Steps to Calories Burned Calculator

Calculate the number of calories burned for the number of steps walked.

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How to Convert Steps to Calories Burned

Walking is one of the most accessible and commonly used forms of exercise. With the rise of fitness trackers, pedometers, and smartwatches, counting steps has become a popular way to monitor daily activity.

But how do you translate those counted steps into calories burned?

If your tracker doesn’t allow you to measure the calories burned for all of those steps, then you can calculate them yourself by using your stride length, the conversion of steps to distance, and the MET formula for estimating calories burned.

Step One: Measure Your Stride Length

Stride length is the distance traveled in one step, measured from the heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot. On average, an adult’s stride length is between 2.2 and 2.5 feet, but this can vary significantly based on an individual’s height, build, walking style, and walking pace.

You can follow a few easy steps to find your exact stride length:

  • Find a flat, measurable surface, such as a track or a long hallway.
  • Mark the starting point on the ground.
  • Walk ten steps at your usual pace.
  • Mark the ending point of your 10th step.
  • Measure the distance between the two marks and divide by 10. This gives you your average stride length.

Step Two: Convert Steps to Distance Walked

Once you know your stride length, calculating the distance you’ve walked is straightforward. You can use our steps to miles calculator (or kilometers), or you can multiply the number of steps taken by your stride length to calculate the distance manually.

The following formula shows how to calculate the distance walked from the steps taken.

distance = number of steps × stride length

The result is the distance traveled in the same unit you used to measure your stride length. So, if you measured your stride length in feet, then the result is the distance you walked in feet.

You can convert this to miles by multiplying the distance in feet by 5,280 or by using our feet to miles converter.

distance in miles = distance in feet × 5,280

Step Three: Calculate Time Walking

Now you need to figure out how much time you spent walking. If you go on a single walk, then this is easily measured, but if you’ve been walking in small amounts throughout the day, then you need to calculate the time spent walking using a formula.

Given your average walking pace, you can divide the total distance walked by your pace to determine the total time you spent walking.

time = distance ÷ pace

Thus, the walking time is equal to the distance traveled divided by the walking pace.

Step Four: Use the MET Formula to Find Calories Burned

The Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) is a measure that quantifies the energy cost of physical activities. In essence, one MET is the rate of energy expenditure while resting.

One metabolic equivalent is the amount of oxygen consumed while sitting at rest, or 3.5 milliliters of oxygen used per kilogram of body weight per minute.[1]

Walking has a MET value that can range from 2.0 to 8.3, depending on the speed and intensity.

To calculate calories burned during walking, all you need to do is find the MET value based on your walking pace, then use the MET formula with your body weight and time spent walking:

kcal = time [minutes] × ((MET × 3.5) × weight [kg] ÷ 200)

The Compendium of Physical Activities provides a comprehensive list of activities and their corresponding MET values, along with different MET values for different walking and running paces.[2]

This is the same method our calories burned walking and calories burned running calculators use.

While this method offers a solid estimate, remember that individual factors like metabolism, terrain, and walking style can influence the actual calories burned. Nevertheless, understanding the interplay of steps, stride length, and MET values can empower you to gauge your daily energy expenditure more effectively, helping you tailor your fitness goals accordingly.

References

  1. Jetté, M., Sidney, K., & Blümchen, G., Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity, Clinical cardiology, 1990, 13(8), 555–565. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.4960130809
  2. Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett Jr DR, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS, The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide, Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University, https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/