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How to Convert Pedometer Steps to Calories

by 
author image 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.
How to Convert Pedometer Steps to Calories
A pedometer tells you how many steps you have taken, but not the number of calories burned. Photo Credit: gregory_lee/iStock/GettyImages

Although most people burn around 100 calories per mile of walking or running, that's only a generalized estimate. The true number of calories you burn depends on a variety of factors, including how much you weigh and how hard you're working or how fast your'e walking.

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Wearing a pedometer, which counts your steps, can increase your motivation to hit the trails, and Harvard Health Publications reports that people increase their overall physical activity by 27 percent after they began wearing a pedometer regularly.

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.

Read more: How Accurate are Pedometers?

Casual Walking

To start, multiply your weight by 0.57 to calculate how many calories you burn in 1 mile of casual walking, which is around 2 mph or a 30-minute mile. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, the calculation would look like this: 0.57 x 175 = 99.75 calories per mile.

To get that number down to how many calories are burned in each step, 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. 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: 99.75 calories per mile / 2,200 steps per mile = 0.045 calories per step

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: 7,000 steps x 0.045 calories per step = 318 calories

Read more: How Many Steps Make a Mile on a Pedometer?

Using simple math formulas allows you to convert steps to calories.
Using simple math formulas allows you to convert steps to calories. Photo Credit: martin-dm/E+/GettyImages

Brisk or Power Walking

When you increase the pace, you also increase the calorie burn. 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 pounds, the calculation would look like this: 0.5 calories per pound per mile x 175 = 87.5 calories per mile

Again, 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.

Divide the number of calories you burn per mile by the number of steps it takes you to walk a mile to find the 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: 87.5 calories per mile / 1,400 steps per mile = 0.063 calories per step

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: 7,000 steps x 0.063 calories per step = 437 calories

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