Walking and step aerobics are very different types of activity but both are great ways to burn calories, lose weight and reduce excess body fat. This post looks at how walking and stepping can help you lose weight, the stepping calories burned, and provides a steps-to-calories converter for walking.
Calories burned walking per step depends on your body weight, walking speed, fitness level, gender, and stride length but you can get a good estimate based on your weight and height.
A typical person weighing 150 to 200 lb takes 2000 to 2500 steps per mile and burns 40 to 50 calories per 1000 steps.
A step aerobics workout is a high-intensity exercise and calories are calculated based on metabolic equivalents, body weight, and exercise duration.
Typically a 150-pound person completing an aerobics workout will burn 250 to 300 calories in a 30-minute workout.
This post looks at:
- Converting steps to calories burned
- How to calculate the calories burned per step
- Factors affecting the calorie burn rate
- Calories burned in step aerobics
- The health benefits of walking and stepping
Let’s get started!
Converting Steps To Calories Burned
To accurately calculate the number of calories you burn, you need to know how many steps you take per mile. This can be estimated based on your height and weight using a fitness tracker or measured by finding your average step length for greater accuracy.
The charts below use height to estimate stride length and metabolic equivalents (MET) to convert steps to calories burned for different walking speeds.
The steps per mile research is from a study in the ACSM’s Health And Fitness Journal.
Height 5′ 5″ and Under
Use the chart below to estimate calories burned per 1000 steps for different walking speeds if your height is 5′ 5″ or less. The chart is based on 2400 steps per mile.
Based on 2400 steps per mile, Pace 3.5 miles per hour
Height 5′ 6″ to 5′ 11″
Use the chart below to estimate calories burned per 1000 steps for different walking speeds if your height is 5′ 6″ to 5′ 11″. The chart is based on 2200 steps per mile.
Based on 2200 steps per mile, Pace 3.5 miles per hour
Height 6′ 0″ and Over
Use the chart below to estimate calories burned per 1000 steps for different walking speeds if your height is 6′ 0″ and above. The chart is based on 2100 steps per mile.
Based on 2100 steps per mile, Pace 3.5 miles per hour
Related post: How Many Miles In 10,000 Steps (And How Many Calories Burned)
Steps To Calories Calculator
Provided you know the time spent walking, you can simply use my walking calories calculator to find out how many calories burned walking. If you’re walking at a brisk pace, the average person walks at a speed of 3.0 to 3.5 miles per hour (mph).
Walking speed makes very little difference to calories burned unless you start power walking at speeds of 4.5 mph or more. Take it from me that’s fast! I do a lot of walking and I can rarely get over 4 mph.
Walking Calories Calculator
EMBED THIS CALCULATOR – Just copy and paste the code into an HTML block:
How To Calculate The Calories Burned By Steps
STEP #1 Find The MET Value
The charts are based on metabolic equivalents – it’s a measure of relative energy that makes it easy to compare the energy expenditure of different activities.
1 MET represents the amount of oxygen consumed while sitting at rest and is equal to 3.5 ml O2 per kg body weight x min.
Walking has different MET values for different speeds (MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent of Task).
- Walking at 2.5 mph, easy pace – MET value 3
- Walking at 3 mph, moderate pace – MET value 3.5
- Walking at 3.5 mph, brisk pace – MET value 4.3
- Walking at 4 mph, very brisk pace – MET value 5
- Walking at 4.5 mph, power walking – MET value 7
These are MET values for walking on a flat surface. Add hills and the MET value shoots up:
- Walking Uphill at 2.9 to 3.5 mph, 1 to 5% grade – MET value 5.3
- Walking Uphill at 2.9 to 3.5 mph, 6 to 15% grade – MET value 8
STEP #2 Calculate Step Length And Walking Distance
There is a slight difference between genders but this equation provides a good estimate for step length using height in meters.
Step length = height x 0.414
Distance walked = step length x steps = height x 0.414 x steps
Alternatively, lookup the distance walked using this chart:
Distance walked in meters based on height and steps
STEP #3 Calculate Time Spent Walking
You may already know how long it took you to walk a certain number of steps – if so you can use the same equation to find your walking speed:
Walking time = distance/speed = height x 0.414 x steps/speed
Walking speed = height x 0.414 x steps/walking time
STEP #4 Find How Many Calories
Use walking time in minutes and body weight in kg to calculate calories burned:
Calories = time x MET value * 3.5 * body weight (in kg) / (200 x 60)
1 lb is approximately 0.45 kg
What Affects The Calorie Burn Rate?
Boost your calorie burn rate while walking by understanding what influences your energy expenditure! These are the main factors that can help you turn easy strolls into powerful calorie-burning workouts:
- Weight: The more you weigh, the more calories you burn during physical activity. So if you have a lot of weight to lose, just walking a few miles a day can make a big difference!
- Walking Speed: Pick up the pace! When you walk faster and boost your heart rate, you burn more calories as your body works harder to maintain that brisk tempo. Challenge yourself to increase your speed, even if it’s just for short bursts – every step counts!
