Make these quick and simple tweaks to your daily walks for a way more effective workout.
Walking is a great low-impact workout but because of its relatively low intensity, it doesn’t burn quite as many calories as other cardio exercises like running. That doesn’t mean you have to break into a run to get an effective workout. Here’s how to boost your calorie burn during walks.
1. Go uphill
Walking on incline requires more effort, allowing you to burn more calories. It will also help you engage more muscles such as your hamstrings, calves and glutes for major toning. This is especially good for those with joint problems, as walking has almost zero impact on the joints. If you walk on the treadmill, gradually increase the incline or use the in-built hill workout mode for extra burn. However, don’t assume that you will burn the most calories by taking on killer hills. It’s best to find a steepness that suits your fitness level so you don’t compensate by slowing down.
2. Add strength training
If you are already out for a long walk, include some simple exercises like push-ups and lunges to activate more muscles and torch more calories. Start by stopping every five minutes to do one minute of strength-building exercises. Try incorporating these five strength training moves into your walks.
3. Do intervals
Interval training requires you to alternate between high-intensity exercise and low-intensity ones. Try alternating between speed walking and walking at a normal pace at 60-second intervals. This will allow you to burn more calories compared to walking at a constant pace throughout, due to the “afterburn” effect, also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). When EPOC kicks in, you’ll continue to burn calories even after you’re done with your walk.
4. Pick up the pace
One of the most straightforward ways to intensify your walk is to pick up the speed. For instance, walking at 8km/h will burn more than thrice the calories burned compared to walking at 4km/h (calculated based on a 55kg person). So instead of strolling leisurely, try to brisk walk instead.
5. Try out different terrains
Walking on a mixture of terrains doesn’t just break the monotony, but also activates the muscles that you seldom use. This will strengthen you overall, and prevent muscle weakening which may lead to injuries. If you’re always on the treadmill to burn calories walking, try heading outdoors. Switching things up will also make your walks less dreary when you are exposed to different surroundings.
6. Track your heart rate
Let’s face it – we may not always be working as hard as we think we are. Wearing a heart rate monitor will let you accurately track your effort level. For a moderate-intensity workout, strive for 60 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate. You should find yourself breathing heavily and finding it hard to talk. Aim for this intensity level to get the most out of your walk.
7. Go the distance
Clocking in a few more minutes can really add up. Brisk walking (at 50 to 60 per cent of your maximum heart rate) for 30 minutes can burn 100 to 300 calories depending on your weight. The more you walk, the more likely your body will tap on stored fat to burn calories walking.
8. Find a walking buddy
Working out alone can be mundane sometimes, not to mention the huge inertia you’ve to overcome. (We know, it’s hard to leave the couch.) Having someone with similar fitness goals as a workout partner can ensure that you stay on track. It’s also great fun to engage in some friendly competition during your walks. Race to the next lamp post or building – and don’t be surprised to find yourself breaking into a run.