Stride rate recommendations for moderate-intensity walking

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Feb;43(2):312-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e9d99a.


Current physical activity guidelines recommend physical activity of at least moderate intensity to gain health benefits. Previous studies have recommended a moderate-intensity walking cadence of 100 steps per minute for adults, but the influence of height or stride length has not been investigated.

Purpose: the purpose of the current study was to determine the role of height and stride length in moderate-intensity walking cadence in adults.

Methods: seventy-five adults completed three treadmill walking trials and three overground walking trials at slow, medium, and fast walking speeds while V˙O2 was measured using indirect calorimetry. Five stride length-related variables were also measured.

Results: mixed model regression analysis demonstrated that height explained as much variability in walking intensity at a given cadence as did two different measures of leg length and two different stride length tests.

Conclusions: the previous general recommendations of 100 steps per minute were supported for use where a simple public health message is needed. Depending on height, moderate-intensity walking cadence can vary by more than 20 steps per minute, from 90 to 113 steps per minute for adults 198 to 152 cm tall, respectively. Height should therefore be taken into consideration for more precise evaluation or prescription of walking cadence in adults to provide health benefits.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Exercise Test / standards
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Young Adult