Walking is an ideal introduction to a regular exercise routine and can be a great aid to burning calories and weight loss.
You learned how to walk as a toddler, so surely you already know everything there is to know about walking, don’t you?….One foot in front of the other, try not to fall over…Job done!….Or is it?
Here’s my run down of 27 tips to help you maintain & increase your Calories Burned Walking.
View your calorie burn with the calories burned walking calculator, Keep inspired, stay the course and keep walking off that weight.
1) Walk Faster
Walking just a little bit faster can have big impact on the calories you burn. Keep your head up; look ahead not down at your feet and just concentrate on moving each leg just a little bit faster than normal.
You don’t need to be doing speed walking, you’re not in the Olympics. Make sure you don’t increase your speed too far or you may burn yourself out half way through.
Remember with any change you make keep it achievable and realistic:
You can achieve anything you set your mind to, but nothing worthwhile is achieved straight away.
2) Walk For Longer
Seems obvious right? Walk twice as long and you burn twice as many calories, but the key lies in increasing your duration gradually.
Doubling your workout overnight is one of the quickest ways to an injury, which then puts you out of action till you recover, with a net total calorie burn of less than before.
Aim to increase the time you spend walking, but do it slowly and sensibly. For most people the ideal daily target is 60 minutes, this is long enough to really cover some mileage but short enough that you can include it in your day.
3) Move Your Arms More
This is a simple one, just swing your arms as you walk. You don’t need to march like a soldier and you don’t need to make this overtly enthusiastic if you feel self concious, but the more you move your arms the more energy required, the more calories burned.
4) Include Hills
Whether an incline on a treadmill or an hilly route round your neighborhood, even though it may not seem like it half way up….
…Hills are your friends
Studies into the overall calorie benefit of using hills are conflicting, some support the standard wisdom; that if you go up a hill you must at some point come back down it again to get home and this down hill cancels out the uphill. However other studies found that downhill does not fully cancel out the uphill as your strides are not as efficient walking down a slope.
Either way hills make your heart work harder and will really help you to ramp up your fitness levels, which in turn will help you walk faster and longer over time. So where ever you walk, make sure to include some incline.
5) Change Your Route
Making changes to your walking route helps to keep it interesting. One of the things I love about getting out walking is really being able to explore all around the area where I live, you would be surprised how much of your neighborhood you just don’t see driving around in the car all the time.
Just because you’re in an exercise routine doesn’t mean that it has to be the same day in day out, changing the route keeps it fresh, which in turn helps you stay motivated and looking forward to your walk.
6) Choose Your Walking Buddies Carefully
Doing any form of exercise with friends is an ideal way to catch-up and spend quality time together. Aside from encouraging each other to push your limits if you go walking in the evening you may find you feel safer with some company.
If you do choose to go walking with friends though, pick them carefully – make sure these are people who are going to help you to maintain your motivation and stick the course. Not the type likely to encourage you to quit after a week. If you start any exercise plan with someone else and they quit part way through or keep making excuses why they can’t exercise tonight, it just becomes so much harder to motivate yourself to go out without them.
I have in the past purposefully chosen not to exercise with one of my best friends. I knew he was unreliable and soon enough there would be reasons why he couldn’t go out. It didn’t change our relationship, we’re still best buddies I just decided in that situation to do what was right for me, I knew I’d be better off on my own…..so choose the right friends to walk with.
7) Walk Cross Country
Get off the beaten track – If you can walk cross country you force your body to work harder or order to keep you steady . Not only will you be burning more calories but you also work on developing the muscles in your legs and around your stomach as these are all used to help stabilize each step.
8) Put On Your Shoes & Get Out The Door
On the days when you have no motivation; after a late night working or a day when the kids got you up at 5am and you just feel like I really can’t be bothered today, don’t worry about going out exercising….
…put on your shoes, walk out the front door and shut it behind you.
Don’t think about the next hour or however long your going to spend exercising, purely about getting out that front door……and guess what, once outside the exercise just happens.
9) Walk In The Rain
Walk in the rain, walk in the sun, the snow, the hail, the wind….as Nike say…just do it.
It’s not so much really about walking in the rain, it’s about not letting the weather dictate your exercise routine. If you stop for the rain today, you’re more likely to not go out because it’s a bit chilly next week, before you know it your good intention has all faded and you’re back sitting on the couch every day.
