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How Many Calories Burned Per Step?

How Many Calories Burned Per Step
Latest Update: April 4, 2019

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Being fit is something that many are concerned with, and calories are a big piece of that. But how do you know how many calories burned per step?

Each Person is Different, But …

In general, you will burn up one calorie for every 20 steps that you take. This is very helpful because it means that with something as simple as a pedometer, you can get a good idea of how many calories burned per step, and then per day.


There are many different pedometers on the market. Some are simple, and some can be quite complex, offering many different features. But the one feature that every pedometer offers is the ability to count steps. You may choose to use your pedometer for exercise only, or you may choose to use your pedometer throughout your whole day.

The situation that you plan on using your pedometer in will be a big factor in the pedometer that you choose. For example, some battery-operated pedometers reserve battery power by turning off with non-activity. This is good for battery power, but will affect the total steps recorded, as the pedometer does not click on until a minimum number of steps, usually 10 or 15, is felt by the sensor in the pedometer.

If you are someone who moves over to the coffee maker a few times a day, and if the coffee maker is close, none of these bursts of activity will be counted as part of your daily steps. This is something to be considered.

Goal to Shoot For

It is recommended to take 10,000 steps per day. Using the calculation above, that would be burning 500 calories. For most people, this is the equivalent of burning 1 pound of fat over a week.

With the knowledge of knowing how many calories burned per step, you cannot only work for the recommended goal, but you can determine what works best for you and have some idea of what effect that will have on your fitness before you even track it.

Steps Don’t Have to Be Only on a Track or Treadmill

The amount of 10,000 steps may seem daunting, but with a little planning and thought, it can be achieved. This may mean that instead of choosing the closest parking spots at your favorite stores, you instead park a bit farther away and choose to take more steps, and burn more calories instead.

When you have an option of an elevator or a staircase, you will burn more calories, and take more steps, by using the staircase. Instead of sitting during your break at work, you may choose to take a walk around the block, or even inside your building. It is all of these different ways of thinking about steps that adds up over the course of a day, and makes that 10,000 step number become more and more realistic.

If you are a parent, and constantly running after children, those steps will add up. When really thought about, there are many situations where you can add steps to your life, or you may not realize that you were moving as much as you were, bringing that 10,000 step number closer to your day-to-day all the time.

The Power of Knowledge

When you know how many calories burned per step, you have gained some power in knowing how your body works, and what changes you can make to improve or maintain your health situation. If you simply want to maintain your fitness now, then knowing how many calories burned per step will mean that you can monitor, and possibly correct, when you may need a little or more activity to stay where you are.

If you want to improve your fitness or health situation, knowing how many calories burned per step means that you can make changes today to turn your days into productive activity, getting your closer to the person you want to be.

Food Choices

As each food is assigned a calorie count, it is possible to think then of each food as the amount of steps or energy that it would take to burn that off. Knowing that something that isn’t good for you to eat may mean another 30 minutes of walking time at the gym might be all the reason you need to make a better food choice, and thus go down a healthier road.

On the flipside, if you know that you’ve eaten really well, having something that may not be the healthiest can be truly a treat, instead of a guilty pleasure.


Overall, knowing how many calories burned per step, which is in general 1 calorie for every 20 steps taken, gives you another tool in your life to make informed choices and decisions that can keep you on a healthy road, improve your current status, and enable you to live the very best life you can.

Date Published: April 12, 2019

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