If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of corporate life, are tired of working from home, or just want to find a nice way to relax and let loose, then we think there is nothing better than a good hiking trip. It doesn’t even have to be someplace that is far away but this is easier said and done if you are fortunate enough to live close to a hilly area or a mountainous spot. Hiking can be classified as a long leisurely walk normally uphill or on a long path usually in hilly terrain.
It is certainly more of an effort than you would make simply walking on a normal footpath or track at your local park! However, there is a difference between staying healthy with regular exercise and losing weight, so today we are going to answer the question; is hiking food exercise for weight loss? The answer is not a simple yes or no one so we are going to draw out various points to consider so you have a holistic view about hiking as a form of weight loss.
This will be a perfect guideline for all those readers who prefer to be out in the open and enjoy the beauty of nature as opposed to going to a gym, so let’s start with asking why choose hiking?
Why would you want to hike?
The first and most obvious reason as to why you would pick hiking over other forms of exercise or exertion is because, with hiking, you get to take in a lot of the natural sights around you! You will be able to become one with nature and connect with it as well. It is proven that spending some time out in the fresh air and surrounded by greenery can help you let loose and why wouldn’t you want to get in your daily caloric burn in the process?
Another reason why we think that hiking is a good alternative to other forms of weight loss is that it allows you to take a break. There is something known as burnout from work and the stresses of life! It has become much more common now that we have become accustomed to working from home and sitting on our computers for so long. To avoid getting burnt out and wanting to be more efficient at our jobs, in our relationships, and even to attain our goals, we need to take some time out for ourselves!
If you love meeting new people and haven’t been doing that lately due to covid precautions, hiking is a great way to meet new people safely and responsibly! It is a great social activity to get to know and to meet fellow hikers. Hiking with people will also motivate you to burn more calories and lose more weight because this will encourage more time to be spent in this activity.
This is our favorite part! You can save a ton of money if you choose to hike instead of other activities especially the gym! Your membership running out should not be the reason you are motivated to go to the gym! If you want to lose weight, you need to have the right kind of drive and if you can save money in the process, why not?
Finally, if you are a nature photographer, you like to bird watch, or just want to get closer to wildlife, then hiking is an excellent way to achieve that because you will certainly meet various birds and small mammals along the way! Always wanted to see a brown bear? Well, now you might finally get to! Of course, we recommend this be done from a safe distance but you get our point!
Now, let’s move onto the main benefits of hiking when it comes to weight loss.
It is an all-rounder when it comes to exercise.
Nothing could be truer about hiking than this point! The best thing about hiking to lose weight is that even if you don’t want to at first, the path or trek that you are on will make you pick up some speed. If not speed, you will find yourself struggling to work against gravity and go up that steep path with more determination. This is not something that you have while you jog or simply take a stroll.
If you want a complete body workout, we recommend also taking along a trekking stick so that your arms can get in on the action as well. This is also a great way for beginners to have something to put their body weight against for support. It can make the task easier along with engaging your arms in as well! In terms of the parts of your body that it engages with, your legs, calves and even your thigh muscles will be feeling a lot of burns. With a steady progression, you will find that it becomes much easier for you to breathe while trekking as it helps exercise the lungs too!
Slow and steady!
As we mentioned before, with hiking you do not just achieve your goals in one day! Let’s face it no matter how in shape you are, you wouldn’t expect to hike up a long and winding path on your first try. This is fine because that’s exactly how you should view weight loss as well. As a steady progression.
You will find yourself struggling to put the right amount of exertion on yourself initially but with time you will figure out that you are getting better and better at pushing through. The other great thing about hiking is that it is a great way to start building up your lower body muscles in case you are trying to start running or partake in competitive sports.
It allows you to increase your endurance
If you are quite out of shape and haven’t partaken in any exercise for quite some time, we believe hiking might be the best outlet for you to start with! This is because the very nature of hiking pushes a person to increase their daily endurance level. A good example of this is going up a trek or path that you think is super tricky.
On the first day, you might feel like you’re never getting up there but with resiliency and the determination to attain your goals, you will find yourself getting better and better each day! The thing about hiking is that you might also be higher up when hiking and this allows you to exercise your lungs and your heart simultaneously.
