How Many Calories Does Step Aerobics Burn?

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Step aerobics is not always the top choice but does involve intense movements. Find out how many calories this burns.

Some rough estimations are that the average person will burn around 167 to 288 calories while doing 20 minutes of step aerobics at a moderate pace.

While these numbers do give you an idea, your actual results will likely vary due to differences in body weight, exact step aerobics intensity, step height, body composition, etc.

This article will also go over more in-depth estimations for different body weights, how many calories different step heights burn, and how to get more results from step aerobics workouts.

Biggest factors in calories burned with step aerobics

Unfortunately, it is hard to make accurate predictions about how many calories someone will burn with step aerobics. This makes things like balancing your food intake more challenging to do.

At the same time, you can still make your estimations somewhat better. For example, by taking the factors that influence the number of calories burned during step aerobics a lot into account.

You can also make your step aerobics workouts more effective in terms of calorie-burning with these factors. A few of them include:

  • Body weight: Your body needs to burn calories to be able to move around. Heavier people tend to burn up more calories for the same movements.
  • Step aerobics intensity: Something else that makes your movements burn more calories is doing them faster. Doing step aerobics at a faster pace will offer more results per minute.
  • Height of your step: You can do step aerobics with benches or steps of different heights. At first, this may not look like much. However, 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.
  • Body composition: The human body is made up of different tissues. This is relevant because an amount of body fat tends to burn fewer calories during step aerobics than the same weight in muscle mass.

Hidden calorie burning from step aerobics

Estimating the results of your step aerobics workouts becomes even more complicated when you learn that these are not necessarily limited to during your exercise sessions.

More specifically, if your step aerobics workouts get intense enough, you could get an additional afterburn effect.

This is where you burn more calories for some amount of time after you stop working out (typically not more than 72 hours).

This afterburn effect will not make the biggest difference but the small amounts do add up.

Additionally, step aerobics can influence the levels of a variety of hormones that in turn can make it easier to burn calories.

These things are worth noting because the calorie-burning estimations for step aerobics typically don’t include them.

Chart of step aerobics calorie-burning estimations

The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention notes you can burn more than 7 calories per minute with step aerobics (1). Luckily, there are ways to make more precise estimations for different body weights.

There are numbers called MET values that estimate (or measure if there are studies) how physically intense certain workouts are.

You can then use the MET values for something like step aerobics in the formula below to get an idea of how many calories it burns.

Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

You may notice that this MET formula is oversimplified. Due to the lack of many details that do influence the number of calories you burn, the estimations will be far from perfect.

That aside, one source mentions step aerobics METs ranging 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 find the results of applying the MET of general step aerobics to different body weights and time intervals in the first table below.

After that, you can find a table comparing the calorie-burning estimations for doing step aerobics with different step heights.

Calories burned with step aerobics per time interval

You likely don’t want to count your steps during an intense step aerobics session.

Instead, looking at how many calories step aerobics burns per time intervals can be a helpful way to estimate your results.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
8 calories126 calories251 calories377 calories502 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
10 calories156 calories311 calories467 calories623 calories
185 Pounds
(84 kg)
12 calories186 calories372 calories557 calories743 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
14 calories216 calories432 calories648 calories863 calories
Chart of calories burned with general step aerobics

Calories burned with step aerobics per step height

You may also wonder whether the extra effort of using a higher step is worth it.

In the table below, you can find rough estimations for the number of calories burned during 30 minutes of step aerobics with different step heights.

Step Height
Weight Person
Step Aerobics
(4-Inch Step)
Step Aerobics
(6-8-Inch Step)
Step Aerobics
(10-12-Inch Step)
125 Pounds (56 kg)162 calories221 calories281 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)201 calories275 calories348 calories
185 Pounds (84 kg)240 calories328 calories415 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)279 calories381 calories483 calories
Chart of calories burned per 30 minutes of step aerobics per step height

Ways to burn more calories with step aerobics

By now, you likely understand that you can make your step aerobics burn more calories per minute. There are a few ways to do this.

First of all, you can increase the speed of your step aerobics movements. You can also choose more intense step aerobics moves.

These things can even result in the extra calorie burning of the afterburn effect mentioned.

Next, you can also make it so your body has to move more weight during your step aerobics workouts.

One way to do this is using step aerobics equipment like a weighted vest or light dumbbells.

However, you could also build muscle mass with resistance training exercises outside of your step aerobics sessions. This will help you burn more calories throughout the entire day.

Lastly, if your body can deal with it, you can also do longer and more step aerobics workouts. This tends to increase the number of calories you burn.

How long does it take to see results from step aerobics?

All the numbers above look nice but you likely want to know what weight loss results you can expect from step aerobics.

And while step aerobics can help you lose weight, you need to know that your habits in areas like your diet also need to be good enough to achieve this goal.

That aside, you can temporarily assume all the extra calories you burn with step aerobics come from fat (even though this will likely not be the case).

A 185-pound (84 kg) person burns about 744 calories or about 0.21 pounds (0.09 kg) while doing three 20-minute step aerobics workouts in a week.

If this same person implements this step aerobics routine for a month (4 weeks), they will burn an extra 2976 calories or about 0.85 pounds (0.37 kg).

It is important to keep in mind that as you lose weight, your step aerobics sessions will start to burn fewer calories. Unless you make more modifications to your workouts.

Is step aerobics good for burning calories?

While there are some better options too, you can definitely say that step aerobics is good for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

Something that positively stands out in step aerobics is that many people enjoy doing it.

This can make it easier to stay consistent. If you do the calculations with the numbers above, you will notice this can really make a difference in the long term.

If you are serious about burning calories with step aerobics it is likely also a good idea to build some muscle mass with resistance training exercises.

This will make both step aerobics and the rest of your day burn more energy than usual.

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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.