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Take it in Stride

Get your family stepping by measuring stride length, calculating everyone's average stride, and learn how to estimate distances without a ruler.


  • tape measure
  • paper and pencil
  • masking or duct tape


  1. Talk about the difference between a step and a stride. (A step is the distance between the heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot. A stride is the distance from the heel print of one foot to the heel print of that same foot, or two steps.) The distance you travel is related to stride length by a simple equation: stride length = distance/number of strides
  2. Devise a way to measure your own stride length using the equation above. Here are some ideas: Mark a set distance (e.g., 20 ft.) with tape and count the number of strides it takes to walk it. Pick a certain number of strides (e.g., 10) to do, and then measure the total distance covered.
  3. Calculate the average stride length of each family member and compare. Can you think of reasons why your stride lengths differ?
  4. Choose a place (e.g., your backyard) and walk from point A to point B, counting the number of strides. (Remember: one stride equals two steps!) Then use your average stride length to calculate the distance. How accurate were you? Can you figure out the distance you walk to the playground? To walk the dog? If you wanted to get in your 12,000 steps each day, how many stride lengths is that? How far would you go?

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