How to Burn Way More Calories Walking

Molly Hurford
by Molly Hurford
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How to Burn Way More Calories Walking

While walking at a relaxed pace has major health benefits — and for sedentary people, it can be a great start to an exercise program — walking isn’t necessarily a calorie-torching activity. But if you’re looking to burn extra calories on foot, consider amping up your activity with these five tricks:


Use your surrounding environment to break a sweat on a walk. Seek out the hills instead of avoiding them. If you don’t live in a hilly place, even doing hill repeats on the same hill gets your heart pumping.


Trails require more coordination and all-body stability to navigate roots and rocks than a plain paved road or sidewalk. Also, according to recent studies, the bonus time spent in nature versus on city streets will make you happier and more energized in the long run.


Whether it’s carrying your groceries home from the market or wearing a weighted vest on a power walk, taking on an extra load burns extra calories. Just make sure you’re carrying things evenly — switch hands if you’re carrying a bag, or invest in a quality backpack.



You don’t need to start running all the time — but a few fartlek intervals will boost your heart rate and metabolism. As you walk around the neighborhood, simply pick up the pace and do a jog or hard run for a half block or to the next stop sign. Even 10 seconds of fast-paced running done a few times can have major benefits, and eventually, you might find that you want to add even more running to your routine.



Take advantage of those parks with fitness loops that include stations for different activities like pullups and tricep dips. If you don’t have one of those nearby, you can DIY it by stopping every few minutes and holding a plank for a few seconds, doing a few air squats or walking lunges.

About the Author

Molly Hurford
Molly Hurford

Molly is an outdoor adventurer and professional nomad obsessed with all things running, nutrition, cycling and movement-related. When not outside, she’s writing and podcasting about being outside, training and health. You can follow along with her adventures on Instagram at @mollyjhurford.


49 responses to “How to Burn Way More Calories Walking”

  1. Avatar MaryPatShelby says:

    What is fartlek? As in “a few fartlek intervals” above?

    • Avatar Wendy says:

      Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. Fartlek runs are a very simple form of a long distance run. Fartlek training “is simply defined as periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running.”

      • I quit working at shopritte and after that at present I am getting $75-97$ every hour. How? I’m working via internet! My occupation did not actually make me delighted as a result I decided to take the opportunity on something new…after 4 years it wasn’t easy to leave my day work however right now I couldn’t be pleased.>>> OKNO.UK/r/279j3

      • Avatar John Calvert says:

        Bike riders will do this a lot. i.e. race you to that stop sign.

      • Avatar AZgramO-wing says:

        Hmmm…. when I read it, immediately translation was “fart”-lek to me… which of course is what we all do while running or jogging, unless someone is immediately right behind you, which could be very embarrassing….

      • Avatar nitehawk5 says:

        Wendy: so glad you asked. I thought it was a gastrointestinal issue. LOL

    • Avatar says:

      I was wondering about that too! Ha!! Yes, that makes sense…. I think my dog makes me do that a lot. First she’s gasy but also she gets excited about a mile in and pulls on me till I run with her. I’ve got asthma and struggle with running but fartleking kind of works for me! 😉

    • Avatar Steve Graupner says:

      An example of a Fartlek is, while you are at your normal pcae (walking or running) to pick and arbitrary point (25′ -100′) ahead of you in the distance like a light pole, tree, etc. and run as fast as you can to that point, and then return to your normal pace. When your breathing returns to normal for your normal pace, do it again. Adding fartleks to your walk/run is a great way to improve your normal pace.

  2. Avatar Amber777 says:

    Interval training sounds good however I can not run or jog ever as I have and artificial knee and my doctor says not running on it.

    • Avatar Brett Malone says:

      I have a bad knee as well, Amber – and walking is a big part of my exercise (in lieu of running). What I do is challenge myself to increase my walking speed, slowly increase my walks each week, and find bigger hills to tackle… All of these are knee-friendly actions to add to your walks, as long as you make these additions gradually, so that the muscles supporting the knee have time to adjust to the new workload.

      • I quit working hard at shopritte and after that from now on I’m getting 75 dollars -97 dollars p/hour. How? I am working over the internet! My employment did not make me joyful thus I made a decision to take a possibility on something new…after four years it wasn’t easy to leave my day work but now I couldn’t be pleased.>>> YUK.NU/zC

      • Avatar CalistogaKid says:

        Same here. I can handle walking at about a 13:00/mile pace with no discomfort in my knee and I’ve added a weighted vest a few months ago. Right now, I’ve got 20 lbs loaded and it does increase the effort.

