Walking is one of the top choices for daily exercise, and now researchers from The Ohio State University in Columbus have figured out an easy way to burn more calories as you powerwalk on the treadmill or around the block.
All you have to do is vary your speed.
The study: Led by Nidhi Seethapathi and Manoj Srinivasan, the team conducted walking experiments in Ohio State's Movement Lab. The researchers measured the cost of changing walking speeds by having volunteers change their walking pace on a treadmill while its speed remained steady. Participants alternated between walking quickly to move to the front of the treadmill belt or slowly to move to the back of the treadmill.
Changing your pace, rather than keeping a steady stride, can burn up to 20 percent more calories.
Up to eight percent of the energy we use during normal daily walking could be due to the energy needed to start and stop. Seethapathi likens it to pressing the gas pedal in a car to change speeds.
People walk more slowly when covering shorter distances and increase their pace as the distance increases.
Five tips for burning more calories while walking:
1. Walk in a way that feels unnatural to you.
2. Walk with a backpack.
3. Walk with weights on your legs.
4. Walk for a while and then stop. Repeat.
5. Walk in a curve, rather than a straight line.
The study findings were published in the journal Biology Letters.