You may be burning more calories than you think, according to a recent study that found a varying walking pace can burn more calories often not accounted for in traditional measurements.
According to researchers at the Ohio State University, changing up one’s pace can burn up to 20 percent more calories than walking at a constant speed.
“Walking at any speed costs some energy, but when you’re changing the speed, you’re pressing the gas pedal, so to speak. Changing the kinetic energy of the person requires more work from the legs, and that process certainly burns more energy,” study author Nidhi Seethapathi said in a news release.
When taking a walk, alter your movement to use even more energy. Instead of speed walking in a straight line, consider taking a curved path or short breaks.
“Sometimes one of my hardest jobs is motivating my patients to engage in an activity that gets them moving,” says Dr. Steven Fox, internal medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “Setting a goal, such as taking 10,000 steps a day, often helps, and varying your pace would make it more interesting. To stay engaged, also try changing your route occasionally, choosing a specific destination or finding a walking buddy to motivate you along the way.”
Making the most of activities people already do every day are great ways to sneak some physical activity into a busy schedule, Dr. Fox says.
He also recommends taking the stairs or parking further away in the parking lot. These small adjustments add up over the course of time and provide great health benefits.