Take your walk to new calorie-burning heights with these little tweaks1. Go up (and down).
Do 15 minutes of a 35-minute walk on hills, not flat ground, and you'll burn close to 100 extra calories, according to walking guru Mark Fenton, author of The Complete Guide to Walking: For Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness. Not only will walking up and down hills burn more calories, but it can also help sculpt your butt. If you're on a treadmill, hike your incline 15% for 15 minutes of your walk (break it up by raising the incline for a few minutes, then lowering it, then putting it back up again).
2. Make it a game.
Really pick up the pace for 30 seconds every time you see a dog, a mailbox, a red car, or someone sipping coffee. Making a game of it can keep your walks more interesting and make you faster over time. Every time you speed up, you'll burn more calories. Then, let your pace go back to normal (but no slower than that) while you catch your breath. Tip: When you put on your short bursts of speed, make sure that your steps are faster, but not smaller. Next week, try making the faster parts 5 seconds longer. Keep at it.
3. Get (a little) speedy.
If you're walking 20-minute miles, make it your goal this week to do one 19-minute mile each time you walk. Even if you go faster for just 1 mile of your 3-mile circuit, you're making progress. Work up to 19 minutes for each mile of your workout. Once you can do that, try doing 1 mile at 18 minutes.
4. Do 5 minutes more, here and there.
This week, either add 5 minutes to three walks, or add a 15-minute mile to one walk. Your choice. If you weigh 150 pounds, that small investment of time can nix almost 90 additional calories (those are the chocolate kisses you ate last night). Take a longer loop back home, or reset your treadmill timer. Just keep up the pace; if you walk slower when you walk longer, your additional calorie burn won't add up to much -- if it moves the needle at all.
5. Add music.
In one study, people who worked out to up-tempo tunes covered 11% more ground -- without even feeling like they did anything extra. So try walking to music with a makes-you-want-to-move beat -- it can give you that lift you need to walk a little faster. Anyone ready for "Rock That Body" by the Black Eyed Peas?
6. Go Nordic.
You can burn 20% more calories just by adding springy fitness poles to your walks -- you know, those long poles you see some walkers using that look like they were borrowed from Nordic skiers. Even though you're doing more when you use poles (working your arms, walking taller), your workout might actually feel easier, as the poles help propel you forward.