Step into a world of endless possibilities with the simple act of walking. More than just a casual stroll, walking is a powerful and accessible exercise that holds the incredible potential to burn calories and transform your overall fitness. Whether you aspire to shed unwanted pounds, maintain a healthy weight, or elevate your cardiovascular health, walking can be the game-changer you’ve been searching for.
This article will delve into how to burn more calories walking with practical tips and techniques to help you optimize your walking routine and increase the calories you burn with every stride. So lace up your walking shoes and get ready to unlock the secrets to a refreshing and calorie-torching walking experience.
Why Is Walking Important?
Walking is of paramount importance due to its wide-ranging benefits that positively impact various aspects of your life. First and foremost, it significantly contributes to your physical health. As a low-impact aerobic exercise, walking engages different muscle groups, enhances cardiovascular health, and improves flexibility and balance. It promotes strong bones, joints, and muscles, reducing the risk of chronic illnesses and ensuring a longer, healthier life.
One of the most compelling aspects of walking is its accessibility. It requires no special equipment or facilities, making it a simple and inclusive form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. This universality ensures that almost anyone can engage in walking and enjoy its benefits, regardless of physical abilities.
Beyond personal benefits, walking also has a broader positive impact on the environment. It’s a green mode of transport that produces no harmful emissions. By choosing to walk for shorter journeys instead of driving, you can contribute to reducing carbon emissions, air pollution, and traffic congestion, promoting a healthier and more sustainable environment.
Walking For Fat Loss
Walking offers two distinct ways to promote fat burning and lead to overall well-being.
Firstly, walking at a fast and vigorous pace enables your body to utilize stored fat for energy, making it an effective exercise for burning calories. Secondly, the duration of your walk plays a pivotal role in fat burning – the longer you walk, the more fat your body utilizes instead of relying on sugars for short bursts of activity.
It is worth noting that any kind of exercise can help you burn calories, but brisk walking and other aerobic workouts are especially good for burning visceral fat, which is the fat that builds up inside your belly. This fat makes your waist bigger, making you more likely to get diabetes and heart disease1.
Beyond its fat-burning potential, walking provides a plethora of benefits that enrich both body and mind. Engaging in regular walks contributes to better heart health, better performance and recovery, more energy, creativity, productivity, and happiness. Furthermore, studies have also shown that walking can help people lose weight2,3, making it a valuable activity for those seeking to shed excess pounds.
Health Benefits Of Walking
Walking proves to be an excellent exercise choice, whether your goal is weight loss, better health, or incorporating a low-intensity workout into your routine. Here are the health benefits that walking can give you:
Strengthens The Heart
Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can cut your chance of coronary heart disease by about 19%. And your risk may go down even more if you move longer or farther every day4.
Lower Your Blood Sugar
Post-meal walking may reduce blood sugar. According to small research, a 15-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and supper improved blood sugar levels more than a 45-minute walk at another time5.
Eases Joint Pain
Walking benefits knees and hips by lubricating and strengthening joint-supporting muscles. It may reduce arthritis pain and can even help prevent arthritis when done regularly, covering about 5-6 miles per week.
Boosts Immune Function
Walking may minimize cold and flu risk. A flu study followed 1,000 adults and found that walking moderately for 30–45 minutes daily reduced ill days and upper respiratory tract infections by 43%6.
Boost Your Energy
Walking can offer a natural energy boost that rivals coffee. By improving oxygenation and increasing the levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in your body, walking activates hormones that enhance your energy levels.
Improves Your Mood
Walking enhances mental well-being by reducing anxiety, despair, and negative mood, as supported by research. It also boosts self-esteem and reduces social disengagement. For these benefits, walking for 30 minutes three times a week, or even three 10-minute walks, can be effective7.
May Extend Your Life
If you walk faster, you might live longer. Researchers found that if you walk at a normal pace instead of a slow pace, you’re 20% less likely to die overall8.
Tones Your Legs
Walking builds leg muscles, especially when walking uphill or on a treadmill. Utilizing stairs, alternating between walking, biking, or jogging, can further enhance leg strength. Additionally, exercises like squats, lunges, and leg curls effectively tone and strengthen leg muscles.
Walking can cleanse your mind and inspire creativity. Studies comparing walking and sitting for idea generation found that walking, particularly outdoors, significantly boosted participants’ creativity9.
Walking, especially at a brisk pace, can help burn calories and, in combination with a healthy diet, support weight loss or maintenance.
By engaging in at least 150 minutes of walking each week (approximately 22 minutes per day) and incorporating other daily activities, you can effectively maintain your current weight. This is particularly significant as people typically gain 0.5 to 0.8 kg (1.1 to 1.8 pounds) annually10,11..
Walking proves to be an accessible and essential activity to support both physical and mental well-being, leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life.
How To Burn More Calories Walking
Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just starting your wellness journey, these tips will help you make the most of your walks and stay on track toward a healthier, more active lifestyle. Here are the things that you need to know to burn more calories walking:
Add An Incline
Boost your walks by adding an incline. Walking uphill not only burns calories but also elevates your heart rate, as supported by research. This form of exercise effectively tones your glutes and hamstrings, making it an excellent way to challenge and enhance your walking routine12,13.
