With new step tracking technology, it's becoming easier to measure not only the number of steps you do per day but also the number of calories per step that you expend.
The average person uses about .05 calories per step or 100 calories every 2,000 steps.
Calories Per Step
According to Cleveland Clinic, walking 2,000 steps a day will use around 100 calories. That's .05 calories per step. This estimate is based on strides that are about 2.5 feet, so the amount of calories expended can vary person by person.
For reference, people who are sedentary and don't do much physical activity take about 1,000 to 3,000 steps per day. In fact, under 5,000 steps is considered sedentary, says 10000Steps.org. Active is more than 10,000 steps per day.
At 10,000 steps, you will have used 500 calories, which is the amount of calorie deficit per day one must have to lose a pound per week, says Cleveland Clinic. Physical activity and healthy eating, or the two combined, help create a calorie deficit.
If you're looking for ways to increase the number of steps you do per day, the Cleveland Clinic has several recommendations, from setting short term goals each week to getting someone to walk with you for motivation. Other suggestions include walking with music, having a destination to walk toward (such as a friend's house) or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Read more: How Many Steps Per Day to Lose Weight
How to Measure Your Steps
With the proliferation of new technology, measuring your steps and how many calories you expend per step has never been easier. Some examples of step tracking devices or steps-to-calories calculators, according to Cleveland Clinic, are pedometers, fitness bands and walking apps on smartphones.
A pedometer is a tracking device that predates fitness bands and smartphones. In fact, pedometers were first used to track physical activity in Switzerland in 1988, explains a December 2018 paper in Sports Medicine.
The device allows you to measure how many steps you take while helping you reach your physical activity goals, says the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. You simply clip it to your clothing or carry it in your pocket or a bag that you wear while walking.
In more recent years, fitness bands and smartphone apps have become a popular method of measuring steps, and calories used per step. One fitness band company, Fitbit, sold 21.4 million devices in 2015 alone, says Sports Medicine. The step-tracking options are abundant, from ones you can wear on your wrist to trackers that go in your pockets or on your shoes.
Why Walking is Important
So what's all the fuss about step tracking devices and why do we use them? According to Sports Medicine, steps are easily and accurately measured. They're objective and they can help change physical activity habits and spur motivation.
And the more motivated you are to increase your steps, the more steps you do, the healthier you'll be. Aside from helping you burn calories, walking, or physical activity in general, has several benefits.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains that physical activity can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, reduce high blood pressure, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce arthritis pain and the risk of osteoporosis and falls.
Try to get in your 10,000 steps per day or follow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guideline of doing 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of physical activity per week to maintain your weight.
- 10000Steps.org: "Counting Your Steps"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Step To It"
- Sports Medicine: "Step Counting: A Review of Measurement Considerations and Health-Related Applications"
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: "A Guide to Using Your Pedometer"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight"