Primal Blog

Hiking For Weight Loss

How Hiking Helps You to Lose Weight

Have you ever gone on a long hike and felt exhausted and like you had burned a thousand calories? The reason is because hiking is an excellent way to get fitness! Take a look at these different ways hiking can help you to lose weight.

It Helps You to Lose Inches

In addition to burning calories, hiking is also going to help you to lose those inches. Even if the pounds aren’t coming off on the scale, this doesn’t mean you aren’t losing weight! You might be gaining muscle through the workout, which means you are burning fat and not necessarily pounds. It is a good idea to take your measurements on the same day as weighing yourself so you can compare those numbers as well. You might also notice that if the scale doesn’t move, you still have clothes that are suddenly looser.

You Get More Energy For Other Activities

Hiking is a great form of energy as well. You would think it would make you more tired, but this type of exercise activity boosts your natural energy level. If you hike earlier in the day, you will feel energized for the rest of the day, which might include more fitness or just being more active in general. This too can help you to burn more calories and lose weight in the process.

It Has Ways to Boost the Calorie Burn

Don’t forget that just hiking alone burns a good amount of calories, but you can increase this exponentially with just a few methods. You can carry a heavier pack, choose trails with obstacles or steeper hills, or try to move around your arms more while hiking to get more muscles working and calories burning. Bringing an activity tracker really helps you to see how much you are burning so you know when you want to increase the intensity.

How Many Calories Do You Burn While Hiking?

This is definitely one of the top reasons people will hike for weight loss. In about an hour of hiking, the average man or woman burns between 450-500 calories. This is compared to around 300 or more with regular walking. You are using more muscles and going up and down hills, which is going to burn more calories in the same amount of time as walking around your neighborhood. However, the most accurate way to tell how many calories you are burning is to wear a fitness tracker.

When you are hiking, you are burning a high amount of calories, more than many other fitness activities. This is because hiking is not just regular walking, but you are carrying weight, going at different speeds, and often going up and down various inclines. Take a look at how many calories you can potentially burn while you are hiking.

The Average Calories Burned

The first way to know how many calories you may have burned during a hike is to look at the average calories burned. This is usually based on an average man or woman and is calculated per hour of hiking. The average amount that an adult between 160 and 200 pounds will burn in an hour of hiking is between 450 and 550 calories per hour. There is a lot that goes into these numbers, so this is nothing more than an approximate number. You should use more specific data to figure out how many calories you can burn during this type of workout.

Looking at Your Weight and Calories Burned

A better way to look at how many calories you can burn while hiking is to consider your weight and the speed of walking. For example, if you are going on more of a casual hike at about 3.0 mph and you weigh 180 pounds, you might burn 270 calories for that hour. However, someone that is hiking uphill for an hour that is the same weight burns between 575 and 600 calories per hour. The number difference is huge, so even when using tables, it can vary quite a bit for each person.

Using an Activity Tracker

As you might have guessed, the most accurate way to tell how many calories you have burned while hiking is to use an activity tracker like a Fitbit. You will wear this tracker on your wrist and connect it to an app on your phone or mobile device. You let the tracker app know when you are about to start the hike and when you stop it. It will look at the calories you have burned, which goes based on your movements, weight, and other statistics. Nothing is going to be exact to the number, but since this uses advanced tracking technology, it is going to be closest to the number of calories you actually burn for this type of exercise.

Ways to Burn More Calories While Hiking

If you are hiking for the sole purpose of losing weight, then naturally you want to burn as many calories as possible. Here are some different ways you can hike and increase how many calories you burn overall.

Find the Hills and Challenging Areas

When you are hiking in order to lose weight, you want to pick the trails that are more difficult. This usually means looking at the challenging areas of the hike. Perhaps there is a hike where it isn’t just flat ground around a mountain, but there are steep inclines in several areas, hills to walk up and down, and perhaps even obstacles like large walks you need to walk over. This gets more muscles working and burns more calories than just a simple hike.

Carry a Heavier Pack

Another good way to burn more calories during your hike is to have more resistance. You can do this with a heavier pack, similar to when you wear weights on your ankle during aerobic activity. You are going to burn more calories when there is more resistance from the weight in your pack. Either stock up on more goods, or carry some extra water bottles to weigh it down. However, be careful of how much your shoulders and back can handle, as you don’t want an injury.

Focus on Difficulty, Not Distance

As mentioned in the first section, burning more calories on a trail means choosing the trail wisely. Aside from looking for hills and other challenges, check out the difficulty level, often with a rating, of the trail. Most parks and nature trails will post how difficult the hike is. Don’t just focus on the length and how long you will be walking, but on this difficulty level. It really makes a much bigger difference than you might imagine. But don’t just go for the hardest trail first; work up to it gradually so you don’t get so tired you can get back down.

Have Good Form

Your form during a hike also makes a difference, though you might not have considered it. If you are tired midway through your hike, you might notice your body starts slouching and you aren’t tightening those ab muscles anymore. You might still be getting a good burn, but are decreasing how many calories you could be burning. Keep standing up straight, move your arms and tighten your muscles as much as you can.

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