When you wear a weighted backpack, you burn more calories because you have to work harder to carry the extra weight. For example, a 150-pound person walking at a rate of 4 mph for 30 minutes burns 175 calories. Add 5 pounds and the same individual burns 181 calories, according to the HealthStatus website. Walking with added weight also puts stress on your joints, including your back and knees. The key to burning calories by walking with a weighted backpack is to ensure that you get the maximum burn with the minimum risk of injury.
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Use a backpack with padded shoulder straps and a hip strap. The hip strap will keep the backpack from bouncing and moving as you walk and protect your back and shoulders. The padding will prevent the straps from digging into your shoulders.
Unzip the backpack and open it all the way. Lay the weights lengthwise inside the strap side of the bag and arrange them from the center out.
Use duct tape to tape the weights inside the bag to keep them in place. You want the weight evenly distributed from top to bottom. Do not let the weights lay in the bottom of the bag, which can pull you off center. Having the weights in the bottom of the bag can also press against and irritate your hips and lower back.
Zip up the backpack and put it on. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the bag is centered on your torso, and secure the strap around your hips.
Walk outdoors or on a treadmill for at least 30 minutes plus a five-minute warm-up and cool-down. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips and your chin level with the ground. Pump your arms as you walk to increase your heart rate.
Incorporate hills and stairs into your routine. Hills and stairs will raise the intensity and increase the number of calories you burn.
Do intervals. Walk at a rate of 3 mph for two minutes, then speed up to 4 mph for one minute. Alternate between fast and slow for at least 30 minutes.
- HealthStatus: Calorie Calculator
- Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- Physiology of Sport and Exercise; Dr. Jack H. Wilmore, et al.