What Does Kcal Mean on a Pedometer?

Basic battery-powered pedometers measure the number of steps a person takes during a walking, running or jogging session. They're shown on a digital display. Some pedometers also have a kcal digital display function. This shows the number of calories burned during exercise. Kcal is an abbreviation of kilocalorie and represents a unit of energy containing 1,000 calories.

A woman is holding a pedometer.
Credit: Angela Schmidt/iStock/Getty Images

Counting Calories

You need to enter your weight in the pedometer because it calculates your kcal expenditure per pound, per hour. For example, walking at the moderate pace of 3 mph burns 1.05 kcal per pound. That means a person weighing 150 pounds burns 158 kcal or calories, per hour of walking. To lose a pound in weight, you need to burn 3,500 kCals, which is equivalent to 22 hours of walking at 3 mph. The kCal counter on the pedometer can help you keep track of this data. However, the American College of Sports Medicine warns that pedometers are not very accurate at counting kCals burned. For example, the gadget doesn't recognize the extra energy a person uses going uphill.

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