Every year, millions of hikers step out to satisfy their adrenaline rush and inhale the fresh, natural air. For some, hiking is just a passion, while for others, it’s a healthy way to burn their extra fat. But does hiking actually help you get rid of fat or is it just a myth?
Scientifically speaking, it does. Being a powerful cardio workout, hiking helps in improving blood pressure, sugar levels, bone density, and hence, fat levels. In all those hefty yet fun hiking moments, you are losing more calories and carbon dioxide than on your regular walks; isn’t that breathtaking?
So, how does hiking burn fat, and how much should you hike to surpass ideal weight expectations? Read the whole thing to clear your curiosities.
How Does Hiking Burn Fat?
When we start a new workout routine like hiking, our body burns fat in two ways. Firstly, it utilizes the energy stored in fat cells for activity. Secondly, it prevents fat storage in these cells.
But before using fat, our bodies metabolize carbs as a fuel for energy. So, when you’re hiking on long terrains, you consecutively demand more energy. This demand is fulfilled by consuming the energy stored in proteins and, later, fats.
Now, since hiking is a form of cardio workout, it boosts your heart rate, increases metabolism, and breaks fats in the form of calories. Much of these calories are excreted via the lungs.
How Much Weight Can You Burn With Hiking?
The amount of fat or calories burnt during hiking depends on your weight, backpack weight, sex, age, temperature, and most importantly, the steepness of the trail you take.
According to the CDC, a 154-pound person burns around 370 calories per hour. But again, the number varies from person to person because of the factors mentioned above.
How Often Should You Hike To Lose Weight?
Since you burn more than 300 calories for every hour hiked, doing it for 3 hours will help you lose 900 calories. That’s a good figure for someone highly focused on losing weight. The best part is that those three long hours will be spent less strenuously and in the presence of nature.
However, ideally, you must hike three times a week to trigger the perfect weight loss program.
Does Hiking Burn More Calories Than Walking?
Even though many people mix hiking with walking, both are different in energy consumption.
Yes, hiking burns more calories than walking and fewer calories than running. On average, the same weighted person burns 193 calories via walking compared to 300+ calories burnt per hour via hiking. Here’s why:
Uneven Surfaces Are More Challenging To Walk on
Did you know our body consumes 28% more energy walking on uneven surfaces than flat terrains? The reason is apparent. Uneven surfaces require more effort to turn and twist around leg muscles than a flat track. That’s one reason that makes hiking a more energy-demanding exercise than brisk walks.
Hiking Brings More Physical Activities
When you are hiking, you are not just walking. Instead, you walk with ‘nature’, which differs from having a stroll in your office garden. So, when you’re done with hiking, you can involve yourself in other physical activities that you might not experience with regular walking.
For instance, you can take a break near your parked trailer and catch a catfish by the pond. It’s like switching from one enjoyable physical activity to another. That’s why hiking takes more browny points than walking.
Hiking Obstacles Require More Energy
Whether walking or hiking, obstacles or hurdles will always come in your path. It depends on you; whether you step over them, walk beside them or push them away. When the obstacle is a stone, or a brick, as experienced during walks, you don’t need much effort to remove them.
But during hikes, you’ll encounter challenging hurdles, like roots, rocks, fallen trees, and more, that aren’t easy to hover. So, it will increase the energy demand and, as a result, will help lose more weight.
Hiking Involves Core Muscles
Unlike walking, hiking engages more core muscles of your body. Rough tracks benefit your abdominal muscles and lower back with more workouts, leading to more demand for energy.
That’s why running holds the best rank in losing fat. But, you are still involving more core muscles than during a regular walk, so that’s why hiking is more beneficial for losing belly fat.
To sum up, hiking is a form of cardio that accelerates heart rate and boosts metabolism, which causes fat to burn and release calories, mainly through respiration. In addition, it burns more fat than walking and is a more enjoyable and effective way of losing weight than regular walking.