In all truth I found once I got used to being out in the rain, went past the point of worrying about getting wet and realized I wasn’t actually going to melt, I really enjoyed it. You see the world through a different viewpoint; most people’s typical reaction is to get out of the rain as quick as possible, not many people take the time to actually experience the sensation of feeling it on your face and just enjoying it.
Make sure you have a separate pair of shoes for walking in, so it doesn’t matter if they get wet
When you get home, leave your shoes under cover but outside to air, this will prevent them going moldy or stinking the house out
Don’t let the weather break your routine – what’s the worst that could happen….obviously have a rethink during tornadoes 🙂
10) Walk To Work
Do you work within walking distance of home? Could you walk to work in less than 1 hour?
If you can walk to work this is an ideal opportunity to get those walking miles in. If it’s 30 minutes or less your ultimate aim could be to walk to work everyday, but if it’s more maybe you just want to aim for one day a week. Focus on building up your mileage then do a walk once a week to get you started.
11) Walk To The Shops
Need some milk and bread…..
…don’t just jump in the car so you can get home again to sit on the couch!
Walk to the shops. However if the only place for you to buy milk is the out of town mega store 15 miles away, then maybe you want to just skip to the next tip.
12) Park In The Furthest Bay From The Store
Get into the habit of doing this every time you drive to the stores, instead of following everyone trying to get in a parking space as close to the store as possible, turn the other way and head for the furthest possible space from the store entrance.
13) Join A Walking Club
Not only are clubs a fun way to meet new people with common interests and goals but by joining a walking club you’ll help keep yourself motived and sticking to your routine, making sure you keep plodding away burning those calories.
People are expecting to see you, if you don’t turn up people will miss you and ask why you didn’t come, if they can get out there tonight why can’t you? It’s little things like this that make you drag yourself out there on the days when motivation is low and all you want to do is binge on that chocolate ice-cream.
14) Take Part In A Walking Event
Whether rising funds for a charity or simply a causal non-competitive stroll as part of a Volksmarch, planning to attend a walking event can give you just the right sort of target to build your mileage.
These are amazingly friendly with a great sense of comradery, it’s the best possible way to explore and everyone is so excited about coming together it’s really contagious and addictive!
If you haven’t seen any local walking events advertised check out your national Volkssport Association below
- American Volkssport Association
- The Canadian Volkssport Federation
- British Walking Association
- Germany Volkssportverband e.V
Watch to find out what Volkssport / Volksmarching is all about?
15) Take A City Walking Tour
If you’re after a fun way of exploring a new city while also putting in your walking calories then a Guided City Walking Tour is a great idea.
Most cities around the world offer some form of group guided walking tours, where a local guide takes a group of people on a walk around the city pointing out key points of interest and explaining the history behind the city.
If you’re looking for something less structured and want to go in a smaller family group or at a slower pace, check out the iPhone App City Maps and Walks:
“Offers city maps and self-guided walking tours for over 470 cities worldwide. Detailed walking route maps and turn-by-turn walking directions are available to guide you to all the major city attractions. You can follow the walking tours and use the city maps included in this application without 3G or internet connection. Neither data plan nor roaming is needed when traveling to foreign cities.”
16) Have A Walking Holiday
….not a holiday from walking.
Walking holidays are either guided or self guided. Most allow you to choose route difficulties to suite your experience.
Hiking can burn a serious amount of calories, for a simple example take a look in the calories burned hiking calculator.
Difficulties range from:
Easiest Walks: relaxed pace, where you spend time at places of interest with short walking distances and easy inclines
Most Difficult Walks: require a good level of fitness and stamina, typically in mountainous areas with step inclines.
There are tons of places offering walking holidays, to wet your appatite check out some of these:
17) Try Orienteering
Orienteering involves navigating yourself around a route using maps and sometimes compasses. You have to go from different control points on the route and decide the best route to get round in the quickest time.
Orienteering is undertaken by people of all ages and at varying different speeds you can walk or run, routes can be anywhere; inner city or remote wilderness and it’s a great way to do some walking while being occupied in another task ( figuring out which route to take).
For more information about orienteering local to you, see your relevant national orienteering federation.
