If you think you can’t torch some major calories with a walking workout, think again. Although walking is consistently outshined by jogging, strength training, and HIIT workouts, walking deserves a permanent spot in the spotlight. 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. Plus, it’s easy to add to any fitness routine and can be incorporated anytime, anywhere. While there’s nothing wrong with a leisurely stroll, we’re breaking down ten ways to maximize your workout and amp up calorie burn while walking.
RELATED: What You Need to Know About Walking For Fitness
The Benefits of Walking
Whether you’re trying to reach your weight loss goals, improve your health, or find a low-intensity workout to incorporate into your fitness routine, look to walking for exercise.
The benefits of walking include: Improved cardiovascular health, improved performance and recovery, improved energy, productivity, and creativity, and enhanced mood. Walking has also been shown to support weight loss efforts.
The best part? Walking is one of the easiest ways to add a little extra movement into your day, and it can be performed anywhere, anytime. All you need is a pair of sneakers and a little motivation.
While getting in extra steps can be a casual addition to your day, you can also make it more intentional and maximize the burn. That’s why we’ve put together a list of ten ways you can turn a leisurely stroll into a calorie-torching workout.
RELATED: The Amazing Benefits of Walking
10 Ways to Burn More Calories While Walking
#1 Add An Incline
Do you really want to get your heart pounding and torch some major calories? The number one way to increase your effort while walking is to find some incline. According to research, climbing a hill will send your heart rate (and overall calorie burn) sky-rocketing. Plus, incline workouts activate your glutes and hamstrings, giving you some added 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 muscles you activate, 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 it, resulting in a greater overall calorie burn. And in addition to blasting calories, research suggests jamming out to music can improve performance, endurance, coordination, and motivation!
#5 Make It A Full Body Movement
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. Research shows walking at various speeds burns up to 20% more calories than keeping a consistent pace!
#7 Activate Muscle-mind Connection
Did you know that you can get more out of your workout just by being intentional with your movements? 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.
RELATED: Combining Mindfulness with Exercise: What You Need to Know
#8 Get Competitive
Grab a partner and add a little friendly competition into the equation. Challenge each other to walk a certain amount of steps or miles per week! Having an accountability buddy and a goal might motivate you to ramp up your steps and intensity and burn some extra calories in the process.
#9 Download the FitOn App
Speaking of motivation, download the FitOn App and find walking workouts that will inspire you to lace up your sneakers and get moving! Get started with this Walking Fitness workout with Bree Koegel. In 17 minutes you’ll walk it out to tunes while you work your total body.
#10 Top it Off With a Stretch
Prep your muscles for your next workout and end your walk with a stretch. Stretching is key to helping 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? Browse the stretch category in the FitOn app.
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 its much-deserved moment of glory and burn some extra calories while we’re at it.