Whether you have a daily goal of 1,500 or 15,000 steps, each one is taking you toward better health. If your goal is weight loss, you might wonder just how many calories your daily steps burn. Everyone burns calories differently, so that number will vary from person to person.
Calories burned depend on several factors, including body weight and the intensity at which you take your steps. You can enter your personal information into a steps to calories burned calculator to find out how many calories your steps translates to.
Calories Burned Walking 2,000 Steps
According to the Mayo Clinic, 2,000 steps is the equivalent of walking about 1 mile. Of course, this is just an estimate and varies depending mainly on stride length.
Walking 1 mile a day isn't a great distance that's going to result in a significant calorie burn; however, any kind of movement burns calories. The main factors affecting how many calories you'll burn in that mile is the intensity of the activity and your body weight.
Intensity: The more your heart rate increases during your walk, the more calories you'll burn. Walking 2,000 steps on a flat surface is going to burn fewer calories than walking uphill for a mile. Fast walking will burn more calories than just walking around your kitchen while cooking dinner. If you take those 2,000 steps cleaning the house, pushing a vacuum and walking up and down stairs, you'll also burn a fair amount of calories.
Body weight: The heavier you are, the more calories you'll burn because, theoretically, it takes more energy to move a heavier body through space, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Calorie Burn Estimates
There aren't any reliable estimates for how many calories you burn just walking around in your daily activities, but you can get an idea of how many calories you'll burn walking 1 mile for exercise.
Harvard Health Publishing provides estimates for people of three different weights. If you weigh 125 pounds, you'll burn approximately 68 calories walking for 1 mile at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour. At that same pace a person weighing 155 pounds will burn 84 calories and someone who weighs 185 pounds will burn about 99 calories.
These amounts could change significantly if you are walking on varied terrain, uphill or up stairs.
Getting the Exercise You Need
Getting enough moderate-intensity or vigorous cardiovascular exercise is important for weight management and your overall health. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends all adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise per week.
In order for your 2,000 steps to count towards those minutes, you have to walk at a brisk enough pace that your breathing quickens and you break into a light sweat. At this moderate pace, you can carry on a conversation, but you wouldn't be able to sing, explains the Mayo Clinic.
For your walking to count as vigorous exercise, you'd likely have to be hiking up steep inclines. At this vigorous intensity, your breathing becomes deep and rapid, you sweat more and you can't say more than a few words at a time without needing to pause for a breath.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Walking: Make It Count With Activity Trackers"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories"
- US Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Exercise Intensity: How to Measure It"