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How Does Walking Increase Metabolism?

by
author image Frank Yemi
Frank Yemi has been a professional writer since 2007, and has contributed to several health and fitness magazines. He has worked as a medical fact checker and sports nutritionist in the United Kingdom. Yemi holds a Bachelor of Science in medical physiology, as well as a Master of Science in applied sports nutrition.
How Does Walking Increase Metabolism?
A woman is walking in nature in the rain. Photo Credit Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Walking is a low-impact and effective method of cardiovascular exercise. It’s important to factor in the intensity and inclination level while walking to measure the effectiveness on your metabolism. Metabolism is a process in which substances such as food are broken down and used for energy. A 200-pound person walking at 2mph can lose 255 calories in one hour, according to Panhandle Health. When it comes to walking, how much you boost your metabolism depends on your personal effort.

Making an Effort

When walking, you increase your metabolism with a higher degree of speed, endurance and inclination. Your metabolism burns through calories -- the protein, carbs and fats -- to sustain your energy levels during a walk. By increasing your personal effort when walking, your body increases its demand for energy, which increases your metabolism. Brisk walking uphill or walking moderately for an extended duration of one hour are ways you can rev up your metabolism when walking.

A Walk Uphill

Researchers have found positive results on hill walking’s effect on increasing metabolism. A 2005 review by “Sports Medicine” states that hill walking increases fat metabolism to maintain blood glucose levels. Hill walking is also effective in increasing your metabolism when you walk in a low-to-moderate pace over an extended period. However, older adults and those with a low fitness level are more prone to injury and the effects of poor weather such as hypothermia. Alternatively, walking on a treadmill on incline can provide many of the benefits of hill walking without exposing yourself to adverse weather.

Walking On a Regular Basis

Walking several times per week can effectively increase your basal metabolic rate, which is how fast your metabolism works when you are resting. The “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” found that women who walked for nine hours per week experienced a lower body-fat percentage and an increased basal metabolic rate. The participants in the study who maintained a sedentary lifestyle – of one hour of walking per week -- did not experience the same benefits. Brisk walking for five hours per week will provide similar metabolic benefits in less time due to the increase in pace and energy

Getting More from Your Workout

To intensity your walking session you can strap on wrist weights or a weight vest. Other weighted clothing such as ankle weights disrupts your walking mechanics, while hand weights can increase your blood pressure when it’s gripped tight. The American Council on Exercise recommends you use between 1-to-3 pounds for wrist weights and wear weighted vest between 5-to-10 percent of your body weight.

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