If you're trying to be more active to improve your health or to lose weight, counting steps provides you with a measurable, motivational goal. Plus, all you need to get started are comfortable shoes and a pedometer. The number of calories you burn in 12,000 steps depends on a couple of factors, including your weight and how fast you're going. Consult your doctor to help you design a step program that fits your fitness needs.
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The Calories Burned in 12,000 Steps
While strides may vary -- in general, 2,000 steps equals 1 mile. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 125-pound person burns 68 calories a mile walking at 4 miles per hour, and 96 calories a mile when jogging at a pace of 5 miles per hour. A 185-pound person burns 100 calories per mile at 4 miles per hour and 142 calories per mile at 5 miles per hour.
Twelve-thousand steps is equal to 6 miles. If you weigh 125 pounds and accumulate your steps, walking at a pace of 4 miles per hour, you'll burn a total of 408 calories, and if you're running at a pace of 5 miles per hour to get those steps, you'll burn 576 calories. And if you weigh 185-pounds, you'll burn 600 calories when walking and 852 calories when running.
Counting Steps and Weight Loss
If you're trying to lose weight, burning calories by counting steps may help. A 2008 meta-analysis study published in the Annals of Family Medicine investigated the effects of participating in a pedometer-based walking program on weight loss. Even without making changes to their diet, the researchers found that regular pedometer users were able to lose 1 pound every 10 weeks, or about 5 pounds in a year. Although the weight loss may be small, if you continue to aim for 12,000 steps a day, over the years the pounds lost will accumulate. Losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight when you're overweight or obese can help improve blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
Meeting Your Exercise Needs with Steps
While you may be aiming to get 12,000 steps a day, you should use some of those steps to help you meet the daily activity recommendations set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Protection. According to the CDC, for good health, adults need to engage in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days a week. A 2005 study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology determined that taking 3,000 steps in 30 minutes can help you meet that goal.
Tips on Getting an Accurate Count
Pedometers are inexpensive and easy to use, but you need to place them correctly on your body for an accurate count of those 12,000 steps. According to the University of Illinois, you need to place your pedometer on the waistband of your belt or pants ,and to position it so that it is upright and directly over your hip bone. To test your pedometer, set it to zero and take 25 steps. If your pedometer is measuring within four or five steps, it's working properly. If the measure is off, you may need to readjust the fitness tool and do your test steps again.
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- BBC: Do You Really Need to Take 10,000 Steps a Day to Keep Fit?
- Annals of Family Medicine: A Meta-Analysis of Pedometer-Based Walking Interventions and Weight Loss
- Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology: Pedometer-Determined Step Count Guidelines for Classifying Walking Intensity in a Young Ostensibly Healthy Population
- University of Illinois: Pedometer FAQ
- Centers for Disease Control and Protection: Losing Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Protection: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?