How Many Calories Are Burned with 10,000 Steps?
You've probably heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is a great way to get in shape and lose weight.
But maybe wonder any of the following: “Why 10,000 steps?” “How many calories will I burn walking 10,000 steps a day?” “What kind of results will I get?”
Unfortunately, the answers to these question are hardly straightforward. How much you burn on a daily walk often depends on a number of factors: Pace, body weight, age and a few other factors.
So in this article, I will break down the factors that determine how much you're burning and will show how YOU can accurately predict how many calories are lost during your daily walks.
Sidebar: If you'd like to learn how to build simple, daily habits that will help your fitness and weight loss goals, then I suggest checking out this book, which has 127 small changes to improve your health, wealth, and happiness.
Why 10,000 Steps?
The benefits of walking include reduced risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, preventing or managing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, strengthening bones and muscles, and improving balance, coordination, and mood.
Want to get started on your walking habit? Check out:Walking for Weight Loss: The Ultimate 1-Pound-Per-Week Plan
But why 10,000 steps?
First sold in Japan in the 1960s, pedometers were marketed under the name “manpo-kei,” translating to “10,000 steps meter.” The idea persisted and is now a common goal among health-conscious adults because, despite the number’s less than scientific origin, 10,000 steps burns enough calories to provide significant benefits to any adult.
Exactly How Many Calories Does 10,000 Steps Burn?
This is where it gets complicated…
Basic Rule: On Average a Person Burns 100 Calories for Every 2,000 Steps… or 500 Calories for 10,000 Steps
However this rule isn't written in stone because the answer depends on factors such as your pace, weight, body fat percentage, and age.
So let’s look at how each of those aspects affects the number of calories you burn with those 10,000 step goal.
The faster you walk the harder your heart works and the more calories you burn.
During light or moderate exercise – walking 2.5 miles per hour or less for most people, you can talk or sing without getting out of breath. While walking vigorously – 3 or more miles per hour, you will sweat and maintaining a conversation will be difficult.
Vigorous exercise burns approximately twice as many calories as moderate exercise.
Weight & Body Fat Percentage
Heavier people have the advantage because the more you weigh, the more you burn. The bigger you are, the more energy your heart uses need to move, and therefore the more calories you burn.
In the case of body fat percentage, the less you have the faster you burn calories. During exercise, muscle tissue actively helps you burn calories while fat is inactive, meaning that the more muscular you are, the more calories you burn.
Your age is also a big determining factor in how many calories you burn. Every year, you lose muscle tissue, which slows down metabolism. This means you'll have to work a little harder just to experience the same weight loss as someone younger.
Also, random fact that will be important later: the average adult gains 2.2lbs per year throughout their life.
Determining Calories Burned
Despite the wide range of variables that contribute to the calculation, there are a few general rules. For instance, most people claim you burn 500 calories for every 10,000 steps. Slightly more specific, someone my age but weighing only 155lbs will burn less – approximately 400 calories – walking 10,000 steps at a brisk pace.
If you're interested in seeing how many calories are burned based on your weight and level walking intensity, then check out these charts on VeryWell and the second fitness calculator listed on this page.
If you want more than a moderately accurate calculator, however, you should invest in a pedometer or tracker. A walker such as myself, who wants to track steps, distance, and calories should try the Fitbit Zip pedometer. It offers wireless syncing with other electronic devices and is water-resistant – perfect for accident-prone people like me.
If you are looking for something a bit more advanced, a fitness tracker is your best bet. These devices range from sleek and simple to advanced trackers for athletes. Check out this video where specialists match people with specific fitness trackers based on personality and interests.
Taking 10,000 steps a day will burn a different amount of calories for you than it does for me, depending on your walking pace, weight, and age.
But regardless of any of these factors, finding a way to track your steps is the perfect motivation to make this small daily change, and the result is a lifetime of health and personal benefits.
So buy that pedometer.
Measure how many steps you normally take.
Find ways you can walk more – to the store, across the parking lot, with the dog, around the block during lunch break, etc.
Live longer, healthier, and happier.
Finally, if you'd like to learn more about how to build simple, daily habits that will help your fitness and weight loss goals, then I suggest checking out this book.