk faster without getting as tired. Retest yourself at least twice a year.

This test is a great tool to see how you are doing. If you don’t score as well as you like, just remember to focus on improving your own scores periodically. As long as you are improving, your fitness plan is working. If you find you aren’t making the progress that you feel you should be seeing, it may be time to change your workout routine.
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Member Comments

ONLYME33
Really Dated: Spark needs to UPGRADE info.. Report
Thanks. Report
Lots of comments here point out the flaws in this but it might be of use to some. Report
Lots of comments here point out the flaws in this but it might be of use to some. Report
This article is 10 years old and does not reflect the abilities of people with physical challenges. It should not be used as a gold standard for anyone with limited mobility.
For myself I am in overall good shape but cannot walk any faster than a 21 minute mile due to arthritis in my joints. Fast it not always better.
Don't be discouraged if you do not meet the charted requirements. Report
I walk briskly Report
ONLYME33
I walk briskly, so excellent may not be true judge of my physical state. Report
Thank you. Ready to see where I score. Report
My rating is good Report
thank you Report
Very interesting Report
Thank You...………... Report
TOMATOCAFEGAL
Speed is not my friend. I have braces on both feet and lower legs. Do not want to fall. Report


 

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.