10 Ways to Burn More Calories During Every Walk, Trainers Say
Walking might just be the perfect workout. You can do it practically anywhere, it doesn't cost a dime, and people of all fitness levels can take it up with no special training or equipment required.
However, if you're trying to lose weight, those casual strolls around your neighborhood may not cut it. That's why we've asked personal trainers to provide their top tips for burning more calories while walking, helping you reach your fitness goals faster.
Read on to discover how to boost your calorie burn on every walk. And for more great ways to slim down, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Use weighted gear
If you want to increase your calorie burn while walking without making major changes to your pace or route, try putting on some weighted gear before you head out the door.
"Walk with ankle weights or a weighted vest, which are designed to take your workouts up a notch and will help you build lean muscle mass, increase calorie burn, and build strength," suggests elite trainer and sports nutrition specialist Tibor Deme, founder of LifeBoostFit, LLC.
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Find an incline route
Walking a flat path may be easy, but if you want to burn calories, an incline route is the way to go.
"Walking hills will definitely burn more calories," says Oremie Bidwell, a level 3 advanced personal trainer with The Gym West Hampstead. "The steeper the better, but of course ease into it gently if you are not used to it," Bidwell recommends.
Increase your walking time
While it may seem simple, just adding a few minutes to your walk each day will ramp up your calorie burn at every workout. Even if you're new to walking, you can build up your workout stamina over time.
"Start gently and work up to an hourlong walk," suggests Bidwell.
If you're looking to boost your calorie burn with every step, power walking is one of the best ways to increase your fat-torching potential.
"Power walking instead of just walking will burn more calories and increase metabolism to burn more calories at rest," says Bidwell. "Increase walking speed to power walk, driving forward with arms as well as legs."
Wear a backpack
Even if you don't have a weighted vest or ankle weights at home, simply putting on a heavy backpack can help boost your calorie burn.
"Put some books or small items in it to increase the overall weight of your body. When you weigh more, it takes more muscle activation to propel you forward, burning more calories," says Nicholas Rolnick, DPT, MS, CSCS, a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Mix up your gait
You don't need to be an avid sprinter to burn more calories when you walk—simply varying your pace can help.
"Break up your walks with intermittent running or jogging," suggests trainer Briana Williams, ISSA CPT, a USATF run coach and founder of Briana Williams Coaching. "For example, walk for four minutes, then run for one to four minutes at a high effort level. Repeat this three to eight times. This strategy will help you burn more calories when walking in less time."
Don't support yourself on handrails
"Walk both at an incline and without holding on. Walking at an incline increases exertion output, however, by not holding on, it forces your lower body muscles to truly activate. This allows you to rely on your body for support instead of the handrails," Hart explains.
Pump your arms
Your legs aren't the only body part that can help you boost your calorie burn while walking—pumping your arms can increase your fat-burning potential, too.
"You might feel like you look silly, but it will increase your heart rate. Adding your arms increases muscle activation," says trainer Erin Mahoney, MA, CPT, founder of EMAC Certifications.
Play up-tempo music
Something as simple as switching up the music you listen to during your walk could be the key to unlocking a greater calorie burn.
"Play music with higher beats per minute," suggests Mahoney. "Your body will naturally try to keep pace with the music you listen to."
Tense your muscles
While walking may help loosen up your body after a long day of sitting at a desk, tensing your muscles while doing it can help you get a better calorie burn.
"Studies show that even thinking about contracting a muscle will contract it on a microscopic level. So, as you're walking, think about pulling back your shoulders (shoulder retraction), engaging your core (pulling the navel into the spine), and engaging the glutes with each step and hip extension," suggests Mahoney.
And for more great ways to slim down, check out The 30-Second Trick for Losing More Weight While Walking.
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