Blog Weight Loss Calories Burned In 20,000 Steps: Is It Enough for Weight Loss?

Calories Burned In 20,000 Steps: Is It Enough for Weight Loss?

You’ve probably heard of the 10,000 steps a day rule; the viral fitness mantra that has been making rounds globally. But have you ever wondered what doubling that effort might mean for your health and weight loss goals? Enter the 20,000 steps a day challenge. This might sound like an astronomical figure, but it’s a threshold that offers significant rewards in terms of calorie burn. 

The number of calories you’ll torch in this process can be a game-changer for those seeking to shed pounds. However, the big question is, are 20,000 steps a day enough for weight loss? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It involves an understanding of calorie expenditure, dietary habits, and individual metabolic rates. Here’s what you need to know. 


Is 20k Steps a Workout?

Many fitness and health experts consider any form of sustained physical activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe harder to be a form of exercise. So yes, walking 20,000 steps a day definitely counts as physical activity.

Whether it is reasonable or not to use 20k steps as exercise largely depends on your current fitness level, lifestyle, and the amount of time you can devote to walking each day. 

For some, especially those who are already physically active or have occupations that require a lot of movement like mail carriers or waitstaff, reaching 20,000 steps should be achievable.

For others, particularly those with sedentary lifestyles or desk jobs, walking 20,000 steps a day could be quite challenging. It would require carving out several hours each day for walking, which might not be feasible for everyone due to time constraints or physical limitations.

Read More: A 21-Day Walking Plan For Fat Loss

How Many Calories Burn 20,000 Steps?

On average, walking 20,000 steps could burn between 800 to 1,000 calories. This figure can vary depending on factors like your pace, weight, and the terrain you walk on:

1. Weight

Your body weight has a significant impact on the number of calories burned. The more you weigh, the more energy (calories) it takes to move your body, so you’ll burn more calories compared to someone who weighs less.

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calories burned 20000 steps a day

2. Pace

The speed at which you walk can also affect calorie burn. Walking at a brisk pace or uphill requires more energy, burning more calories than walking slowly or on a flat surface.

3. Distance

The further you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. If you increase your distance, you’ll spend more time exercising, which leads to a higher total calorie burn.

4. Terrain

Walking on an uneven surface or incline is more challenging and burns more calories than walking on a flat surface.

5. Body Composition

Muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest. This means the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn during exercise.

6. Age and Sex

Age can affect your metabolism, with younger people typically burning more calories than older individuals. Men may also burn more calories than women, as they tend to have less body fat and a higher muscle mass (4).

7. Walking Technique

If you engage your core and use arm movements while walking, you could potentially  burn more calories compared to just walking without utilizing  these muscle groups.

Will I Lose Weight Walking 20,000 Steps a Day?

Walking 20,000 steps a day can indeed help you lose weight. It can be an effective way to increase your physical activity, boost your stamina, and improve your overall health (9). Walking this much daily will burn a significant number of calories, which can contributes to weight loss.

The number of calories burned depends on several factors such as your body weight, walking speed, and individual metabolism. 

For example, a person weighing 125 pounds and walking at a speed of 4 mph may burn around 135 calories, walking for 15 minutes. On the other hand, a 180-pound adult could burn approximately 189 calories walking at the same pace (1).

Bear in mind that weight loss isn’t just about burning calories through exercise; it also involves maintaining an overall calorie deficit. If you walk 20,000 steps a day but consume more calories than you burn, you might not see weight loss results.

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calories burned walking 20000 steps

Also, remember that everyone’s body responds differently to exercise. Some people might lose weight faster or slower than others, even when doing the same amount of physical activity. 

Absolutely, walking 20,000 steps a day can offer numerous health benefits beyond just weight loss:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Regular walking has shown to have favorable effects on cardiovascular health, including a potential reduction in cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Over time, these factors can also help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke (10).

Better Mood

Physical activity like walking can release endorphins, the body’s natural mood-boosting chemicals (6). This may  help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Enhanced Stamina and Energy

Regular walking can improve your physical stamina and endurance, and it can also boost your energy levels by improving circulation and oxygen supply to every cell in your body.

Increased Muscle Strength and Tone

Walking engages various muscle groups, including your legs, abdomen, and even arms if you swing them while walking. Over time, this could  lead to improved muscle strength and tone, especially if you also incorporate regular strength training in your routine

Increased Bone Density

Weight-bearing exercises like walking can help increase bone density and slow down bone loss, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures (8).

Improved Balance and Coordination

The act of walking requires coordination between various parts of the body, which can help improve your overall balance and coordination.

calories burned walking 20000 steps

Enhanced Brain Health

Regular physical activity can improve cognitive function, boost memory, and reduce the risk of developing dementia (3).

Better Sleep

Regular exercise like walking can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restful sleep (7).

Improved Digestion

Regular, brisk walking can help improve your digestive system and may  help alleviate constipation (2).

See also
Calories Burned Swimming 1 Mile: How to Paddle Your Way to a Fitter You

Read More: 16 Benefits Of Full-Body Workouts: What Can A Compound, Full-Body Workout Do For You?

20,000 Steps a Day Weight Loss: What to Expect

Walking 20,000 steps a day can be a significant lifestyle change, and the weight loss journey can be broken down into several stages:

The Beginning (Weeks 1-2)

This is often the most challenging part. You may feel a bit sore or tired as your body adjusts to the increased activity level. You might not see any immediate weight loss, but that doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made. Your body is building up stamina, and you’re establishing a routine.

