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How to Measure Stride or Step Length for your Pedometer

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Measure Step length

Measuring your Step Length

For a pedometer to measure distance you first must enter your average step length.

Step length is the distance covered in an average step, either from heel to heel or toe to toe (see picture below).

Measure Step length

Your step length is required for most pedometers so they can calculate Kilometers / Miles walked. Your pedometer does this by multiplying your step length by steps walked.
Example: If your step length is 70 cm and your pedometer has recorded 5,000 steps 
The distance calculation is 0.7 (70 cm) x 5000 (steps) = 3500 (meters) / 1000 (meter in a Km) = 3.5 km. 
You have stepped 5000 steps which equates to 3.5 km.

Don't worry! Your pedometer will do that calculation; all you need to enter in is your Step length :) The more accurate your step length is the more accurate your pedometer will record your Kilometers (miles) walked.

3 Ways to Measure your Step Length

1. Measured Walk- Two pens and a tape measure

You'll need: Two pens, calculator and a tape measure

 Follow these steps;


  • Place one pen on the floor as your starting line.
  • Hold the other pen in your hand.
  • Place both of your heels so they are touching your starting line (your pen) and walk 10 steps,
  • Bring your feet together on the 10th step and place the second pen behind your heels.
  • Step away and grab your tape measure. Measure the distance between the two pens.
  • Using your calculator divide the distance by 10. That figure is your stride length.

You can use your heels or toes to measure step length as shown in the diagram above.

Example: Total distance between the two pens is 658 cm.
Divide 658 (cm) by 10 (steps) = 65.8 (cm)=Your average step length is 65 cm or .65m

Tip: We do recommend that you repeat this 2-3 times to give you a more accurate average. Often the first time you'll tend to over exaggerate your steps as you are focusing on walking.

2. Estimate by Height

A much quicker way to estimate stride length, but not necessarily very accurate.

  • Men - you can multiply your height in cm by 0.415
  • Ladies - multiply your height in cm by 0.413

Example: A lady - 165 cm (height) x 0.413 = 68.145 cm (round off to 68 cm)

3. I'm Average - Instant stride length

If you are not concerned about the accuracy and you can't wait to start using your pedometer, then this method is for you!

  • Average stride length for ladies: 70 cm
  • Average stride length for men: 78 cm

Tip: Be sure to check your pedometer instruction manual before entering your steps/ stride length.

It's important to note: Distance measured on a pedometer can only be estimation. During your day to day activity your stride length may vary, sometimes your stride might be greater or less than your average as you walk upstairs, down hills or stride out.

Kate Crosby Co -founder WalkingwithAttitude.com inspiring everyone to walk towards a healthier lifestyle with online walking programs, workplace 10,000 step challenges.

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