Add walking poles to your next workout and burn 25% more calories.  Featured in Oprah’s O! magazine.

 Hike for health
You know by now that walking is one of the best, easiest ways to fit exercise into your vacation. But let’s be honest: Window-shopping down the Champs Elysées is not going to melt away the calories that you soak up at the neighborhood patisserie! Turn an ordinary walk into a high-octane hike with these pointers.

Take a stroller
Who cares if your son’s pushing the big “8”? Plunk him down in a stroller and push him – fast. This way, instead of letting his young legs set the pace, you can push ahead at a nice clip – with extra resistance, to boot!


Stop and go
 Interval training, a.k.a. alternating super-fast walking with a slower pace, can give you an extra calorie burn in a shorter period of time. Use mailboxes or trees to mark your intervals. Maintain a normal pace as you work towards the first landmark, then speed up as you move on to the next landmark.

Stick a pole in it
Poles apart from just walking. Don’t just swing your arms — tone and strengthen them (as well as your core muscles) by adding a pair of fitness walking poles.  You’ll not only burn more calories with each step – you’ll have lots more fun.  Try Exerstrider’s OS2 Series ($89.95 a pair + video at ).  They are great for travel fitness because they can be taken apart to fit into a standard 29″ suitcase.

Get weighed down
Carry some extra pounds and your body work will work harder, upping the intensity. According to the American Hiking Society, simply toting a 10-15 pound pack can increase cardio burn by 10-15 percent. Diapers won’t count for much, but if you stock a backpack with bottled water and a few children’s books, you’re well on your way to bumping up your health.


Kara Mayer Robinson is a regular contributor to TMOM.