How Many Calories Are Burned Walking 10,000 Steps?

How Many Calories Are Burned Walking 10,000 Steps?

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You've probably heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is a great way to get in shape and lose weight.

But you might have a bunch of questions about this simple habit like:

  • “Why 10,000 steps?”
  • “How many calories will I burn walking 10,000 steps a day?”
  • “How many calories is this compared to other endurance activities (like running, biking, or using an elliptical)”

Unfortunately, the answers to these question are hardly straightforward. How much you burn on a daily walk often depends on a number of factors like your walking speed, body weight, age, and environmental factors (like walking up a hilly course.)

So in this article, I will break down the factors that determine how much you're burning and will show how YOU can accurately predict how many calories are lost during your daily walks.

Side bar: One simple health habit you can build is to drink this superfood green drink, which gives you a boost of energy and supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to get through the day. (You can also read the review of it here.)

Why 10,000 Steps?

The benefits of walking include reduced risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, preventing or managing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, strengthening bones and muscles, and improving balance, coordination, and mood.

Want to get started on your walking habit? Check out:Walking for Weight Loss: The Ultimate 1-Pound-Per-Week Plan

But why do people use 10,000 steps as the “magic number” for your daily walks?

There are a few answers to this question:

First it relates to how pedometers (which count steps) were initially sold. They originated in Japan in the 1960s where they were marketed under the name “manpo-kei,” translating to “10,000 steps meter.”

The idea persisted and is now a common goal among health-conscious adults because, despite the number’s less than scientific origin, 10,000 steps burns enough calories to provide significant benefits to any adult. (And if you need a pedometer to count your steps, then I recommend checking out this exhaustive review we did for the best pedometers.)

Another reason why people use the 10,000 step rule of thumb is because of health reasons. Generally speaking, 10K steps means you're exercising for at least an hour per day. Studies have shown that with this amount of movement, you are burning fat, reducing your blood pressure and elevating your mood levels — all of which can lead to a longer, healthier lifespan.

Now let's move on to figuring out how to calculate the calories you burn while talking.

Exactly How Many Calories Does 10,000 Steps Burn?

Okay this is where it gets complicated…

Basic Rule: On Average a Person Burns 100 Calories for Every 2,000 Steps… or 500 Calories for 10,000 Steps

However, this rule isn't written in stone because the answer depends on factors such as your pace, weight, body fat percentage, and age.

So let’s look at how each of those aspects affects the number of calories you burn with those 10,000 step goal.

Walking Speed (or Pace)

The faster you walk the harder your heart works and the more calories you burn.

During light or moderate exercise — walking 2.5 miles per hour or less for most people, you can talk or sing without getting out of breath. While walking vigorously — 3 or more miles per hour, you will sweat and maintaining a conversation will be difficult.

Vigorous exercise burns approximately twice as many calories as moderate exercise.

Weight & Body Fat Percentage

Heavier people have the advantage because the more you weigh, the more you burn. The bigger you are, the more energy your heart uses need to move, and therefore the more calories you burn.

In the case of body fat percentage, the less you have the faster you burn calories. During exercise, muscle tissue actively helps you burn calories while fat is inactive, meaning that the more muscular you are, the more calories you burn.

(Side note: If you'd like to learn additional ways to reduce your weight, then I suggest checking out the book Weight Loss Mastery.)


Your age is also a big determining factor in how many calories you burn.  Every year, you lose muscle tissue, which slows down metabolism.  This means you'll have to work a little harder just to experience the same weight loss as someone younger. 

Also, a random fact that will be important later: the average adult gains 2.2lbs per year throughout their life.

Determining Calories Burned

Despite the wide range of variables that contribute to the calculation, there are a few general rules. For instance, most people claim you burn 500 calories for every 10,000 steps. Slightly more specific, someone my age but weighing only 155lbs will burn less — approximately 400 calories – walking 10,000 steps at a brisk pace.

Now, if we combine your weight and speed, then here are the number of calories that you burn during a typical walking session, then check out these three charts provided courtesy of VeryWell Fit:

20 Minutes Per Mile (3 mph)

Weight (lb.)1 min.15 min.30 min.45 min.1 hr.90 min.2 hr.

17 Minutes Per Mile (3.5 mph)

Weight (lb.)1 min.15 min.30 min.45 min.1 hr.90 min.2 hr.

15 Minutes Per Mile (4 mph)

Weight (lb.)1 min.15 min.30 min.45 min.1 hr.90 min.2 hr.

Fitness Tracker

If you want more than a moderately accurate calculator, however, you should invest in a pedometer or tracker. A walker such as myself, who wants to track steps, distance, and calories should try the Fitbit Zip pedometer. It offers wireless syncing with other electronic devices and is water-resistant — perfect for accident-prone people like me.


Taking 10,000 steps a day will burn a different amount of calories for you than it does for me, depending on your walking pace, weight, and age.

But regardless of any of these factors, finding a way to track your steps is the perfect motivation to make this small daily change, and the result is a lifetime of health and personal benefits.

  • So buy that pedometer.
  • Measure how many steps you normally take.
  • Find ways you can walk more – to the store, across the parking lot, with the dog, around the block during lunch break, etc.
  • Feel better.
  • Live longer, healthier, and happier.

Also, if you'd like to learn more about how to build a walking habit that's both enjoyable and helps you burn those calories, then I recommend checking out these detailed blog posts and reviews:

Finally, if you are looking for an additional health habit to build, then try this superfood green drink to get a boost of energy and nutrients to get you through the day.

Taking 10,000 steps a day will burn a different amount of calories for you than it does for me, depending on your walking pace, weight, and age.
How Many Calories Are Burned Walking 10,000 Steps?

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