By Tracy Teare
Get some poles
Using Nordic poles torches an average 20 percent more calories by engaging the muscles in your upper body and torso, says Mark Fenton, author of The Complete Guide to Walking. Plant the pole firmly at a 45-degree angle behind you, then push back forcefully against the ground to propel yourself forward.
Skip killer hills
Don’t assume the biggest inclines are the best for burning fat. “It’s better to maintain your speed on a moderate hill than to slow down substantially on a steeper one,” Fenton says.
Use your arms
Vigorously pumping your bent arms helps you go faster—and burn more calories, says Lee Scott, walking coach and director of WoW Power Walking in Toronto.
Take smaller steps
The best way to boost your speed—and thus your burn—is to take shorter, faster steps, Scott explains. Time yourself walking 100 steps, then recover for one minute. Count another 100 steps, and try to shave five seconds off your time. Repeat 12 times.
Set goals you can see
Choose markers (stop sign, park bench, etc.) and speed up until you reach them, suggests Therese Iknoian, author of Fitness Walking. Slow down for the same distance.
Wipe the pavement
Roll through from heel to toe. When you get to the ball of your foot, push off as if wiping gum off your sole, Iknoian says. This will get your calf, hamstring, and glute muscles involved—and the more muscle you use, the more calories you burn.
Go shoe shopping
To get the most power from your push-off, opt for a shoe with minimum cushioning and maximum flexibility in the front of the shoe, Fenton says.
When your body’s aligned, your back and butt muscles are able to work more powerfully, so you walk faster and torch more calories. Stand tall with a straight spine, keeping your ears and shoulders aligned over your hips.
Raise your rate
Wearing a heart-rate monitor is like having your own coach keeping you at optimal fat-torching pace. “It’ll give you a push if you’re slowing down too much, but also get you to ease up if you’re pushing too hard,” Iknoian says.
Simple moves like push-ups and lunges get more muscles involved for major burn, reveals Harley Pasternak, who trains many celebs, including our November cover celeb Hilary Duff. When you walk, stop every five minutes and do one minute of moves. This will help up your metabolism over the long-term, too. What’s better than burning more calories while you walk? Blasting them off while you sleep, of course.