Step aerobics is a well-known exercise to get in some extra movement. It certainly offers a fun workout but how many calories does step aerobics burn?
Step aerobics is a type of workout where you do sequences of steps on and off a raised platform, usually with music in the background. They are a convenient way to work out a wide variety of muscles at home.
While the exact number of calories burned with step aerobics varies from individual to individual, the average person can expect to burn around 123-216 calories per 15 minutes of step aerobics at a general tempo during the workout.
This article will also show you a more detailed chart that takes multiple factors into account, calories burned with different step heights and ways to increase the number of calories burned with step aerobics.
Biggest factors in calories burned with step aerobics
A fact that many people find annoying is that the number of calories you burn while doing something like step aerobics is hard to predict correctly. This fact can make things like weight loss feel like a guessing game.
Even so, good estimations can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate.
Some of the biggest factors that influence how many calories you burn with step aerobics include:
- Weight: To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more you weigh, the more energy you need to fuel movement.
- Body composition: Body composition is how much of your body weight is made up of different tissue. Two people can weigh the same but for one individual most of the weight can come from fat while the second individual has a lot of muscle. The reason that is important is that the same weight of muscle requires more energy than that weight in fat.
- Intensity: If you’re looking at calories burned per minute of step aerobics this can vary a lot by moving your body at a fast vs slow speed.
- Height of your step: You can do step aerobics with benches or steps of different heights. At first this may not look like much but once you realize how many times you will step on and off, it becomes clear that the height of the step can make a big difference in how many calories you burn.
- Step aerobics moves: There are different step aerobics moves you can do during your workout. Some even require you to use small dumbbells. Which moves you choose influences how many calories you burn.
Hidden calorie burning from step aerobics
There is something else that makes it even harder to put how many calories you burn with step aerobics into an exact number. The calorie-burning effects of step aerobics are not limited to during the workout.
As mentioned, how much you weigh plays a relatively big role in how many calories you burn. This doesn’t just apply to your workout, this is also the case during everyday activities.
Chances are that by doing step aerobics you also build some muscle mass. This extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out. It is however extremely hard to put this amount into a number.
Doing a workout at high intensity can also cause something called “afterburn”. This is basically having an increased metabolism for a while after you stop doing the exercise.
Estimations for calories burned with step aerobics usually don’t take into account these long-term effects.
Chart of step aerobics calorie-burning estimations
The centers for disease control and prevention simplifies the number of calories burned with step aerobics into more than 7 calories per minute (1). In reality there are tools to make more precise estimations.
To calculate calories burned during certain exercises more specifically you can use a formula with MET values. A MET value is an exercise-specific value to indicate how intense a specific type of workout is.
You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
Estimations for METs while doing step aerobics depend a lot on step aerobics intensity but vary from 5.5 at step aerobics with a 4-inch step to 9.5 at step aerobics with a 10-12-inch step (2).
You can look at the number of calories burned with step aerobics from different perspectives. Below you can find charts about calories burned with general step aerobics per time interval and the difference in calories burned between different step heights.
Again keep in mind that these are estimations. This formula doesn’t take into account certain factors that do influence calories burned with step aerobics.
To put these estimations into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (3).
Calories burned with step aerobics per time interval
One of the most convenient ways to see how many calories you burned while doing step aerobics is by looking at how much time you spent doing it.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||8 calories||126 calories||251 calories||377 calories||502 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||10 calories||156 calories||311 calories||467 calories||623 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||12 calories||186 calories||372 calories||557 calories||743 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||14 calories||216 calories||432 calories||648 calories||863 calories|
Calories burned with step aerobics per step height
Next there is the chart for calories burned while doing step aerobics with different step heights. These numbers are when doing step aerobics for 30 minutes.
|Step Aerobics |
|Step Aerobics |
|Step Aerobics |
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||162 calories||221 calories||281 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||201 calories||275 calories||348 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||240 calories||328 calories||415 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||279 calories||381 calories||483 calories|
Ways to burn more calories with step aerobics
The number of calories burned with step aerobics is certainly not something set in stone. There are a few ways you can increase this amount per time interval.
The challenge for most people is fitting in workouts in their busy schedules. They want to burn as many calories in the least amount of time, which means burning more calories per minute of step aerobics.
If you do have more time, spending more time doing step aerobics will generally burn more calories although at some point overtraining may cause the reverse.
A more obvious way to burn more calories with step aerobics is doing it at a higher intensity by speeding up your movement. You can also choose more intense step aerobics moves. At some intensity point, you also get the added afterburn effect.
A second way to burn more calories with step aerobics is by making the weight you have to carry around heavier. You can do this by for example wearing a heavy backpack, weighted vest, or even better building some extra muscle mass.
How long does it take to see results from step aerobics?
One pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000). How long it takes to see weight loss results from step aerobics will also depend on the number of calories in your diet.
One person might eat more than the other. This might make it so they need to exercise longer or more intense to see the same weight loss results. You can even lose weight without exercising so there are many factors that influence it.
15 minutes of step aerobics a day could help you burn an extra 1560 calories in 10 days which is about 0.45 pounds of body fat. 30 days 3300 calories and so on…
Keep in mind that losing weight too fast can be harmful. In general, a 500 calorie deficit per day is considered to be a healthy weight loss rate.
Should you do step aerobics for calorie burning?
Step aerobics can be a good workout choice to burn a lot of calories. That being said there are also other workouts that can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
One benefit step aerobics does have is that many people consider it to be a fun way to get in some extra movement. Consistency is a big factor when trying to burn a lot of calories. The difference between two vs three workouts every week makes a big difference in the long-term.
If calorie burning is your main goal and you do decide to implement more step aerobics, it may also be smart to implement some exercises in your schedule specifically for building muscle on top of your step aerobics workouts. The extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out, including during your step aerobics sessions.
Keep in mind that the things you eat stay important no matter what exercise routine you’re following. It’s hard to out-exercise a bad diet.