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How to Convert Pedometer Steps to Calories

by
Timothy Banas
Timothy Banas has a master's degree in biophysics and was a high school science teacher in Chicago for seven years. He has since been working as a trading systems analyst, standardized test item developer, and freelance writer. As a freelancer, he has written articles on everything from personal finances to computer technology.
Hand holding a pedometer on beach Photo Credit Enigmangel/iStock/Getty Images

According to Harvard Health Publications, a pedometer can motivate you to exercise. Specifically, Harvard reports that people increased their overall physical activity by 27 percent when they started using pedometers. You can purchase a relatively inexpensive pedometer to gain the motivational benefits, but it may not have all the features of more expensive products. If your pedometer can't do it for you, you will need to know how to convert the number of steps your pedometer counts into actual calories burned. You can accomplish this conversion with a few simple calculations.

Step 1

Multiply your weight by 0.57 to calculate how many calories you burn in 1 mile of casual walking. This factor is based on a formula that calculates calories burned when a person walks at a casual pace of 2 mph. For example, if you weigh 175 lbs. the calculation would look like this:

Calories burned per mile = 0.57 x 175 lbs. = 99.75 calories per mile.

Step 2

Walk casually for exactly 1 mile while wearing your pedometer. Record the number of steps it took you to walk that mile. For example, it may have taken you 2,200 steps.

Step 3

Divide the number of calories you burn per mile by the number of steps it takes you to walk a mile. The result is a unique-to-you conversion factor you can use to calculate how many calories you burn from the number of steps you take as you walk. For example, the calculation would look like this for a person who burns 99.75 calories per mile and walks a mile in 2,200 steps:

Conversion factor = 99.75 calories per mile / 2,200 steps per mile = 0.045 calories per step

Step 4

Multiply the conversion factor by the number of steps you take, as indicated by your pedometer, during any given walk to figure out how many calories you burned. For example, if the person from the example walked 7,000 steps, the calculation would look like this:

Calories burned = 7,000 steps x 0.045 calories per step = 318 calories

Step 1

Multiply your weight by 0.5 to calculate how many calories you burn in 1 mile of brisk walking. This factor is based on a formula that calculates calories burned when a person walks at a rate of 3.5 mph. For example, if you weigh 175 lbs. the calculation would look like this:

Calories burned per mile = 0.5 calories per pound per mile x 175 lbs. = 87.5 calories per mile

Step 2

Walk briskly for exactly 1 mile while wearing your pedometer. Record the number of steps it took you to walk that mile. For example, it may take you only 1,400 steps because you usually take larger strides while walking briskly.

Step 3

Divide the number of calories you burn per mile by the number of steps it takes you to walk a mile. The result is a unique-to-you conversion factor you can use to calculate how many calories you burn from the number of steps you took each time you walk. For example, the calculation would look like this for a person who burns 87.5 calories per mile and walks a mile in 1,400 steps:

Conversion factor = 87.5 calories per mile / 1,400 steps per mile = 0.063 calories per step

Step 4

Multiply the conversion factor by the number of steps you took, as indicated by your pedometer, during any given walk to figure out how many calories you burned. For example, if the person from the example walked 7,000 steps, the calculation would look like this:

Calories burned = 7,000 steps x 0.063 calories per step = 437 calories

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