I tried this 30-minute walking workout—and it burned a surprising amount of calories

Turns out I can boost my step count without venturing outside

Fitness writer Daniella Gray doing a walking workout in a gym setting
(Image credit: Future)

I'm someone who likes to clock up kilometers daily and get my steps in early, but during  winter the idea of trudging outside when it's still dark is less than appealing—so I need another way to boost my steps before I log into emails. 

We know that walking is so good for us, and it’s often underestimated as a decent form of exercise. A 2013 study claimed that brisk walking can offer comparable benefits to heart health as running. 

Instead of battling with the weather, I turned to YouTube for a walking workout that promises to increase my step count from the comfort of my own home. 

Watch Olivia Lawson’s Walk at Home workout

The workout is designed to be easy on the joints, knee-friendly, and aid weight loss. The latter isn’t one of my health goals but I appreciated the low-impact moves, which counteract my usual HIIT sessions and mimic an actual walk. 

Olivia also suggests adding light dumbbells for some of the movements if you want to up the ante. As a side note, the workout is around 38 minutes in total as it includes a warm-up and cool-down, so a little over the promised 30 minutes. 

Three things I found during this walking workout

1. I burned more calories than I expected

I’ve been a health and fitness writer long enough to know that calories burned aren’t always a marker of a good workout, but it was still interesting to compare this walking workout with a typical low-impact HIIT session. 

Despite the lack of jumping exercises and short intervals of around 40 seconds, I burned 227 calories and clocked up almost 6,000 steps, according to my Apple Watch. 

I compared these stats with an outdoor walk of roughly the same time, and found that my calorie count was around 50 less for my outside stroll. 

Fitness writer Daniella Gray's Apple Watch displaying stats

(Image credit: Future)

2. My brain got a workout too

I have good coordination thanks to years of playing racket sports, but I still had to concentrate when I had to move my legs and arms in sync. The exercises reminded me of an aerobics or dance class, which I enjoyed as it kept things varied and interesting.

3. It won’t be replacing my walk in nature

Don’t get me wrong, being able to rack up my steps from the comfort of a warm gym or my own home is appreciated, especially during winter months. But the mental health benefits of a stroll outside are well-documented, so as soon as the clocks go forward, I’ll be lacing up my walking shoes again for my daily dose of nature.

Daniella Gray is an experienced health and wellbeing writer, and was an Editorial Assistant and Senior Content Writer at Health & Wellbeing magazine, where she got to explore her love of food and fitness. She holds a degree in Print Journalist from Nottingham Trent University and a NCTJ qualification.