Make It Brisk
Boost calorie burn with brisk walks. Measure your preferred exercise or distance’s time and challenge yourself to surpass it for an invigorating experience. Picking up the pace adds intensity, offering greater health benefits and a more significant walking challenge.
Sneak In A Little Strength
Walking lunges, froggy jumps, and side steps enhance heart rate and muscle work. Muscles burn more calories. Push-ups, (jump) squats, mountain climbers, burpees, step-ups, and other strength-building exercises can be done on a park seat or grass.
Make It A Full Body Movement
Don’t give all the credit to your legs. By pumping your arms while you walk, you can speed up and get your heart rate up. Don’t be shy, and let your arms go.
Focus On Your Form
Engage your core and use your arms while walking. Good form can increase the intensity of your walk.
Use Fitness Walking Poles
Nordic walking, which involves walking with poles, can increase your heart rate and calorie burn.
Incorporate Obstacle Courses
If you have the opportunity, using obstacle courses can uniquely challenge your walks. They can significantly increase your exertion levels, helping to burn more calories.
Walk as rapidly as you can for a short distance and then slow down for 15 to 30 seconds to recuperate. For 24-hour “afterburn,” repeat at least ten times of it. Walking at varying speeds burns 20% more calories than walking at one speed, according to research14.
Activate Muscle-mind Connection
Deliberate movements activate muscles for more calorie burn during walking. Focus on engaging specific muscles with each step for better results.
Compete with a friend. Walk many miles per week. Having a strategy and a friend to hold you responsible may help you burn more calories by increasing your steps and workout intensity.
Walk Longer Distances
As mentioned, the further you walk, the more calories you will burn. Try increasing your walking time each week by 5 minutes or so until you’re walking as long as desired.
Track Your Steps
Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to monitor your progress and try to beat your own record.
Regular walking, like all exercise, will help burn calories and improve overall fitness.
Top It Off With A Stretch
Stretch at the end of your walk to get your muscles ready for your next workout. Stretching is the best way to relieve muscle tightness, lower your risk of injury, improve your posture, deal with stress, increase blood flow, and improve your muscles.
Walking is an accessible and effective exercise with numerous benefits. It aids in weight loss, cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, and strengthens muscles. Additionally, walking improves mental well-being, reduces stress, and enhances cognitive function. It also contributes to environmental health by reducing carbon emissions and traffic congestion.
To maximize calorie burn, consider adding an incline, walking briskly, and incorporating strength exercises. Using fitness walking poles, focusing on form, and adding intervals can further enhance the benefits. Being competitive, walking longer distances, tracking steps, staying consistent, and stretching at the end are additional recommendations for optimal results.
Remember, diet is crucial for weight loss, and when combined with walking, it becomes a powerful tool for health improvement and weight management.
1 Bairapareddy KC, Maiya AG, Kumar P, Nayak K, Guddattu V, Nayak V. Effect of aerobic exercise on echocardiographic epicardial adipose tissue thickness in overweight individuals. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2018;11:303-312 https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S145862
2 Hong HR, Jeong JO, Kong JY, Lee SH, Yang SH, Ha CD, Kang HS. Effect of walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2014 Sep;18(3):277-85. doi: 10.5717/jenb.2014.18.3.277. Epub 2014 Sep 10. PMID: 25566464; PMCID: PMC4241903.
3 Murtagh EM, Murphy MH, Boone-Heinonen J. Walking: the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2010 Sep;25(5):490-6. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0b013e32833ce972. PMID: 20625280; PMCID: PMC3098122.
4 Zheng H, Orsini N, Amin J, Wolk A, Nguyen VT, Ehrlich F. Quantifying the dose-response of walking in reducing coronary heart disease risk: meta-analysis. Eur J Epidemiol. 2009;24(4):181-92. doi: 10.1007/s10654-009-9328-9. Epub 2009 Mar 22. PMID: 19306107.
5 Loretta DiPietro, Andrei Gribok, Michelle S. Stevens, Larry F. Hamm, William Rumpler; Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Diabetes Care 1 October 2013; 36 (10): 3262–3268. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc13-0084
8 Stamatakis E, Kelly P, Strain T, et alSelf-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohortsBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:761-768.
9 Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 1142–1152. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036577
10 Trolle Lagerros Y. Aerob fysisk aktivitet och kostråd förordas vid fetma och övervikt [Aerobic physical activity and dietary advice advocated in obesity and overweight]. Lakartidningen. 2015 Nov 17;112:DRAL. Swedish. PMID: 26574810.
11 Jakicic JM, Powell KE, Campbell WW, Dipietro L, Pate RR, Pescatello LS, Collins KA, Bloodgood B, Piercy KL; 2018 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE*. Physical Activity and the Prevention of Weight Gain in Adults: A Systematic Review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jun;51(6):1262-1269. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001938. PMID: 31095083; PMCID: PMC6527311.
12 Silder A, Besier T, Delp SL. Predicting the metabolic cost of incline walking from muscle activity and walking mechanics. J Biomech. 2012 Jun 26;45(10):1842-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.03.032. Epub 2012 May 11. PMID: 22578744; PMCID: PMC4504736.