    • Avatar davedave12 says:

      then the article is not for you —

  3. Avatar Daisy Carnegie says:

    If you start jogging on a road or on grass with shoes on,although it is good exercise,it is bad for your mental health. Jogging on the grass with no shoes is better

    • Avatar Gregory T. Wright says:

      I’m diabetic. Diabetes is the NUMBER ONE cause of foot amputation in the U.S. Many diabetics have poor pain sensitivity. I want my feet, so I’ll wear SHOES!

      Greg Wright

      • Avatar davedave12 says:

        she did not mean to tell you to harm your feet you wuss

        • Avatar DJ says:

          I always wore shoes when running. They became old and created blisters on my pinky toes. I chopped off both feet just below the knee to eliminate any desire to buy running shoes again. Problem solved…things like this never mentioned in these articles….

    • Avatar davedave12 says:

      stupidest thing ever said on internet — “running with shoes is bad for mental health”

    • Avatar davedave12 says:

      read Born to Run —- not one single person in the book runs barefoot except Barefoot Bob (who is described as an awhole) he seriously hurts himself

      number of Olympic and college athletes who run barefoot less than 1%

    • Avatar Tom Burkart says:

      I’ve had plantar factitious. No way would I do anything without proper footwear.

  4. Avatar isabelle osowiecki says:

    Try taking walks on dry sand!!! Super duper hard. And if you want to make it harder, running or walking uphill on dry sand. Not everyone has access to a beach but if your on vacation this summer, it’s a great exercise to try !

  5. Avatar davedave12 says:

    the author obviously did not bother to meet me (a person she does not know) and consult with my doctors about my person medical history and preferences before writing this article so the article is no good

    • Avatar Trenton Frye says:


    • Avatar Stefani Barlow says:

      Well duh, you are responsible for your health and whether you can perform the suggested exercises. No article is one size fits all, they’re just tips after all.

    • Avatar Margaret Kalorian Banning says:


    • Avatar Gary says:

      Davedave, in case you were unaware, Dr’s are not required to study or learn ANYTHING about Nutrition or Exercise to attain their degree, which is why when you go to a hospital, or medical office, 95% of them are overweight and out of shape. This is especially disturbing because as a Personal Trainer & a Nutritionist, everytime I present a client with. Program, I am required to have them get it ok’d by their physician. Thats like asking the boxboy at the grocery store to explain an electrical problem in your home, (hint) he doesn’t have a clue.

      • Avatar Not ignorant says:

        Let me ask you this. How many doctors have you actually watched go through med school? I mean up close and personal. Your ignorance of any actual understanding of what it takes to become a physician and your level of disrespect tells me you’ve seen no one go through the process. It takes dedication, hard work and many, many hours of a person’s life to become a doctor. I am watching my daughter go through the process now. She watches what she eats, knows how to eat healthy, exercises on a regular basis AND does all she needs to in order to be successful in med school. One person for sure, but she is not alone among her peers. So, why don’t you stop shooting off your mouth and get a clue…

        • Avatar Gary says:

          Your daughter may be an exceptional individual for sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that over 90% of Drs don’t know Nutrition. I have several clients that are Drs. And they rely on my ability as a Nutritionist to help them eat properly to stay healthy, while others feel that because they are a “Dr” they can write a prescription to take care of the problem. And you can step down off your soap box because YOU ARE NOT the lone ranger sir, and the medical field IS NOT the only field of education that requires many, many hours of hard work and dedication. I have a daughter thats an Architect, try studying PHYSICS, while designing and and developing structures that enhance the environment. Every profession requires hard work and dedication, that doesn’t mean anyone is given a pass on what they DON’T know. Your daughter exercising, and watching what she eats to stay healthy doesn’t mean that she knows or studied Nutrition since she is NOT required to, and as YOU stated, “She does all she needs to in order to be successful in med school.” That being said, exemplifies my point. Having someone authorize, or deny something they know little about is absorb.

          • Avatar Nurseygirl says:

            I don’t know where you live but where I live nutrition is a required course in any medical field. I know for a fact that is also true for nurses and it varies from state to state, country to country. So I don’t know where you get your information from ,but you need to get your facts straight.

          • Avatar Gary says:

            My facts come from Drs that I train, from General practitioners in NV, to Urologists in Georgia, California, Mississippi, and Alabama. Nurses know more about nutrition than Drs generally. And I have had lots of time to question them, since I spent two years in the hospital because a drunk drive in a 5 ton truck ran over me on my motorcycle. I was supposed to die, but I survived, lost 3 inches of my left leg, one of my Kidneys. Reconstruction of my wrist, 8 abdominal & leg surgeries, more broken bones than I care to go into, except that it took 3 years to learn how to walk. Tell me about your facts.

          • Avatar LEANNE MARIE says:

            Your right Gary. Most of my doctors in the past have told me they don’t know a lot about diet and nutrition, but an Indian doctor is pretty knowledgeable, to a degree. Thanks for you input.

