Does Walking In Place Burn Calories? (& How Many)

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Walking in place may not look as impressive as a 100m sprint but it does get moving. In turn, you burn more calories than usual.

The average person can expect to burn around 87 – 150+ calories while walking in place for 30 minutes at a moderate pace.

Keep in mind that these are rough estimations that will likely vary due to differences in body weight, body composition, exact intensity, hormone levels, etc.

For example, a 125-pound (56 kg) individual will burn around 87 calories during 30 minutes of walking in place at a moderate pace.

On the other hand, a 215-pound (97 kg) individual will burn around 150 calories during the same session of walking in place at the same intensity.

This article will also go over estimations for different body weights and durations, how walking in place compares to regular walking in this area, how you can burn more calories with this activity, and more.

Details that influence the numbers

While many people would love to get a precise number that is exactly right, the number of calories you burn with activities like walking in place is hard to predict and measure correctly.

Especially who are working toward a goal like weight loss with a calorie counting method can be frustrated by this.

That being said, even if you can’t get the exact number, knowing a few details that influence the amounts of calories burned can help you get a better idea about the effectiveness of your workouts.

Here are a few details that influence how many calories you burn while walking in place:

  • Weight: The human body uses up energy measured in calories to function. Moving around more weight requires more energy which means burning more calories.
  • Body composition: Body composition comes down to the ratio of different tissues like fat and muscle in your body. Someone with muscle can weigh as much as someone with more fat. However, the body of the first person will likely use up slightly more calories.
  • Intensity: As you can tell when looking at the number of calories burned with different exercises, the intensity of your movements influences the energy used a lot. The same applies to different speeds of walking in place.

Most methods of estimating the numbers of calories burned with activities only take the intensity and body weight into account.

This is better than one general number but you want to remember that your reality is often different.

Estimations of calories burned walking in place

For more popular exercises there are MET values. These are basically numbers that indicate how intense a specific workout is. In turn, you can use this MET value in the following formula to calculate the number of calories burned.

You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

When it comes to walking in place, there is currently no MET. Luckily there is one study that measured the average number of calories burned when walking in place (1).

With this number, the average weight of the participants, and the MET formula above, you can then calculate an MET value for walking in place.

More specifically, this calculation results in an MET of 2.95 for walking in place. The first table below will give estimations of calories burned calculated with this MET for different body weights and workout durations.

After that, you can also see how walking in place compares to regular walking at different speeds in this area.

Something important to note again is that these numbers are estimations. The formula above does not include all details that do influence the number of calories you will burn in reality.

Lastly, on their own, the numbers may not mean much to you. To put them in perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contain around 87 calories (2).

Calories burned walking in place

As mentioned, things like your weight and how long you do the exercise influence the number of calories you burn by walking in place.

Unfortunately, the people from the study did not measure exactly how many steps were taken. The participants were told to step at a self-selected “moderate pace”.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
3 calories44 calories87 calories131 calories174 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
4 calories54 calories108 calories162 calories216 calories
185 Pounds
(83 kg)
4 calories64 calories129 calories193 calories258 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
5 calories75 calories150 calories225 calories300 calories
Table with calories burned by walking in place at moderate intensity

Does walking in place burn the same number of calories as walking?

Many people turn to walking in place because the regular version of this workout is not available. Unfortunately, walking and in place and walking are not the same in this area and others.

The estimations below imply that walking in place is similar to walking at a pace of 2.5 mph (4 kmh) in terms of burning calories.

Additionally, walking at 3 mph (4.8 kmh) which is a very average pace burns around 19% more calories than walking in place.

It also becomes clear that the intensity of your walking, no matter whether it is in place or outside, will influence the numbers a lot.

Exercise Type
Weight Person
In Place
(2.5 mph/4 kmh)
(3 mph/4.8 kmh)
(4 mph/6.4 kmh)
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
87 calories89 calories103 calories148 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
108 calories110 calories128 calories183 calories
185 Pounds
(83 kg)
129 calories131 calories153 calories219 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
150 calories152 calories178 calories254 calories
Calories burned 30 minutes walking in place vs regular walking

How to burn more calories while walking in place

The estimations above may make it look like the number of calories you burn while walking in place can not change. However, there are ways to make this workout more effective.

Most people are interested in getting more results in a shorter amount of time. If you do have extra time, walking in place for longer periods of time will generally burn more calories compared to doing nothing.

That aside, the first way to make walking in place more effective is to move at higher speeds.

Secondly, you can increase how much weight your body has to move. Both with equipment options like ankle weights or by building muscle with resistance training exercises outside of your sessions of walking in place.

Can you lose weight by walking in place?

Burning calories sounds and is nice but for most people, the end goal of this is losing some weight. More specifically body fat.

To make this happen you need to make sure that your body requires more energy than is coming in from food. At this point, your body turns to energy stores like body fat to get the remaining calories.

Since walking in place can help you burn more calories than usual, it can speed up weight loss results slightly or just get you to lose weight.

Something to note is that other lifestyle habits like what you eat play an important role in whether and how much weight you will use. You could often walk in place and still gain weight with suboptimal habits in other areas.

That aside, let’s say you keep your other lifestyle habits the same but start implementing more exercise sessions where you walk in place.

In that case, you can estimate how much weight you can lose. One pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000 calories).

30 minutes of walking in place a day can help a 155-pound (70 kg) person burn an extra 1080 calories in ten days. This is about 0.31 pounds (0.14 kg) of body fat.

30 days of the same routine would burn around 0.93 pounds (0.42 kg) of body fat. And so on…

Something you do want to keep in mind is that as you lose weight, your same routine will burn fewer calories. In turn, you will have to make more lifestyle changes to keep seeing results.

Is walking in place good exercise?

Compared to every single exercise out there, walking in place burns a relatively low number of calories. You can still consider this activity of its relatively unique benefits but in general, walking in place is not a very good exercise.

Even if you want to keep things low-impact and stay in the same location, there are a variety of cardio equipment options and intense bodyweight exercises that can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

Additionally, even if you plan to make walking in place your main form of exercise, it is typically smart to implement strength training exercises to build muscle in your routine.

The extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories throughout the day. Including during your cardiovascular workout sessions.

Lastly, if weight loss and health are your main goals, you also want to keep an eye on other lifestyle habits. These play important roles too.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.