It is no secret: Taking a hike sounds a lot more interesting than slugging through an hour on the treadmill. But does it actually burn more calories and lead to weight loss?
If the length, weight of pack, consistency and incline are all increased, hikes have the potential to not only burn much more calories than gym workouts, but lead to long-term weight loss, and even higher caloric burn when at rest. In fact, one study suggests that your metabolism will burn 100-200 additional calories after a strong hike.
Using a simple calorie-burning calculator (there are many available), we found:
- 1-hour hike with hills: 530 calories
- 1-hour walk on treadmill: 237
The added weight, variation and incline of most hikes creates a higher caloric burn. But more importantly, it is fun and interesting, which leads to more hiking. While most gym workouts involve an element of cardio, it is not common to be on a treadmill for a full hour, let alone enjoy it.
An average sized person burns between 400 and 500 calories per hour of hiking.
Consistency - How often? How many hikes? Plan a minimum of one moderate to strenuous hike a week. This can include a half-day hike, such as a mountain peak, visit to a waterfall, coast, or vistas. The attractive destination, along with a regular scheduled trip, will lead to a hiking rhythm, making it much more likely to lose weight over a period of time.
Vary the treks - One challenging hike a week, coupled with daily walks or short hikes, can keep the stamina developing, along with the potential for higher base matabolism.
Use the right gear - Durable hiking boots with thick soles will reduce foot fatigue on the challenging hikes. This can prevent discouragement for painful feet. Also, consider using trekking poles which helps your arms use more muscle . . . lowering the impact on the legs, and burning additional calories from balancing resistance to the upper body.
Hiking style: Consider hiking fast uphill, and slow downhill. This relieves joint pressure, and back pain. (Women's Health Magazine, 2017)
August 18th 2018, EarthTrek Gear, Michael Cutler
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Step It Up: The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities
The Calories Burned Per Hour in Hiking, Sancho Panza 2017, https://www.livestrong.com/article/299000-the-calories-burned-per-hour-in-hiking/
6 Ways to Get a Killer Workout During Any Hike,Brittany Anas, Women's Health Magazine, Feb 28th 2017, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/g19917545/burn-calories-while-hiking/