          • Avatar Emma Sands says:

            Gary- I’m a Doctor (GP) in the UK. And as part of my training we spent a whole term (a quarter of a year) on nutrition, and 25% of Doctors in England take a year out of Med School to do an extra degree (usually biomedical science or similar) in a year, during which we get options to study nutrition. So i’ve actually done 15 months of nutrition training personally (and this is not unusual).

            As part of our ongoing training (yes…. i’m still studying aged 38) we are expected to attend update courses particularly in managing obesity and risk factors for disease (e.g. cholesterol management) which i’m wholly confident in managing.

            Advising about the Mediterranean diet in Hypertension and the FODMAP diet for IBS, and low fat diets (gallstones) for example, is second nature to me.

            I obviously can’t comment on training outside of the UK, but i would be careful to generalise.

            ps i train 10 times per week- HIIT/ running (marathons)/paddle boarding/weight lifting- most of my colleagues exercise hard! So again- generalising Doctors as being fat, unfit and unhealthy (Or 95% of them) Is wholly incorrect!!

          • Avatar Gary says:

            Emma, you have my utmost respect, and admiration for your active training, and studying. However, my statements were directed on the current status in the US, and there are lots of people calling me stupid, narrow minded, etc, and thats ok, because if they choose to ignore the problem thats their choice. I have spent 2 years in the hospital myself, I work with Drs that refer patients to me for Nutritional advice, and exercise programs to benefit them, I have worked with Drs from at least 5 States, and they are respectable physicians. However, that does not mean that they know about Nutrition, or anything else that they are not trained for. As I stayed, the majority of Drs are not required to, so therefore, unless they go out on there own to study and research, it is not learned. The AMA defines Obesity as being 25 lbs or more overweight, And the general public to be 70% obese, the medical profession is not excluded from that statistic.

      • Avatar JesusHChrist says:

        Bless your heart and your adorable attempts to sound intelligent and informed. Funny thing is, at first I thought “what a d-bag” b/c I know tons of other docs like myself who do, in fact, remember and use much of the education and knowledge around nutrition, excersise physiology, and wellness. It is taught, but very difficult to enforce with patients, most of whom have chronic illness requiring constant management. Dude if you’re living in poverty, wheat grass and intervals aren’t a part of your world. Maybe some day. But you sound like someone who not only hasn’t tried to learn about other people who don’t share your privilege; or you have and internal struggle for you in showing understanding and compasssion is at odds with your more comfortable self-congratulatory and narcissistic self-identity. …then I saw the self-righteous posts are a pattern and realized this one can’t be helped, reasoned with or given further attention to. Best of luck. Remember those steroids shrink your junk and the gym can’t do jack about the face.

        • Avatar Gary says:

          Who said it wasn’t taught, I said it is NOT REQUIRED in order to aquire their degree. And if you are a Dr as you state, why are you blaming patients and or their conditions? Your own ignorance shows in your statements, WHEAT is one of the most widely used unhealthy ingredients one could consume, but because of persons like yourself preaching how healthy it is, along with food manufacturers putting it in everything, massive amounts of consumers of every economic situation suffer with medical problems. Wheat is a direct cause of more digestive problems than anything consumed by human beings. But then that simply insures your financial status doesn’t it? And just for the record, I have NEVER taken steroids in my life, my privates are just fine, and as far as my face is concerned, at 66 years old I look just fine. You however, might have a problem looking in a mirror and seeing the persons that spits out lies about nutrition and health to people who depend on your advice as a Dr. That is of course if you even had a conscience.

      • Avatar davedave12 says:

        you are not too bright are you

      • Avatar davedave12 says:

        so stupid

    • Avatar 2goodhealth says:

      The world is not about you

  6. Avatar davedave12 says:

    fartlek — when someone cuts one, run like hell

  7. Avatar Philli Msdvm says:

    This sounds great. Running is a little harder for me now, but I want to try to work my way up to it anyway. Working in intervals between slow and fast walking will hopefully set me up for that. I also have some wrist weights I’ll start using. Thanks for this article.

  8. Avatar BlkSwan322 says:

    Good article. The facts are well stated – interval training will boost weight loss. Even if a person can’t run, speed walking is a good alternative. The addition of weights and change of terrain are also good options. Thanks for the input.

    The comments by some readers are disheartening. There is no need to put down anyone else because of their physical fitness status or educational background. These articles are general purpose – if it doesn’t fit your needs, feel free to move on to the next one. Or better yet, search for articles that specifically address your needs. Tah-daah! No need to throw shade. <3

  9. Avatar jmac says:

    This was the weirdest conversation I ever read. Seems like we have several unhappy people here. And I am an RN and the dietitians I work with blow the Drs. away. I’m not saying they aren’t knowledgeable but they rely on the dietitians for that specialty. And who would run in unfamiliar grassy areas with no shoes?

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