Walk Off 500 More Calories A Week
The next time you take a walk, why not burn more calories, blast more fat—and have more fun? Its easy when you mix and match our five pumped-up walking workouts.
Each one—created by Mark Fenton, author of The Complete Guide to Walking: Stepping Your Way to Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness—hikes the burn by adding a secret ingredient. Whether you add a friend or poles, youll get more sizzle out of every step.
Walking with Nordic poles can amp up your calorie burn by 20 to 46%, depending on terrain and how vigorously you push off with the poles. Plus, “using poles actually makes your workout feel easier, builds upper-body strength, and takes some stress off your knees,“ Fenton says.
The pole workout
Total time: 45 minutes
Bonus calories burned: 90
1. Walk at an easy pace for 8 minutes, swinging and pushing off gently with the poles to warm up.
2. Gradually increase your pace to a brisk walk with full poling motion for 12 minutes.
3. Alternate 2 minutes vigorous poling at a brisk walk with 2 minutes gentler poling at a slower pace, for a total of 14 minutes.
4. Alternate 1 minute bounding (jumping from one giant step to the next) and poling vigorously with 1 minute walking and gentle poling, for a total of 6 minutes.
5. Walk or pole at an easy pace for 5 minutes to cool down.[ pagebreak ]Add hills
Get off the flatlands and torch 20 to 70% more calories, depending on how gnarly the hill and how fast you climb it. “Working against gravity makes this a very effective way to strengthen and tone your legs and butt,“ Fenton says. When youre climbing, take slightly smaller steps but maintain the same tempo you use on level ground. Lean forward from the ankles (not the waist) and use your arms to propel you forward, but dont overswing your hands past the center of your body or above chest level.
The hill workout
Total time 35 minutes
Bonus calories burned 90
1. Walk for 5 minutes on flat ground.
2. Walk for 15 minutes at a moderate pace on gently rolling terrain that has you continuously climbing and descending; or climb a moderately steep hill for 2 to 3 minutes, gradually increasing pace, then walk briskly down. Repeat for a total of 15 minutes.
3. Climb a long, steep hill briskly for 6 minutes; walk down for 4 minutes.
4. Walk at an easy pace on flat ground for 5 minutes to cool down.
Alternating turbo bursts with an easier pace allows you to log more minutes at a high speed—without flaming out. Intervals are also the fast track to a stronger heart and lungs, not to mention a better fit in your jeans, Fenton says. “Dont underestimate the strength and toning benefits.“ The key to adding speed is taking quicker steps, not shorter ones. And be sure to keep your eyes on the horizon while you walk.
The speed workout
Total time 35 minutes
Bonus calories burned 80
1. Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes to warm up.
2. Gradually increase to a brisk pace you can just barely sustain for 10 minutes.
3. Slow your pace slightly for 5 minutes.
4. Walk as fast as you can (keeping good form) for 1 minute without breaking into a jog.
5. Alternate walking as fast as you can for 1 minute with easy-paced walking for 1 minute, for a total of 10 minutes.
6. Walk at an easy pace for 4 minutes to cool down.[ pagebreak ]Add a friend
Heres an instant boredom buster: Pair up with a walking buddy, and youre much less likely to skip your walk or cut it short. “Plus, if you normally average 30 minutes and walking with a friend gets you up to 60 minutes, youve doubled the calorie burn,” Fenton says. Another bonus: You may be inspired to walk faster, too—blasting even more calories.
Choose a moderately brisk pace (that still allows you to hold a conversation) that you can sustain. If youre just getting started, dont fret if its only 3 to 3.5 mph (about 2 to 3 minutes per block) at first. A new Greek study suggests that if youre overweight and sedentary, this pace not only is simply more doable but also may help you burn more fat and improve insulin sensitivity. (If you can walk faster, though, go for it!)
The add a friend workout
Total time 60 minutes
Bonus calories burned 130
1. Grab a friend (or two!), and walk for 10 minutes at an easy pace to warm up.
2. For the next 40 minutes, take turns setting a brisk (but not blistering) tempo.
3. Cool down for 10 minutes at an easy to moderate pace.
Walking lunges tone your legs and butt, fire up your metabolism, and build balance and core strength. “And because they make you stronger, they build the foundation for longer, more intense workouts,“ Fenton says. “Thats the key to continuing to burn more and more calories with walking.“
The lunge workout
Total time 40 minutes
Bonus calories burned 100
1. Walk at an easy pace for 8 minutes to warm up.
2. Alternate walking at a fast pace for 1 minute with 30 seconds of forward walking lunges, for a total of 8 minutes.
3. Walk at a moderate pace for 5 minutes.
4. Alternate walking at a fast pace for 1 minute with 30 seconds of side walking lunges, for a total of 8 minutes.
5. Walk at a moderate pace for 5 minutes.
6. Alternate walking at a fast pace for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of forward walking lunges, for a total of 4 minutes.
7. Walk for 2 minutes at an easy pace to cool down.