20-minute-renewal | Health and Wellness Tips | Caldera Spas

How Can I Burn More Calories In The Same Amount Of Time?

May 2015

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to burn more calories. Just walk faster.

A 2006 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that walkers in their fifties burned 25% more calories when they increased their walking speed a mere half mile per hour from 3.6 mph to 4.1 mph (as reported in More Magazine (Michelle Stanten). 

The number of calories burned increases dramatically with just small increases in speed. Add another half mile per hour from 4.1 to 4.6 and the effect burns 32 percent more calories.

The critical pace to reach and exceed is 4 mph, according to Mark Fenton, walking guru and former Olympic speed walker. For every tenth you add beyond 4 mph, the caloric burn advantage begins to cascade. Exceed 5 mph, you burn more calories than if you were running. That’s because running leaves you temporarily airborne, creating a pause in energy output, and your landing provides a spring for the next step. Fast walking requires steady muscular effort at every stage of movement.

To Walk Faster, Do I Just Speed Up?

There are techniques to help you walk 4, 5 or even 6 mph.

  1. Keep your posture upright. Gently contract abdominal muscles to keep your pelvis neutral and your lower back from arching too much.
  2. Keep your eyes on the horizon and your chin level with the ground. This form keeps your shoulders back and your chest open.
  3. Swing your arms faster. Bend elbows at 90 degrees, holding your arms in at your sides. Don’t swing them across your body or let them stray outward. By focusing on your faster arms, your legs will keep up with the pace.
  4. Power your walking from the back leg. As you walk faster, you tend to take longer steps with the forward leg. But when you reach farther, the front leg acts like a brake and slows you down. Instead, increase your stride length on the back leg by rolling through the ball of your foot and pushing off.

How Do I Know How Fast I’m Walking?

Count steps for 30 to 60 seconds. At 120 steps per minute, you’re moving at about 3 mph. 135 steps per minute is the equivalent of about 3.8 to 4 mph, and at 150 steps per minute, you’re at about 4.5 mph.

Want More Precision?

Download an app on your GPS-enabled smartphone. Some of these apps include Walkmeter, AllSportGPS and iMapMyWalk.

With an app, you’ll be able to view your continuous walking time, distance, pace, calories burned and average pace. You can see your walking route on a map while you walk, and the apps can post updates of your progress to Twitter, Facebook and email. After your walk, you can see your stats and review workouts. It also integrates with websites such as dailymile.com.

We'd love to hear from you in the comments below...

  • How many miles do you walk in a week?
  • How often do you walk for exercise?
  • Have you had to stop running because of injury? How long ago? What took the place of running?
  • In the past month, have you done any of the following?:
  • Park farther away from a store for a longer walk
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Walk or bike to a destination instead of driving

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