hiking May 12, 2024

Why Does Hiking Burn So Many Calories

hiking calorie burn

Why Hiking Burns So Many Calories and Hiking Calorie Burn

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity that not only allows you to explore nature and enjoy beautiful scenery, but also provides a great form of exercise. It is well-known for its ability to burn a significant amount of calories, making it a favorite among those looking to maintain a healthy weight or lose some extra pounds. But why exactly does hiking burn so many calories? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind hiking`s high calorie burn and how you can maximize its benefits.

The Physics of Hiking

Hiking involves walking on uneven, natural terrain such as hills, mountains, and trails. This type of terrain requires more effort and energy to navigate compared to walking on flat, smooth surfaces. A study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology found that walking on natural terrain can increase energy expenditure by up to 28% compared to walking on a flat surface. This means that for every mile you hike, you are burning significantly more calories than you would by walking the same distance on a treadmill or pavement.

Another factor that contributes to the high calorie burn of hiking is the elevation gain. As you hike up steep slopes, your body is working harder against gravity, resulting in a higher calorie burn. A 2018 study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that hiking on a steep incline can increase energy expenditure by 70% compared to walking on a level surface. So, the more hills and inclines you encounter during your hike, the more calories you will burn.

The Cardiovascular Benefits of Hiking

Aside from the physical demands of hiking, it also provides a great cardiovascular workout. Hiking elevates your heart rate, causing you to breathe faster and your blood to circulate more efficiently. This increased activity in your cardiovascular system helps to boost your metabolism, burning more calories as a result.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Aging Research found that cardiovascular exercises, like hiking, can result in significant weight loss due to their ability to increase energy expenditure and improve cardiovascular health. In addition, hiking also helps to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illnesses, making it an excellent form of exercise for overall health and well-being.

Boosting Calorie Burn while Hiking

There are a few things you can do to increase the calorie burn during your hike. First, choose a trail with varying terrains and elevations. As mentioned earlier, the more challenging the terrain, the more calories you will burn. Additionally, try incorporating interval training into your hike by alternating between periods of fast-paced walking or running and slower recovery periods. This will help you to break through plateaus and burn more calories.

Using a weighted backpack is another effective way to increase calorie burn while hiking. The added weight will make your body work harder to maintain balance and stability, thus increasing energy expenditure. However, it is essential to start with a lighter load and gradually increase the weight to avoid injury.

Hiking for Weight Loss and Overall Well-being

Hiking not only provides an excellent way to burn calories, but it also offers numerous other health benefits. Regular hiking can improve muscle strength, boost mood, and reduce stress levels. Being immersed in nature and disconnected from technology during a hike can also have a positive impact on mental health, increasing feelings of happiness and reducing anxiety and depression.

Moreover, hiking is a low-impact activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. So, even if you are just starting on your fitness journey, hiking can be a great way to begin incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine.

In Conclusion

Hiking is an enjoyable and effective form of exercise that can help you burn a significant amount of calories. Its combination of natural terrain, elevation changes, and cardiovascular benefits make it an excellent choice for weight loss and overall well-being. So, grab your hiking boots, hit the trails, and enjoy all the benefits that hiking has to offer.

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