Want to burn twice as many calories during walking? Try this instead

Want to burn twice as many calories during walking? Try this instead


It is said that walking was invented by the first land animal i.e. 375 million years ago. The word walk is derived from its Old English counterpart wealcan which means “to roll”. Burning calories by walking is a term that is recently introduced. 

How does walking differ from running?

 Generally walking differs from running in a way that only one foot at a time leaves the ground and the other foot provides subtle support. Running in contrast has both the feet off the ground. This is a major specification in most of the competitive walking tournaments carried out across the world. 

Apart from these specifications, speed also distinguishes walking from running. So we can safely say that running has a glamor of speed whereas walking is less glamorous but easier than running. Walking is a sport that you can easily start without much training. 

You can walk at home, walk outdoors anytime to get that mileage. 

How many miles is 10000 steps?

We have a couple of detailed articles where we say walking is the best way to lose fat and gain endurance. You can check them here. 


Walking as a people’s movement: 

Let us dig a bit deeper about this simple movement in the reference of History: 

The Famous Dandi March:

Do you remember the Dandi marches that Mahatma Gandhi started during India’s freedom movement? It was simple as it included something everyone could do. Something as simple as walking could become a huge movement in India and elsewhere. 

Civil Rights Movement by Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. who was an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi deployed the same method by conducting walking protests in the Civil Rights movement. A fellow activist John Lewis has noted that Walking can be a powerful act of defiance and can lead to “Good Trouble”.

Whenever there is a celebration in the country, people do march on roads for their support. In case of agitation, walks are often carried out to the country’s monuments or public places to denote the anger. There are so many examples of the same. 

Walking has a place in history because it is a very powerful activity despite its non glamorous nature. 

 Walking as a tool for creative people: 

Robert Louis Stevenson:

There are so many examples of creative people who have incorporated walking as their creative thought process. Robert Louis Stevenson has written “ Walking Tours” where he speaks about idle walks in the countryside. 

Who does not like a quiet stroll along the village roads leading to either the village or outside of it. Unraveling the mysterious paths which lead the walker into the unknown. 

Charles Dickens:

It is said that Charles Dickens would walk as many as 20 miles a day, no wonder he has written some of the amazing stories. He says if I could not walk far and fast, I think I would just explode and perish. 

Jean- Jacques Rousseau:

Jean- Jacques Rousseau used to regularly walk 20 miles a single day and he says he can hardly think when he remains still. He says that in order to make his mind active, his body should be in motion. 

These highly created people stated above surely had to sit to write their thoughts out but they still managed to walk as many as 20 miles. We can definitely incorporate walking in our days. 

Walking as an effective form of exercise: 

In the crudest form walking is the best exercise. In my personal opinion, though I have lifted weights, trained for a 10k, did HIIT for years, tried my hands at MMA ( Mix Martial Arts) and the likes, I have always resorted to walking in tough times. 

When life throws a curveball:

Life is not going to be a straight line, there are going to be ups and downs, what remains constantly with me is walking. 

You do you:

As James Clear in his book Atomic Habits says you have to make your good habit attractive. It is up to us to make it attractive. Decide what works around that. Just because your neighbor walks early in the morning does not mean that you should go the same way. 

For all other training programs there is a set pattern, but for walking it is just as you want it to be. 

Many different ways to walk:

There are these different ways that you can walk ( It is just a suggestion, again the emphasis is on “ YOU DO YOU”) 

  • Walk at home ( Leslie Sansone has this wonderful app where you can walk at home)
  • Walk with YouTube videos ( There are these enormous number of YouTube videos that would help you scale through your walks) 
  • Walk with a buddy ( In the recent walking challenges that we host locally we found that walking with an accountability partner is the best way to get that mileage) 
  • Walk 10 minutes of every 30 minutes sitting ( Specially works for people who have desk job) 
  • Walk while you talk on phone. ( For people who are always on call) 
  • Walk while listening to a book ( For book lovers who do not want to give up their habit of reading) 

These are just the ways to incorporate this effective and simple form of exercise into your routine. 

How to burn double the calories while walking?

With 10000 steps per day, doing approximately 8 kms per day will result in a general burn of 300-500 calories over and above your basal metabolic rate. But there is this simple way of burning more calories while at it.

Power Walking

  • Power walking is a simple method to amp up your walk with more steps. Walking can be of different types namely a leisurely walk, normal walk and power walk. Power walking can vary as per the person and their stride length. A tall person’s stride length would be more than a relatively short person. So, his power walking can be as good as running for you. Decide your normal pace and increase it by 1 percent everyday to achieve a good power walk. 
  • If you are walking 1000 steps in 10 minutes you can start reducing your time for 1000 steps by 1 minute everyday if possible. That is power walking.
  • As little more energy is required to fuel the power walk, you can double up on the calories burnt in power walks. 


Adding hills 

  • Though this may not be possible for everyone, those who are trekking or are going for a hike adding hills or altitude to your walks should not be a problem.
  • People who walk on treadmills can also add altitude to their walks effortlessly.
  • You can also program your walk for 3 days of power walking, 1 day of hills and 2 days of stroll to get the best of all the ways.

Adding intervals 

  • Interval training is possible while walking on a treadmill, but it is also possible to regulate the speed of your walks. While you walk at home you can increase your pace and treat it as a 2 minute interval. The increasing and decreasing pace will help burn more than usual pace. Even while running some athletes walk in between so that they can amp their speed later in the race. Interval training works well in these types of scenarios. 


Carry weights

You can also lift weights quite literally while walking. Let us take a look at what type of weights you can actually carry while walking 

  • Hand weight

One can easily carry hand weight upto 1 to 3 pounds while walking 

  • Ankle Weight

1 to 3 pounds can be tied to the ankle while walking that will increase the effort while walking 

  • Nordic Pole stick

We may not know but carrying a simple stick can increase the efforts while walking. You can choose nordic pole sticks for walking as they are more sporty and easy to use on the smooth terrain. Alternatively while trekking you can use trekking sticks. 

Powering up your arms

  • Engaging in back and forth movement of the arms helps to amp up the calories, it may also help you balance better while walking. 
  • It engages the upper body training it amply while legs are busy walking

Including Strength Movements 

In Leslie Sansone’s Walk At Home Program, there are four basic moves which can be counted as strength moves 

  • Knee lifts ( Engaging core and lifting knee while walking)
  • Stepping side to side ( Engaging glutes and thighs) 
  • Back kicking ( Engaging glutes and hamstrings) 
  • Tap in front with the heels ( Engages calf muscles) 
  • Adding strength movements to the walk helps to tone otherwise non engaged muscles.  

Calorie Burn Calculators

There are many calorie burn calculators available online where you can calculate number of calories burned during walking.





Burn Calories Walking
Snehal Joshi

Snehal is a Certified Nutrition Coach by National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is writing about her persuits of Nutrition Science since last 4 years.

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