Measure Walking Stride

Could you please describe exactly how to measure your stride. How long should the optimum stride be?

Stride length is the distance from the heel of your forward foot to the toes of your back foot. The easiest way to estimate your stride length – which you’ll need to do to set your pedometer correctly — is to mark off a ten-foot strip. Begin walking from ten to twenty feet away, bringing yourself up to what you consider to be your average, normal walking pace. As you enter the ten-foot zone, begin to count the number of steps it takes to walk that ten feet. (It may be anywhere from 3 to 6 steps or even more, depending on your size, leg length and walking style.) Divide the number of steps into ten. (Do note a half or third of step, if your last step ended outside the ten-foot zone.) This number will approximate your stride length on your daily walk. Remember that your stride shortens when you go up and down hills, which is why most pedometers are not that accurate on hilly terrain (they are set for a single stride length).

One way to estimate good stride length for fast walking is to stand tall, pick up one foot by bending your knee, then straighten your leg and place your heel straight down. You’ll find your foot is not that far out in front of your body. Try walking with that approximate stride length and see how it feels.

There is no “best” stride length. The best stride length is one that is comfortable for you and not exaggerated. If you want to go faster, try shortening your stride and taking faster, quicker steps, rather than longer ones.

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