- Incline or Terrain: Conquer those hills and uneven surfaces! Walking uphill or on varied terrain not only strengthens your muscles and cardiovascular system but also boosts your calorie burn rate. Go ahead, explore new paths, and find some hills to climb.
- Duration: Every minute matters! The longer you walk, the more calories you burn. Set aside some time each day to walk a little further, and watch the benefits accumulate over time.
- Fitness Level: As your fitness level increases, your body becomes more efficient and starts to burn fewer calories per mile. Avoid hitting a weight loss plateau by continuing to challenge yourself – try walking intervals and walking uphills.
- Walking Technique: good posture and engaging your core will make you a more efficient walker and also help to protect against injuries. With good technique, you’ll be able to walk further and faster.
It’s regular walking that makes the biggest difference when you’re walking for weight loss. Commit to walking every day!
Related post: How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking Per Mile?
Calories Burned In Step Aerobics
Step aerobics is a high-energy workout with an impressive calorie burn. It’s great for cardiovascular and strength training – it targets all muscle groups for a full-body workout.
This high-intensity workout is adaptable for different fitness levels, and it’s a great way to boost calorie expenditure. Plus a workout with friends can be fun!
Just like walking, the calories burned in step aerobics can be calculated using MET values:
- step aerobics, with 4 inch step – MET value 5.5
- step aerobics, with 6 – 8 inch step – MET value 7.5
- step aerobics, with 10 – 12 inch step – MET value 9.5
Values are taken from the Compendium of Physical Activities
Use these MET values in my calorie calculator below to find the total number of calories you’re burning in your step aerobic class:
Steps To Calories Calculator
Health Benefits Of Walking And Stepping
Walking and stepping are simple yet effective forms of exercise that offer many health benefits for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Let’s look at some of the physical and mental health advantages of adding walking and stepping into your daily routine:
- Heart Health: Regular walking and stepping can contribute to improved cardiovascular health by elevating your heart rate. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. These activities work to strengthen your heart muscles, enhance circulation, and reduce high blood pressure, promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. Stepping, power walking, or walking uphill are particularly good at boosting cardiovascular fitness.
- Weight Management: If you’re aiming to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, walking and stepping are excellent options. These exercises burn calories, boost metabolism, and can be helpful in overall weight management. Moreover, they’re easy to incorporate into your daily schedule. Walking, in particular, is a low-impact activity that’s suitable for just about everyone.
- Strengthening Muscles and Joints: Walking and stepping engage various muscle groups, increase muscle mass, and support joint health. Regular practice can lead to stronger legs, glutes, and core muscles while improving joint mobility and reducing the risk of age-related joint issues.
- Mental Well-being: Don’t underestimate the power of a good walk or step session for your mental health! Both walking and stepping can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by providing a break from stressful situations and releasing exercise-induced endorphins. Stepping is good for social interaction and walks in nature are perfect for relaxation.
- Increased Energy and Stamina: By engaging in regular walking or stepping, you can enhance your overall energy levels and build endurance. Over time, you’ll notice increased stamina during your daily activities, making it easier to tackle whatever life throws your way.
- Better Sleep: Physical activity, such as walking and stepping, can contribute to improved sleep quality. By engaging in regular exercise, you may find it easier to fall asleep and enjoy a deeper, more restorative slumber.
Add walking or stepping to your daily routine to have a lasting positive impact on your physical and mental health.
Thoughts From Love Life Be Fit
If you’re new to aerobic exercise, my view is walking is the best way to lose weight. It’s low impact and accessible to everyone including heavier people. Unless you’re power walking or walking up steep hills, walking for weight loss is a moderate-intensity activity. Most people can manage to walk for 30 minutes or even an hour a day.
By contrast, stepping and aerobic workouts are high intensity – 30 minutes of exercise stepping is hard work!
The only exception is using a mini stepper. Don’t confuse these with the workout you get from a step aerobic class. The intensity of the exercise is different. A mini stepper mimics walking – your foot doesn’t leave the footplate making it a lower-impact, less intense workout session. The advantage of a mini stepper is you can use it in the office – a fitness routine workout at a standing desk!
No matter what type of cardio workout you select, aim to exercise regularly. It’s best to do a little every day or at least 3-4 days a week. Start by walking 2 miles a day and take it from there!
You can try out one of my walking plans: the 9-Week Fat Buster Walking Challenge, the 28-Day Walking Challenge, or the 10,000 Steps A Day Challenge.
It’s also a good idea to add some strength training such as these bodyweight exercises 2 or 3 times a week.
A final tip: exercise is just one part of the weight loss equation – your diet is just as important. Try and eat a healthy diet and avoid eating extra calories – weight loss is achieved when you create a calorie deficit.
NOTE: If it’s a long time since you last exercised or you suffer from any medical conditions, it’s best to get a check-up from your doctor before starting an exercise program.