Walking is an easy workout with many good-for-your-body-and-brain benefits. It can strengthen your bones, improve your mood, and boost your circulation. You don't even need anything special to do it, though a pair of comfy shoes helps. And now, thanks to science, there's a simple way to up the number of calories you burn. Just vary your routine a bit.
An Ohio State University study found that by just switching up how you walk as well as your speed can burn 20 percent more calories because it requires more work from your legs, and that uses up more energy. Researchers also found that people tend to stroll more slowly if their destination is close by--and pick up the pace if they need to walk longer distances.
The bottom line, according to the study: Walk in a way that seems unnatural. Put a backpack on; walk in a roundabout way instead of straight ahead; stop for a few seconds, then start up; or pick up the pace and then slow down slightly. Your waistline will thank you!