Walking is totally underrated. It consistently gets outshined by jogging, HIIT workouts, boxing, the Stairmaster, and other high-intensity workouts. Sure, it may not give you as big of a calorie-burn as other forms of cardio, but it still has a plethora of benefits that make it a fitness all-star. We’re breaking down the benefits of getting out and getting that daily brisk walk in, plus eight ways to amp things up and burn calories while walking.
The Benefits of Walking
- Improves your cardiovascular health
- Lowers your blood sugar and reduces your risk for diabetes
- Is low-impact and easy on the joints
- Alleviates tight muscles and joint pain
- Boosts your immune function
- Improves your energy and productivity levels
- Is weight-bearing and increases your bone density
- Lifts your mood
- Burns fat
- Gets your creative juices flowing
And it’s definitely making a comeback. Walking is #trending during this time where you may not be able to use your favorite gym cardio equipment, are walking the dog (or kids) more frequently, and/or need to alleviate some cabin fever.
If the idea of strolling to the sound of birds chirping isn’t quite your idea of a workout, we get it. That’s why we’ve put together a list of eight ways you can turn a leisurely stroll into a calorie-torching break in your day.
8 Ways to Burn Some Serious Cals While Walking
#1 Head For The Hills
The number one way to increase your effort while walking is to find some incline. Climbing a hill will send your heart rate (and overall calorie burn) sky-rocketing and also give you some added glute and hamstring toning.
#2 Make it Brisk
The faster you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. Find a routine (or distance) you can repeat regularly. Find out how long it takes you to complete the route. Then, try and beat that speed every time after that when you want an extra challenge.
#3 Sneak in a Little Strength
Add some walking lunges, froggy jumps, and side steps to get your heart rate up and add some extra muscle sculpting to your walk. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. You can also find a park bench or some grass to stop and do some push-ups, (jump) squats, mountain climbers, burpees, step-ups, or any other strength activity you feel like.
#4 Listen to Music
Listening to upbeat music has been proven to make people walk faster without even realizing, resulting in a greater overall calorie burn.
#5 Don’t Let Your Legs Get All the Glory
Adding a little arm pump to your walk helps increase your speed and your heart rate. Don’t be shy — let those arms fly.
#6 Add in Intervals
Just like you would during a HIIT workout or run, challenge yourself to walk as fast as you possibly can for a short distance and then slow down to recover for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat at least ten times to create an afterburn effect where you’ll burn extra calories for up to 24 hours.
#7 Activate Muscle-mind Connection
Focus on pushing off the balls of your feet, squeezing your glutes, and engaging your hamstring every time you step. The more muscles you can activate on each stride, the more effort (or calories) your body will use.
#8 Top it Off With a Stretch
Prep your muscles for your next workout and end your walk with a stretch. Stretching is key to help release any muscle tension, reduce your chance of injury, improve your posture, manage stress, promote circulation and enable your muscles to work more effectively.
Need a little guidance? These three FitOn stretch routines are perfect post-walk:
- 12-minute Anytime Stretch with Sydney Benner
A gentle head-to-toe stretch that you can do anytime. You’ll feel a release in muscles you didn’t even know were tight with this one!
- 13-minute Feel Good Stretch with Danielle Pascente
Give tight muscles some extra love with stretches like neck bends, chest openers, and runner’s lunge.
- 6-minute Morning Stretch with JVN
Get ready for a fabulous day with this quick full-body stretch. Release tension in your legs, hips, back, and shoulders and activate your core to prepare yourself for success.
Live Your Best Life and Add Walking to Your Routine
There’s nothing like coming back from a solid walk with a fresh perspective, ready to tackle a productive day or wind down afterward before settling in for a cozy evening.
Let’s give walking it’s much deserved moment of glory and burn some extra calories while we’re at it.