7 Fun Ways to Burn More Calories On Your Walk

Monday Nov 10 | BY |
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Walking is great exercise no matter how you do it, but you can up your calorie burn with these tips.

If you weigh about 160 pounds and you walk at a pace of about three miles per hour (20 minutes per mile) for 30 minutes, you’ll burn about 124 calories.

Not a lot.

What if you’d like to burn more, but you’re not into jogging? There are the standard ways you probably already know about:

  • Walk for a longer period of time.
  • Walk up a hill.
  • Walk faster.
  • Pump your arms.
  • Use walking poles.

There are other ways, too, though—potentially more enjoyable ways—that can also help you get more out of your walk. Try these out and see if your calorie count goes up!

  1. Walk outside. It’s harder to do when the weather turns colder, but it will force your body to adapt. Treadmills are wonderful inventions, but that flat belt doesn’t change. Outside, you’re encountering uneven terrain, obstacles, different ground cover, and more. The changes translate into more calories burned. In studies comparing treadmill exercise to exercise outside, scientists found that those on the treadmill used less energy to cover the same distance than those going outside. Plus the scenery will often lure you into walking faster and longer. If it’s cold outside, see our post for tips on how to stay warm.
  2. Walk with a friend. When you exercise with a friend, you will lose more weight. A 2009 study found that those who worked with a partner lost more weight than those who worked alone. A later 2013 study found that women who exercised with friends burned more calories and exercised longer than those who didn’t. A friend will keep you motivated to go out even on those days you don’t feel like it. You can also play games, like racing toward a landmark or taking turns picking the next go-to object.
  3. Keep track. There’s nothing like a hard and solid number in front of you to tell you how you’re doing. It also gives you a baseline so you can set goals for improvement. Get a pedometer and clock your steps, then try to increase them the next day. Try a fitness band (more on these here) to track calories burned. Up your workout every couple weeks.
  4. Mix it up. Remember when you were a kid and your parents/teachers yelled at you to “walk!” Children have a hard time just walking. They’re always jumping, skipping, sidestepping, twirling, etc. When was the last time you skipped down the road, or walked backwards? How about balancing on the curb, bouncing on the balls of your feet, or taking your jump rope with you for a few turns? Reclaim your youth by moving like you did when you were a kid—or as close to it as you can—and you’re likely to burn more calories.
  5. Walk to music. Put on your favorite upbeat tunes and you’ll go faster. It’s just how it works. Studies show that music “distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency” (according to Ferris Jabr in Scientific American). Music helps you go longer, farther, and faster than you otherwise would, and is so potent experts have called it a legal performance-enhancing drug. Take those tunes with you!
  6. Vary your route. Once you start getting bored with your walk, you’re bound to slow down your calorie burn. Your body adapts to the routine and performs it more efficiently, which means less work. You’ll also be less motivated to stay with your exercise habit. Change your route every week if you can. Go somewhere different. Take yourself off the beaten path and up into the hills. Take your usual route backwards. Bring a different friend along. Anything to ward off that dreaded sameness.
  7. Use intervals. You’ve probably heard of interval training—the idea of stepping up your exertion and then pulling back. You can apply this to your walk. Take a watch with you, and speed up for one minute, then go back to your regular pace for 2-3 minutes. You can also use landmarks like telephone poles—walk faster up to the next one, then at your regular pace again.

Do you have other ways to rev up your walk? Please share them with our readers.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com


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  1. Anne Kim says:

    I don’t like going to the gym except to take a class or swim. The gym represents exercise for exercise sake, which I prefer not to engage in. My preference is to walk several times a week, so I appreciate your suggestions especially in terms of getting my arms involved and having variety. You mention of kid-like play reminds me of how I felt when I skipped down the hall years ago, skipping for the first time in decades. It felt wonderful. I bounded high in the air; I covered a lot of ground; and it felt great. I will remember to incorporate your suggestions more andmore. Thank you for this post and for your work. Anne

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