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Walking might not be enough of a cardio to skip a more high intensity activity altogether, but there are some ways to increase your calorie burn while you happen to be doing it. A recent study that took place at Ohio State University found that you can up your calorie burn by 20 percent while you walk, simply by changing up your pace instead of walking at a steady one.

They also found that a lot of that calorie burn comes from the process of actually stopping and starting again. Stopping and starting, or changing pace requires the legs put out more effort to manage the kinetic energy. Pretty much anything you can do to disrupt the pace will help you burn more calories, including walking in zig zag lines. But where does walking fit into a healthy cardio routine?

Believe it or not it can. People who have bad backs might find running challenging and turn to the walking alternative to lower some of the impact. If that’s on your agenda, the best thing you can do is head the above advice and make your walk more complicated than a normal leisurely stroll.

Here’s something else to keep in mind…people who walk fast might actually live their slow walker counterparts. One study found that fast walkers tend to be more healthy. Now this study was done on elderly people, but it most likely applies enough to get something out of it.

To test this they tested the walking times of 34,000 seniors and then continued to retest and measure those results for up to 21 more years. The researchers found a correlation being the speed of movement and how long people ended up living. And it’s not just the naturally fast walkers who were benefitting here either. A follow up study found that people who goy better at walking faster had an adding chance of survival over the next eight years of their life.

Not naturally a fast walker but like the idea of it? Try doing some walking or jogging while wearing a weighted vest, which will naturally make the movements more difficult. The better you can get at speed walking with a weighted vest on, the faster you’ll be able to move in your normal walking life as well. The weighted vest is also a great tool for increasing calorie burn.

Even if you’re not planning an entire cardio session around your workout, you can still make good use of any breaks you take during a run or your interval training. Add in some lunges, walk sideways on the treadmill, or walk in zigzags down the sidewalk or trail if you’re jogging out side. Of course inclines also step up the walking burn. Out in nature there are generally plenty of places to find some natural inclines, and at the gym most treadmills have this feature. Always avoid holding onto the handle bars however which will actually lighten the load and the calorie burn as well.