Pick Up the Pace
10 ways to run faster—and burn more calories in less time!
Nothing beats running for burning calories, and the faster your feet hit the ground, the more calories you incinerate. Consider this: A 150-pound woman walking at a brisk four-miles-per-hour pace for half an hour burns 145 calories. The same woman running at six miles per hour torches 365 calories, and if she kicks it up to seven miles per hour, she melts 420 calories. The extra 275 calories she burns means she can have a 1.5-ounce dark chocolate bar, with calories to spare—or drop half a pound in a week if she runs daily. Who wouldn't pound the pavement or trails for that? Running pros chime in on techniques to help you accelerate.
While your legs have the starring role, getting your arms in on the action will provide momentum to drive your body forward, says Carolyn Smith, M.D., sports medicine physician at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and co-author of Running for Women (Human Kinetics 2012). "Your arms work together with your leg stride, helping propel you onward so your lower body doesn't need to do all the work."
Expert tip: The arm movement should be fast enough to drive your hands forward, but not your shoulders. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and focus on swinging your arms forward and back instead of across your body. Keep your shoulders low and relaxed and your hands in an unclenched position, as that increased muscle tension expends unnecessary energy, Dr. Smith says. “It also causes your form to break down, which changes your center of gravity.” She suggests practicing by this motion while standing still and holding resistance bands or light weights.