Steps to Calories Burned Calculator

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How to Convert Steps to Calories Burned

Walking is one of the most accessible and commonly utilized forms of exercise. With the increasing popularity of fitness trackers, pedometers, and smartwatches, counting steps has become a common 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 the total number of steps you take in a day, then you can calculate them yourself by using a combination of 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 two steps, with both the left and right foot. You can think of it like this: stand tall, with both feet hip distance apart.

Now, take a step forward with your right foot, then take another step forward with your left, as in a walking motion. Stride length would be the distance between where your left heel was (in the standing position) and then where your left heel ends.

This measurement can often be confused with step length, which can be measured from the heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot in just a single step forward (essentially, how much distance is covered by a single leg, as opposed to the stride length which measures the distance from both legs traveling forward).

On average, an adult’s step length is 2.5 feet, but this can vary significantly based on an individual’s height, build, walking style, and walking pace. Age also plays a role in one’s overall stride, as does any recent injuries that may impact a typical walking pace.

You can follow a few easy steps to find your exact stride length! Ensure that you have something to mark your starting point, such as chalk or tape. You’ll also need a tape measure.

  • Find a flat, measurable surface, such as a track or a long hallway.
  • Mark the starting point on the ground with your chalk or tape.
  • Walk ten steps at your usual pace – if this feels unnatural, begin walking a few steps before your starting point to get into your stride.
  • Mark the ending point of your 10th step.
  • Measure the distance between the starting point and your final step with your tape measure.
  • Once you know how many feet it took you to walk 10 steps, then you can simply divide by 10 to find your stride length.

For example, let’s say you walked a total of 12 feet with those 10 steps.

To find your stride length, divide 10 by 2 (this will give you stride count), then take that number (5) and divide that into the total distance you walked (in this case, 12 feet).

Mathematically, this will look like the following:

5 strides over 12 feet = 2.4 feet of stride length, or 12 divided by 5 = 2.4

This is just one of the many ways that stride length can be determined. You might find applications where overall speed is assessed in order to determine stride, which works as well!

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, if you prefer, in 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 in feet = 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.

For example, let’s say your smartwatch alerts you that you’ve walked 9,500 steps today. Knowing from previous calculations that your stride length is 2.4 feet, you can then do the math to see how many miles this converts to.

9,500 steps × 2.4 stride length = 22,800 feet walked

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

If you want to do the math manually, then it would look like the following: 22,800/5,280 = 4.31 miles.

Step Three: Calculate Time Walking

Now you need to figure out how much time you spent walking. If you go on a single walk, it is easily measured; however, if you’ve been walking in small amounts throughout the entire 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. Your pace can also be referred to as your overall speed of 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 sitting still, while higher METs show how much energy is being utilized with exertion.

For example, METs ranging from 1-3 are typically thought of as very low-intensity activities, while moderate-intensity activities can range anywhere from 3-5.9 METs. Anything above 6 METs is considered high-intensity activity.

Think of it like this: 1 MET is equal to 3.5 milliliters of oxygen used per kilogram of body weight per minute.

Walking slowly has a MET value of approximately 3.0, while briskly walking has been noted to be upwards of 5.4 METs; however, these averages will vary, depending on the speed and intensity of exercise.[2]

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)

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

While this method offers a solid estimate of how many calories you will burn during a walk, remember that individual factors like metabolism, terrain, and walking style can influence the actual calories burned.

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, if you need to determine your level of activity.[3]

At the end of the day, 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.


  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.
  2. Mendes M.A., da Silva I., Ramires V., Reichert F., Martins R., Ferreira R., Tomasi E., Metabolic equivalent of task (METs) thresholds as an indicator of physical activity intensity, PLoS One, 2018 Jul 19, 13(7),
  3. 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,