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The Healthy: Here’s the Average Walking Speed—and What It Says About Your Health

The Healthy recently spoke with Natasha Trentacosta, MD, a sports medicine specialist and orthopaedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, about the average walking speed for most adults and how fast you should be walking to maximize benefits to your health.

The average walking speed for adults varies depending on sex, age and general wellbeing. In order for walking to improve your health, it's important to decide how long and how fast you would like to walk. "To get an efficient and effective cardio workout, you want to make sure you’re getting your heart rate up," Trentacosta told The Healthy.

In addition to ramping up speed, you can increase your heart rate by going on an intense walk with sharp inclines. With higher intensity and incline your body burns more calories. "Incorporate intervals," Trentacosta said. "Change the speed; change the incline."

If you don’t have a smartwatch or a treadmill with a heart rate monitor, Trentacosta recommends an easy way to tell when you’re in the optimal zone. "You want to be able to talk and speak, but not sing," she explained.

Establishing a consistent walking routine can be beneficial for the heart and bones, Trentacosta told The Healthy. It also can reap other health benefits like reducing your risk of dementia, obesity, anxiety and high blood pressure.

Tips for a more effective and enjoyable walking experience include tracking progress, grabbing a bite after a walk and finding a walking buddy. "Taking someone along is good motivation and a check to keep you in line," Trentacosta said.

Click here to read the complete article from The Healthy.