18) Take The Stairs Instead Of The Elevator
Taking the stairs is a great way to burn some extra calories walking. The actual amount of extra calories burned depending on your weight, as an example a 150 lb person will burn around 7 calories per minute walking up stairs and 6 calories per minute walking down stairs, compared with 1 calorie per minute riding in the elevator.
This calorie difference is not huge and that alone will not make a significant dent in your weight loss but by taking the stairs, particularly going up you will make your heart work a lot harder. This extra effort on your heart will help to increase your fitness levels, helping you to exercise faster and for longer, which in turn will dramatically help your weight loss.
19) Get Off The Bus A Stop Early
The secret to any weight loss routine is to make the exercise simply part of your routine. If you take the bus to work there is no easier way to include a walk in your daily routine than getting off the bus 1 stop early and walking the remainder of the way.
Start off by just doing this on the way to work and catch your return bus from your normal stop, then in time you can walk more and ride less on the way home too.
20) Go Window Shopping For The Day
This is the art of window shopping, if you’re into your shops it can be a great day out with a few friends and is a awesome way to burn lots of calories walking.
Put on your walking shoes, make sure to leave your credit cards a home so you don’t get tempted and head out to the largest city centre or mall in your vicinity. Spend your time strolling around stores looking in the windows and browsing inside….look at everything that takes your interest but buy nothing.
If you stop for lunch don’t waste the effort by calorie loading on pizza and coke, grab a salad and fruit juice then sit back and do a bit of people watching, then off again to pursue every shop window in sight.
21) Use A Walking Plan
A walking plan helps to provide you clear, daily or weekly walking goals, which gradually stretch you over time. Typically a walking plan increases either distance you walk or the speed you walk at, or both.
Walking plans help you not only put in the mileage but most importantly establish a regular exercise routine, whatever exercise you do the key to building fitness and losing weight is to keep going. The hard truth is you got unfit and over weight with a rocketing BMI by consistently, week after week not exercising enough and over eating, and the way to reverse that is to exercise consistently week after week and eat less calories than you burn.
I have two easy to follow walking plans, which help you gradually increase the distance you walk by slowly building the time, you spend walking:
Assumes no current regular exercise and takes you from couch to walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
Builds on the walking plan for beginners, starting at 30 minutes a day and increases gradually to a hour a day, 5 days a week
22) Take The Family For A Walk At The Weekend
Teaching your children the value and enjoyment of exercise could be one of the most important life lessons you provide. A regular exercise routine you instil in them now, could literally mean your children living longer in later life.
Getting the family out walking doesn’t have to mean everyone marching along grim faced, forced into exercising, it should be fun, here are a few fun family ideas to ensure you increase those calories burned walking:
- Go wild fruit picking – make sure you know which of your local fruits are safe to eat
- Walk to the children’s play park or play football in the local park
- Get some cheap golf clubs from ebay, go out and spend a few hours hitting golf balls up and down your local park – My friends and I used to do this a lot as kids and it’s a great way to try to see if your kids are interested before forking out on more expensive stuff.
- If you’ve got the weather go tobogganing
- Walk along a local river/canal/beach
- Find a wooded area and go exploring
If you think about it I’m sure you can come up with many more, free ways to spend time walking as a family. We all spend so much time sitting in front of the TV, make the change today, get your tribe out the front door and teach them to love exercise.
23) Explore Your Neighbourhood
If you’re anything like me, I bet you don’t really get to see much of your neighbourhood normally.
You’ll have a certain route you take to and from work, another route to the local shops and your kids school, things that fall on that route you know really well….but what about all the rest of your neighbourhood?
So here’s the challenge…..use the map, zoom into your neighbourhood, find all the roads you have never been down and the places you have never seen, start making a plan to walk every road in your neighbourhood.
View Larger Map
24) Take An mp3 Player
One of the things I love about going out walking (and running) is having the time to myself. I go through phases; sometimes it’s great to just spend 60 minutes with nothing but your own thoughts (honestly, when do you ever get any other opportunity to do this in your normal daily routine?), but most recently I’ve really got into listening to my iPod.
What you listen to doesn’t matter, currently I have a selection of about 10 different Pod Casts I’m going through, whereas Jo loves to put on the high tempo beats. Whatever works for you, just find something you can get completely immersed into and your exercise routine will fly by.
