A study by Indian-origin researchers suggests that if you are looking for a simple way to burn more calories while walking, just keep changing your speed. Walking at varying speeds can burn up to 20 percent more calories compared to maintaining a steady pace, the findings showed.
"We found that changing speeds can increase the cost of walking substantially," said study co-author Manoj Srinivasan, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at The Ohio State University in the US.
The researchers found that up to eight percent of the energy we use during normal daily walking could be due to the energy needed to start and stop walking. For the study, they measured the cost of changing walking speeds by having people change their walking pace on a treadmill while its speed remained steady.
"Walking at any speed costs some energy, but when you are 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," first author of the study Nidhi Seethapathi, doctoral fellow in mechanical engineering at Ohio State University explained.
For more tips on how to burn more calories when walking, Srinivasan offers some simple advice: walk in a way that feels unnatural.
"How do you walk in a manner that burns more energy? Just do weird things. Walk with a backpack, walk with weights on your legs. Walk for a while, then stop and repeat that. Walk in a curve as opposed to a straight line," he said.
The results suggest that by using traditional methods, people may be underestimating the number of calories burned while walking in daily life or playing sports. The study appeared in the journal Biology Letters