Ways to improve your walking workout

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - You can burn as many calories walking as running ... if you do it right.

Michele Stanten, an ACE-certified personal trainer, walking coach and author of "Walk Your Way to Better Health," said to boost your metabolism and burn more calories, take these steps to maximize your workout:

1. Stand tall - this allows your legs to swing more freely.

2. Look 10 to 20 feet ahead instead of looking down. This helps you fill your lungs with oxygen it needs to power through.

3. Avoid swinging your arms across your body you'll lose energy faster. Instead, pumping your arms up and down will help you engage your upper body and core.

4. Take smaller, quick steps

5. Consider competing against yourself. Count the number of steps you take and try to beat that number each time or try matching a friend, who can also hold you accountable.

6. The longer or harder you work out, the more time it will take your body to return to normal. That means you'll burn calories even after your workout. 

Stanten suggests this interval guide to getting the most post-workout calorie burn:

Warm up by walking at an easy to moderate pace for three minutes. You should be able to hold a conversation with a friend.

Speed up to a brisk pace for 30 seconds. At this pace, you're moving pretty quickly and will find it harder to speak in full sentences.

Go fast for 20 seconds. You're walking at your top speed at this point, so be sure you can sustain it for the entire time.

Sprint for 10 seconds by giving it everything you've got. You can't carry a conversation at all at this pace and might be breathing heavily.

Repeat the 30-, 20- and 10-second set of intervals for four minutes, followed by a 1-minute recovery at a moderate pace.

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