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Stride Length by Height: Table and Factors
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Stride Length by Height: Table and Factors

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on January 2, 2023
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7 min

Ever wondered how the average step length and stride length influence how efficient you are as a runner? Well, today’s article explores exactly that.

stride length by height
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Have you ever witnessed two people of different heights walking close to each other? You notice that the person with shorter legs tends to take more strides than the person with long legs. 

Well, this sight might prompt you to ask the question, “what is the average stride length?” This article serves to answer this question, offering key insight into the average walking stride length, step length, and the factors that influence both. 

This information is extremely important as it is what pedometers use in measuring distance more accurately. Likewise, health practitioners use this information when carrying out gait analysis, allowing them to diagnose injuries and other underlying conditions.

So, without further ado, let us dive into today’s topic. But first, let’s start from the basics.

What Is a Stride?

In a holistic sense, a stride is a complete gait cycle revolution. This means the distance between consecutive contacts of one foot with the ground.

Take your right foot as your starter foot; the distance it takes you to step from your right foot to your left foot and back to your right foot is what is referred to as a stride. 

The stride is the key element of efficient running technique and can help runners maintain speed and cover ground more efficiently. The ideal stride length varies depending on a runner’s height, build, and running style

For instance, shorter runners typically have shorter strides, while taller runners usually have longer strides. Runners who heel strike tend to have shorter strides than those who toe strike. A runner’s cadence (steps per minute) also influences stride length – a higher cadence usually results in a shorter stride. 

However, there are two main types of strides: forward strides and backward strides. Forward strides are taken by extending the leading leg forward and pushing off with the trailing leg. Backward strides are taken by reaching back with the leading leg and then pulling the trailing leg forward. 

Strides can also be combined into a single continuous movement, known as a bound. Bounding is often used in sprinting or when running over rough terrain. It allows runners to cover more ground with each step and maintain momentum. When done properly, strides can help runners improve their speed, endurance, and overall level of fitness.

While there is no perfect stride length, most experts agree that a shorter stride is more efficient and results in less energy expenditure. As such, many runners aim to find their optimal stride length and then maintain that distance for the duration of their run.

Difference between stride and step length

While most people use stride length as a replacement for step length, there is a significant difference between them. 

While stride length refers to the distance between the heel of one foot and the heel of the same foot when it comes into contact with the ground, step length refers to the distance between the heel print of one foot and the heel print of the other. In essence, two steps make a stride.

According to research, the average step length for women is about 26 inches, while the average step length for men is about 31 inches. However, like stride length, several factors determine the average length, the most prominent being height. 

What Is the Average Stride Length by Height?

This table shows the average stride length for runners of different heights. Keep in mind, though, that everyone is different, so you may find that you have a longer or shorter stride than what is shown here. 

The formula used in calculating the average stride length is as follows.

  • Female: Height in inches multiplied by 0.41
  • Male: Height in inches multiplied by 0.415
Height Female stride length Male stride length
4ft 0in19.68in20.07in
4ft 1in20.47in20.47in
4ft 2in20.47in20.86in
4ft 3in20.86in21.25in
4ft 4in21.25in21.65in
4ft 5in21.65in22.04in
4ft 6in22.04in22.44in
4ft 7in22.44in22.83in
4ft 8in22.83in23.22in
4ft 9in23.37in23.65in
4ft 10in23.78in24.07in
4ft 11in24.19in24.49in
5ft 0in24.62in24.92in
5ft and above> 24.62in> 24.92in

What Is the Average Running Stride Length?

The average running stride length was equal to 1.14 to 1.17 times the runner’s height.

It is obvious that the running average stride length would differ from the walking stride length over a certain distance traveled. That is because you expend more energy on running than walking.

In line with that, you can take your running workout to the next level by utilizing the Joggo app. Joggo app is a personalized training app tailored to cater to the needs of both experienced and inexperienced runners. 

The app features personalized workout programs, meal plans, timely educational tidbits, and more. This helps runners fine-tune their running/walking mechanism, running technique and form, and overall workout. 

Joggo also includes a progress tracker that helps runners work on improving their weaknesses. As such, runners are able to develop their skills and become highly efficient with their workouts.

What Makes Factors Lead to Different Stride Lengths? 

There are several factors that lead to individuals having different stride lengths. These factors include:

#1 Age 

The average person’s stride and step length diminish as they age. This is due to the fact that as we age, our balance declines dramatically, our cardiovascular fitness declines, as well as our muscular mass.

Our brain tends to compensate for poor balance by reducing any disturbances to our center of mass. That is why our step and stride lengths dramatically reduce as we grow older to maintain the center of mass.

Similarly, age-related reduction in muscle mass and cardiorespiratory functions causes our bodies to move much slower. This reduced workload translates to taking shorter strides. 

It is also a means to reduce how much energy you use while you move. The shorter the number of steps taken, the lesser the muscular and metabolic demands.

#2 Sex

Unsurprisingly, gender plays a major role in determining average stride lengths. According to research, the average male has a greater stride length than their gender counterpart. The reason for this is mainly due to differences in average height and muscle mass of both genders.

#3 Height

Height or leg length is one factor influencing the average step length and stride length. Taller people tend to have longer strides since they possess longer legs with equally longer inseams. On the other hand, short people with shorter legs tend to take shorter strides.

As such, a taller person can cover a distance faster than a shorter person. 

How to Calculate My Stride Length?

There are several methods to measure stride length, which helps measure the distance you travel.

#1 Stride length by height

As shown in the table above, you can ascertain the approximate number based on your height. Simply measure your height using a tape measure, taking it to the nearest inch, and reference the stride length chart.

#2 Pedometer

Another method is using a stride length calculator. You can ascertain an accurate average of your stride length using a pedometer. The pedometer is a small device that helps with counting the number of steps taken. Your stride length is the distance traveled divided by the number of steps taken.

You can also opt for online mapping apps, which help draw and measure your walking route. The information obtained is then used to reference the pedometer reading.

#3 Walk a known distance

With this method, the first thing you want to do is pick out a starting point and mark it out. Then, start walking for a total of 10 steps, noting the foot you started with. Mark out the front of that same foot after completing 10 steps and measure the total distance.

Your stride length is the distance divided by 10 (the number of steps taken).

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about step length and stride length.

How long is a stride?

The calculated stride length is the total distance traveled divided by the number of steps taken to cover the distance.

What are the differences between stride and step length?

Stride length is the distance between the heel strike of one foot and the next heel strike of the foot. In essence, it is the distance between the heel strike of the opposite foot as you walk or run.

A Word From Our Coach

One of the most notable elements for runners is stride length. It determines how effectively people can run, changes their running style and pace, and influences their risk of injury.

Ultimately, the best way to determine your ideal stride length is to experiment with different lengths and see what feels most comfortable.

By understanding how the different factors influence the average stride length, runners can adjust their pace and stride accordingly to maximize efficiency and avoid injury.

Conclusion

It is interesting to see how much our stride length varies based on height. While various factors can affect our strides, such as the surface we are running on or fatigue, it is clear that height plays a role in determining our natural stride length. So, next time you go for a run, pay attention to your strides and see if you fall into one of these categories.

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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