This is more important than you might at first think; with any exercise routine
motivation gets you started but habit keeps you going
To turn this into a consistent habit you need to make sure you’re enjoying yourself and little things like this go a long way. An hour a day on your own, listening to exactly what you want….works for me.
25) Wear The Right Clothing
Making sure you have the right walking clothes is essential, here’s the key points you’re looking for:
Comfortable & Moveable
The slightest annoyance will get amplified over time, to the point where it either causes you pain, or distracts you so much from your routine you just want to head home.
Make sure your clothing is a breathable as possible, this is particularly important for your socks and any shirts. If you struggle getting comfortable socks, either because the seams rub of they are not breathable enough then try a pair of running socks*, made for exactly this reason.
Ensure you can move freely and you feel comfortable, that means that you feel comfortable with how you look too. Many people will tell you that you should just wear the most practical clothing, I am however very much of the view that if you feel too self conscious in it, you need to swap for something else. There are so many things which conspire to try to stop you from maintaining a consistent workout routine, don’t let you clothing be one of them, simply wear something comfortable you’re happy to be seen about town in.
Chafing occurs when something rubs against your skin, often one piece of skin against another, something which gladly gets less likely the more you exercise and lose weight.
I have in the past had chafing on my legs, which is very painful. If you do suffer from chaffing use something like Sudocrem*, which really helps easy the pain, then ensure you wear clothing to separate the parts of skin that would rub together.
I found wearing cycling shorts under my tracksuit really helped me.
Warm / Cool enough
It can be a real balancing act sometimes to find the right clothing to keep you warm enough, while not over heating, particularly on cold days when you need to stay warm as you first start out. This will come with experience and is very much dependent on your location in the world and workout routine.
During the winter I wear my tracksuit bottoms, DriFit Tshirt* and a light-weight jacket, if I’m walking I’ll keep the jacket on all the time, if running I take it off and tie it round my waist after the first 15 minutes when I’m fully warmed up and starting to sweat.
26) Stay Hydrated
Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the most important things when doing any form of exercise.
Lack of hydration can cause:
- Heat stroke
Everyone’s hydration needs are different, depending on your weight, exertion and tendency for sweat levels.
Other more subtle tell tale signs of dehydration are:
- Dark urine or inability to urinate
- Dry mouth
As everyone’s hydration needs are different, the best way to find how much water you need to drink is through experience:
- Weigh yourself without clothing before you exercise
- Take some water with you on your walk, drink as you feel necessary
- When you get home weigh yourself again without clothing – make sure not to urinate before weighing
- Any difference in your weight is due to a reduction in your hydration level (don’t kid yourself into thinking you’ve lost 2 pounds of fat from a single 60 minute walk)
- Repeat each time you workout, making sure to drink more before, during and after your session next time until you see no real weight difference from before & after.
Doing this a few times is all you’ll need, you’ll soon get a feel for the right amount of water you need to take on for your exercise routine.
27) Vary Your Pace
Once you’re able to consistently walk for a hour several times a week, then you can start to increase the pace. Use a technique called fartleck training.
The term Fartleck is Sweedish and means speed play, it’s usually used for running training but can apply just as well to walking. The basic idea is you warm up then go through repeating cycles of short bursts of fast paced exercise followed by normal paced exercise.
Try this next time you’re out
- Walk normal pace for 15 minutes to warm up
- Increase your pace to a fast walking pace, maintain this fast pace for around 1 minute
- Slow down back to your normal pace for 5 minutes
- Increase your pace to fast again, maintain this for 2 minutes
- Slow down back to your normal pace for 5 minutes
- Repeat from step 2 until finished
You can then take this in one of two directions, dependent on how you like.
- If your intention is to keep your exercise routine to just walking; gradually lengthen the amount of time you spend doing the fast paced walks
- If you want to move onto running; replace the fast walking sessions with slow running, returning to a walk during the normal paced periods, then slowly increase the duration’s
Don’t concern yourself too much with sticking hard and fast to specific timings of fast / slow, the whole point of farleck is that you can play with it, this is just to help give you a bit more structure to start with.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas and inspiration to continue increasing your calories burned walking.