7 Ways to Burn More Calories Walking

Use these Techniques to Burn More Calories During Your Walking Workout

Nordic Walking Couple on Sidewalk
Nordic Walking Couple. Scott Markewitz/Getty Images

How can you burn more calories during your walking workouts? The number of calories you burn depends on your weight, speed,  intensity and distance of your workout. Here are seven ways to change that up.

1. The Best Way to Burn More Calories: Walk Farther

The farther you walk, the more calories you burn. The easiest way to burn more calories is simply to walk farther. Concentrate your training on building distance before you build speed.

Gradually increase the amount of time you walk each day, with a goal of being able to walk for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Aim to walk five or six days each week. Walking Calories Burned per Mile

Burn More Walking Calories per Mile

These next five techniques will boost your calories per mile by engaging more muscles or increasing the intensity of your effort.

2. Learn to Walk Fast or Racewalk

At speeds over 13-minute mile rate you are burning more calories per mile as you use more muscle groups, as well as building muscle. But the biggest advantage may be that you can walk farther in the same amount of time, so you can burn more calories due to the increased distance.
How to Walk Faster.

3. Use Walking Poles

Fitness walking poles are an option for those who cannot walk fast and want to burn more calories per mile. They add an upper body workout when used with the Nordic Walking or Exerstriding techniques.

How to walk with walking poles

4. Add Hills or Stairs

You will burn more calories per mile when you are climbing hills or stairs. You burn 60% more calories per mile walking uphill, and you burn four more calories per minute climbing stairs. If you enjoy treadmill workouts, gradually add incline to your workouts, or use the hill workouts built into your treadmill.

5. Add Speed Intervals to Your Walk

Change up your pace during your walk to add intensity and burn a few more calories. Pick a stretch such as a city block where you walk as fast as you can for a minute or two, then slow to your usual pace for a couple of minutes, then repeat. This will allow you to walk farther in the same time period and build your ability to walk faster. If you are able to run, add running intervals of a minute or more, as running burns more calories than walking, and it will allow you to go farther in the same amount of time.

6. Carry Extra Weight

I do not recommend doing this, as extra pounds mean extra strain on your joints. But if you do it, you should add no more than 10 pounds and wear it in a backpack, weight vest or at your hips so your body can remain balanced and your posture is not thrown off. Walking with poor posture or adding weight to your arms or legs can lead to injury.

7. Burn Calories While You Sleep By Building Muscle

You can burn more calories even while sleeping by building up muscle.

When you add muscle to your body, you are increasing your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn each day at rest. If you are new to walking, you will be building leg muscle. For a balanced exercise program, you should also tone and build muscle with strength training workouts two to three days per week.

  • Absolute Beginner Walkers: You will build leg muscles as you increase your walking time and distance. Concentrate on increasing the amount of time you spend walking.
    30 Day Quick Start Guide for Beginners
  • Seasoned Walkers: For those who have been walking for months or years, you will need to alter your walking style to build more muscle just from walking. The racewalking technique uses and builds more muscles than regular walking. By learning to racewalk, you can build new muscle and burn more calories per mile.
  • Not Interested in Racewalking: For those who are not interested in racewalking to build muscle, you should add strength training to your weekly exercise schedule in addition to walking in order to build muscle. Do strength training workouts two to three days per week.

Eating Less is the Key to Losing Weight

For the best success in losing weight, know how many calories you are eating as well as how many you are burning in exercise. Track Your Food Calories to Lose Weight


Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Whitt MC, Irwin ML, Swartz AM, Strath SJ, O’Brien WL, Bassett DR Jr, Schmitz KH, Emplaincourt PO, Jacobs DR Jr, Leon AS. "Compendium of Physical Activities: An update of activity codes and MET intensities." Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000;32 (Suppl):S498-S516.

Church TS, Earnest CP, Morss GM. "Field testing of physiological responses associated with Nordic Walking." Res Q Exerc Sport. 2002 Sep;73(3):296-300.

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