The rule with trying to lose weight is to burn more in exercise than what you eat. Eating healthy reduces the chance of you over eating and taking in more calories than you would burn off.

I'm looking to try and increase the amount of work I would need to do for my daily 15 minute walk. If I wore a bag or backpack and weighed it down with books so that I would be carrying more weight when I walk, would this increase how much I would burn from just walking? would this (adding weighted bags) work with any exercise?

  • 1
    Whilst I don't know if you're over or underweight- it's possible you could adjust your focus. Exercise and loosing weight aren't opposites. In fact weight bearing exercise can build muscle mass. You'll weigh more, but you might be leaner, fitter, and thinner!
    – anon
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 15:20
  • ...and muscles burn energy, so you'll be able to eat more without putting on weight!
    – anon
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 15:23

3 Answers 3


As pointed out by other answers it would indeed increase the energy burned. However I wouldn't recommend you add weight to your bag. Children some times get scoliosis and other back issues from carrying heavy bags to school every day. The heavy load might have an effect on you over time. Of course this is a small walk and it shouldn't have a big effect but I wanted to point that out.

Going for a light jog for 30 minutes should burn around 500 calories depending on your weight and pace of running. That would also increase cardiovascular health alongside other benefits of running. If you don't have the time for a 30' run every day/couple of days you could try walking faster but farther as you would get to work at the same time you'd simply have burned more calories.

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    Lots of kids take heavy bags to school, but only 1% of the population has a form of scoliosis.
    – user13869
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 11:29
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    @user1108 Then I suppose I'm mistaken there. I have found some numbers that indicate otherwise but nothing trustworthy enough to link here. Thanks for your comment.
    – George K
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 12:47
  • There's abig difference between a backpack slung over one shoulder of a growing child and a well-fitting backpack on two shoulders of an adult
    – Chris H
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 13:11
  • Fair enough @ChrisH, speaking from personal experience, my lower back hurts when carrying weight. Obviously this is only a short walk, but the example shows some possible effects.
    – George K
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 13:29
  • There's a big difference between lower back pain from carrying weight and scoliosis. The lower back pain might be any of: a medical issue; a bag fit issue; core weakness; unfamiliarity; or a combination (etc.). Any or all of these might or might not affect the OP, but note that I'm not saying you should do it carelessly.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 13:52

Yes, I believe it's known as rucking and is a staple of military training (note: so I've read, I have no personal military experience).

Dan John talks extensively about loaded carries if you want to try something slightly different. These are great for increasing work capacity, burning more calories, increasing strength and endurance, and just making you tougher all round (because hugging a sandbag to your chest and trying to walk while it's trying to crush you is character building).

In short, if you get bored just wearing a weighted backpack, while walking, you can try hugging it to your chest, carrying it in one hand (note: swap hands at the half way point), carrying it overhead (you may get weird looks from people), carrying it overhead in one hand (likewise), carrying it across your shoulders, carry it on one shoulder, put it in a sled and drag it, put it on a sled and push it, put it in a car and push the car, put the backpack on a friend and give the friend a piggy back... ok, so I'm getting a bit carried away, but you get the idea, there's several different things you can do with a loaded backpack :)


Yes, more total weight means your legs have to push forward more mass, and therefore burn more calories. When using proper weight distribution, it behaves like more body mass (from a mechanical standpoint), which can be calculated or looked up online. Using weighted bags is common when training for a hike (which is where I come from), to get used to it.

Just make sure to use a proper backpack. Ideally, with a center strap (the shoulder straps pull at the central strap connecting them, not at your shoulders) and maybe a stiff backside and hip strap (transfer weight directly to the legs, without moving through your back first). The less the weights wiggle and wobble around, the less strain on your back. Personally, I went up to 35kg weight on a DIN A4 sized backpack without any complications.

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