Make Your Walks Count: How to Improve Your Burn

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It’s easy to allow your walk for exercise session become a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.

I’ve been there.

But if you’re going to utilize walking as a form of exercise, know that there are some ways to increase your fat burn.

How Fast Should You Walk to Burn Fat?

It makes sense that to burn fat and ultimately lose weight, you must get your body into fat-burning mode. But just exactly how do you tell your body to burn stored fat instead of pulling from available sugars? By warming up first!

First, the Warm Up

To wake up your muscles and let them know you’re in this for the long haul, walk at a slower pace than normal for five to 10 minutes.

Once you’re warmed-up, increase your speed to at least a brisk or moderate pace. Your daily goal should be to walk at this pace for at least 30 minutes.

What’s a Brisk Pace?

While the speed you walk depends on your fitness level, the way it “feels” to you will be the same. Your breathing rate should increase, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation with your walking partner. Your heart rate should measure from 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate, 220 minus your age. On a less technical side, it should feel like you are rushing to get to get to an important appointment because you’re running late.

Upping the Number of Calories Burned

Let’s face it, you’re only going to be able to burn a certain number of calories by walking the same distance at the same pace. As your body gets more fit, it will adapt by becoming more efficient. So, to increase the number of calories burned, it makes sense that you either need to walk farther or faster (or both). But wait, there’s a third option – weights.

By wearing wrist or ankle weights, you increase the amount of work exerted even though you aren’t walking any further or faster. Your heart beats a little faster: you perspire a little more, and your body works a little harder.  While wearing weights, move your arms in a back and forth pumping motion to burn even more calories and build muscle.

Walking builds muscle. By working your large lower body muscle groups, they become more toned, better defined, and stronger. Now your “new” muscles burn more calories (even at rest) than your old ones because it takes more energy to fuel them than it did before.

By wearing wrist weights, you are also improving your arm and shoulder muscles, making them burn more calories too. All-in-all, it adds up.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking?

The number of calories burned while walking varies from person to person. You may walk the same route at the same speed with a friend who weighs about the same and is of similar age, and one of you will burn more calories than the other. Why?

Another Variable

Besides weight, age speed, and distance, the other variable is fitness level. If one of you is more fit than the other, the fittest one will have a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR). This means that person naturally burns more calories at rest (based on multiple factors like lean body mass and more). While you can’t directly control your BMR, you can increase it by improving your fitness level; exercise can help here.

Know Your BMR

Regardless if you are walking to lose weight or improve fitness, you have to know your basal metabolic rate (BMR) as a starting point. An online search for “Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator” brings up a host of options. Pick one and enter your information – height, weight, and age (and fitness level, if it asks). The results are the number of calories your body needs each day to maintain your current weight at your current fitness level.

Reaching Your Number

Knowing your calorie maintenance level is key in figuring out what you need to do to burn enough calories to lose weight. One pound of fat equals about 3500 calories. So, if you cut 500-1000 calories out of your diet or worked to burn these calories each day, you may be able to lose 1-2 lbs a week. Of course, this varies by height, weight, age, and fitness level for each person as noted above.

How much do you burn walking? It too varies but as an example, a 140 lb person can burn 7.6 calories per minute walking – more for heavier people and less for lighter people. That gets our example to almost 230 calories burned for a 30-minute walk.

Now before you think you are going to have to walk half of the day away to make a dent, don’t forget that adding in weights can boost that number even more. Household chores also burn calories, so they factor into your daily calorie burn. For example, 30 minutes each of daily activities, such as showering or housework can burn over 400 calories. Add in an hour walk and you could be getting close to your calorie burn for the day.

Reaching your goals is a process. As you become more fit and your basal metabolic rate increases, so will the number of calories burned at the same activity level. Good luck!

 

Right now, I am using the housework method of calorie burn right now. We are still getting my father situated in our home (his new home). Things are going well so far.

I am going to spend the weekend going through boxes and trying to sell furniture from a distance! I also have to continue getting the kids ready for school.

 

Have a great weekend!

Loving Life—The Reboot!

Dominique

Comments

  1. Cynthia

    Yasss! Walking is my fave way to destress and burn a few calories. I love tracking my fat burn zone and just maintaining. Great article to motivate me to get out there more often!

  2. Melanie Frost

    This is super helpful for me. I’m petite and need to lose about 10 lbs but exercising never really makes a dent. I’m glad to learn that by adding weights I can increase my calorie burning.

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