by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
If I were to tell you that you can improve weight loss by simply walking, what would you think? You’d probably think I’m nuts, right? When you think about weight loss, you tend to think about having to go on a diet, running, and hitting the gym to lift weights. Well, the fact of the matter is that you can burn more calories walking if you simply apply these five key techniques.
5 Ways to Improve Weight Loss and Burn More Calories Walking
Below are five ways that you can improve weight loss and burn more calories walking. Yes, walking. No, there are no smoke and mirrors or bait and switch going on here. Losing weight doesn’t need to be difficult or take up hours of your day.
Here’s what you need to focus on…
1. Focus on Building Muscle
Something that isn’t communicated enough in content these days is the importance of building muscle. Not only will building muscle help enhance the overall look of your physique, but it can improve weight loss.
Additionally, the more muscle you have, you’re able to burn more calories walking. Why? Because muscle demands energy. Having even more muscle means an even greater amount of energy is needed. This means your body can utilize stored body fat as an energy source.
Entirely unrelated to walking but having to deal with calorie expenditure is that the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day — even while at rest. This is because when moving around, your muscles contract and elongate. Then, when you exercise on top of having a fair amount of lean muscle mass, your body needs energy to support the muscle recovery and rebuilding process.
2. Increase the Duration of Your Walks
If you want to burn more calories walking, increase the duration of your walks. Many people assume just going for a walk is good enough, and when they look down at their watch, they’ve only been out for 10-15 minutes.
Sure, 10-15 minutes is better than nothing, but if you really want to improve weight loss, strive for 30-60 minute walks. Not a fan of walks? Do it with friends, family, or your favorite furry friend to get your mind off it.
You don’t have to go from 10-minute walks to 60-minute walks overnight. If you can’t go long distances right out of the gate, work your way up. Strive for 15 minutes, then 20, then 30, 45, 60, etc. Work your way up and continue to push yourself and you can improve weight loss and burn more calories walking.
3. Use Different Terrain and Routes
They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. The same can be said when going for a walk and using the same terrain and route.
If you want to burn more calories walking, change up the scenery. Are you someone who goes for a family walk after dinner? That’s great, but after a while, your body gets used to the same stimulus. Therefore, you need to change it up.
You need to challenge your body to improve weight loss and burn more calories. Go for a hike in the woods, take a walk on the beach and allow the sand to provide added resistance, or simply go for a walk in a different direction of your neighborhood or city to provide different elevations and challenges.
4. Improve Your Form
Just like when lifting weights, having poor form not only makes you less efficient when it comes to achieving the results you desire but it also puts you at risk of injury. When it comes to trying to burn more calories walking to improve weight loss, having poor mechanics or a poor walking technique can actually slow your pace and cause you to tire more easily due to being less efficient with your movements.
You want to pay close attention to standing tall while walking rather than bending forward or leaning backward. Use your arms and swing them to help increase not only your power while walking, but pumping your arms helps you burn more calories walking.
Something else to look at is your stride length. If you’re taking baby steps, your pace will suffer. Likewise, if your stride is too long, your speed can suffer while also putting additional stress on your joints — increasing your risk of injury.
5. Increase the Intensity
Many people get comfortable walking at a certain speed, and they think the only next step in order to improve weight loss is to walk for longer periods of time. While that can definitely help, it’s not the only way you can burn more calories walking. Why not go for the same duration but increase the intensity?
By increasing the intensity, you’re putting a greater demand on your body, and therefore you can burn more calories walking. If you were to walk your entire neighborhood or walking trail in a total of 30 minutes. Push yourself a little harder and try to get through the same walk in 20-25 minutes instead.