Continued Progress (Weeks 3-6)

As you continue to walk 20,000 steps daily, you’ll start noticing improvements in your endurance and strength. You might also start seeing some weight loss, depending on your diet and metabolism. 

Remember, weight loss is typically slow and steady, so don’t be discouraged if the changes aren’t drastic.

Steady State (Weeks 7 onwards)

By now, walking 20,000 steps a day has become a part of your lifestyle. You’ll likely notice significant improvements in your physical fitness. 

You might have lost some weight, and perhaps your clothes are fitting better. You could also see improvements in your mood and sleep quality.

calories burned doing 20000 steps

Hitting Your Goal

The time it takes to reach your weight loss goal depends on many factors, including how much weight you want to lose, your diet, and your metabolic rate. It could take a few months to a year or more. Remember, slow and steady weight loss is more sustainable than rapid weight loss.

Beyond Your Goal

Once you’ve reached your weight loss goal, continuing your 20,000 steps a day habit should help you maintain your weight. It’s also beneficial for overall health, improving cardiovascular fitness, reducing stress, and boosting mood.

Does 20,000 Steps Build Muscle?

Walking 20,000 steps a day can indeed help build muscle, especially in your lower body.

Walking consistently will engage your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, providing a good workout for these muscles. It can also help strengthens your core, which includes the muscles used to stabilize your body as you walk.

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However, walking as a standalone workout may not be enough if your goal is significant muscle gain or bodybuilding. For this, resistance training and weight lifting are typically necessary to provide the stimulus needed for muscle growth (5).

How To Increase Calories Burned Walking 20,000 Steps?

There are several ways to increase the number of calories burned while walking 20,000 steps:

  • Increase Your Pace: Walking faster will require more energy and therefore burn more calories. If you usually walk at a leisurely pace, try picking up the speed.
  • Add Intervals: Incorporating short bursts of running or fast walking can significantly increase your calorie burn. These high-intensity intervals raise your heart rate, which helps burn more calories even when you return to your normal walking pace.
  • Choose Hilly Routes: Walking uphill adds resistance, making your body work harder and thus burning more calories. If there aren’t any natural hills in your area, you could use the incline setting on a treadmill.
  • Add Weight: Carrying extra weight, such as wearing a weighted vest or backpack, can increase the intensity of your walk and lead to a higher calorie burn
  • Use Your Arms: Actively swinging your arms while walking can engage the upper body and help burn more calories.
  • Monitor Your Heart Rate: Using a fitness watch to monitor your heart rate can help ensure you’re walking at an intensity that’s effective for burning calories.

calories burned doing 20000 steps

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is 25,000 Steps a Day Too Much?

A: Walking 25,000 steps a day is not too much as long as you’re not experiencing any pain or discomfort. 

While there isn’t a universally recommended number of steps to walk each day, 10,000 steps are often viewed as a standard target  for maintaining optimal health. However, walking 20,000 or even 30,000 steps a day can lead to significant improvements in health and fitness, and it can be an effective tool for weight loss.

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Walking such a high number of steps daily can be exhausting so it’s important to listen to your body. If you start to feel pain, it’s advisable to take a few days off and then start again slowly with fewer steps. It is also incredibly important to invest in a good pair of appropriate shoes to avoid injury.

Will I Lose Weight If I Walk 15,000 Steps a Day?

A: Walking 15,000 steps a day can be an effective way to lose weight. Depending on your diet and metabolism, you might start losing weight after just a few weeks. 

Walking 15,000 steps daily could l burn around 600-800 calories a day depending on your speed. Combined with a healthy diet, it can help you reach your weight loss goal (11).

How Do People Walk 20K Steps a Day?

A: Walking 20,000 steps a day can be challenging at first but it’s possible with practice and discipline. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Start small, even just 10-15 minutes of walking a day is beneficial. Gradually increase your time and distance as you get used to the routine.
  • Break up your walk into several short sessions throughout the day, if possible.
  • Walk with a friend or pet to make it more fun and motivational.
  • Use a step tracker to count your steps and set goals. 
  • Eat nutritious food that provides energy for walking, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. 
  • Make sure you stay hydrated while walking. 
  • Make time for rest and recovery, so your body can repair itself from the physical stress of 20K steps a day. 

The Bottom Line

Walking 20,000 steps a day can be an effective way to get in shape, lose weight, and improve overall health. While it may seem like a daunting task at first, you can gradually build up your walking routine until you reach 20,000 steps. 

Coupled with a healthy diet, regular walking can help you reach your weight loss goal and improve your physical and mental well-being, even at lower distances or duration.BetterMe


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities – Harvard Health (
  2. Effects of a proposed physical activity and diet control to manage constipation in middle-aged obese women (2017,
  3. Physical Exercise as a Preventive or Disease-Modifying Treatment of Dementia and Brain Aging (2011,
  4. Sex Differences in Energy Metabolism Need to Be Considered with Lifestyle Modifications in Humans (201,
  5. Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier (2023,
  6. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed (2004,
  7. The bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep: Implications for exercise adherence and sleep improvement (2015,
  8. The volume of brisk walking is the key determinant of BMD improvement in premenopausal women (2022,
  9. Walking for health and fitness (1988,
  10. Walking – the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention (2010,
  11. Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies – Weight Management (2004,
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