High intensity vs. low-intensity workout
To compare, low-intensity workouts are those forms of exercise where you are working slower and for a longer period to lose calories. These are aerobic and hiking is one of them! On the other hand, high-intensity workouts are anaerobic and this means that they include quick displays of exertion such as burpees, squats, and pushups.
This is why when you are hiking, it might take longer for you to see results as compared to a 30-minute cardio workout. This is because a high-intensity session targets the fat directly since the exercises have been formed to do so. It is quite easy to incorporate some vigorous and fast-paced exercises within your hiking trip to get a nice variation of both kinds of workouts. This gets the best results in our opinion.
It is great for introspection
Most of what we have written today will address the physical benefits of hiking as a form of weight loss, but there is another great reason why you would want to commit to hiking as part of your daily routine! Your mental health. This is a subject that we all brush under the rug and sideline because let’s face it, it’s still a taboo topic in society. However, that does not mean that we shouldn’t talk about it!
We have mentioned before that going outside and getting some fresh air is great for your body but it is just as vital for your brain. Studies have shown that connecting with nature in a leisurely way can help get us out of our slumps and staring at a screen isn’t helping so why not spend our time more carefully when we can? You will find yourself rejuvenated and feeling much more refreshed after a good long hike and you will be more efficient as well.
It can be very fun!
Whoever decided that losing weight meant spending hours locked up in a stuffy gym setting did not take into account that humans are social creatures! We crave social interaction and we love to attach meaning to almost everything! That is why it is so crucial that we add activities such as hiking into our overall routine! Hiking can be an effective and also quite a fun way to lose those extra pounds. You can take your family, your friends or even go alone and find some peace in these troubling times!
We have some excellent tips on how to increase weight loss via hiking!
If you recently started hiking and you feel as if it is not exactly helping you reduce weight in the way you wanted, we recommend that you focus on bringing variation into your routine! As we have discussed earlier, hiking is a low-intensity workout because it is not targeting any one specific part of your body more than the others. So to add a little variation to your hike, we recommend the following additions to your normal hiking session to get the best results.
1. Pack your trekking stick
This is a very important factor! If you want to lose weight in your upper body you need to find a way to keep your arms, shoulders, and back engaged as well! To make that a reality, we would recommend that you make use of a trekking pole or stick because it allows you to engage with the upper body as well. You can find tons of amazing options online as per your height and weight so investing in those is a good idea.
2. Start running
If you want to turn any low-intensity workout into a blood-pumping high-intensity activity, we recommend that you try to add some running and jumping into the mix! Even if you only do this for a couple of minutes, it will be a great place to start as it will allow you to build up some momentum and build your stamina as well! Running up a hill especially if it is steep will push you and your body!
3. Go slow on the descent
Just as we recommend going up quite fast, we also recommend that you come down just as slowly. There is a method to this madness just bear with us! The point behind this is that if you want to burn more calories and lose more weight, the important thing to target is your fat! When going down slower, your muscles will work harder to resist gravity and you will lose more in the process.
4. Bring more stuff!
As we will mention ahead, one of the most crucial elements on a hike will be your trusted backpack! It will contain all of your essentials and useful items that you might need to enhance your hiking experience. So, if you want to figure out an easy method of reducing weight and burning some fat, simply add more weight to your bag!
It’s simple and yet it will ensure that you get a little more struggle in between! The easiest thing is to pack either a bigger bottle of water or to carry food. You need them both anyway so why not?
5. Bring your pet
Are you a pet owner? Do you wish you could spend more time with your dog? Then we suggest that you bring your furry friend along for your hike! Handling a dog while on a hike might be an excellent motivation for you to jog, run and speed up each time your dog sees a squirrel. Of course, you will have to take the appropriate measures such as bringing them on a leash but this could be a quite fun-filled activity for the both of you and you could end up losing more weight!
As an important side note, we recommend that you also try to keep the following essentials with you when you are going off to hike! These are not all mandatory (apart from a few) but we still recommend that you try to bring these along since they will allow you to have a safer experience when out hiking.
Here is what you might need!
- A backpack to fit in all your essentials. This should be lightweight and must have straps that offer correct back and shoulder support so it is not hard to carry it throughout your journey.
- Always pack sunscreen because you cannot predict how high the sun will be and you do not want to get a sunburn!
- We also recommend a good pair of sturdy boots meant for hiking. These can be any durable and comfortable shoes that you own but we recommend something with a bit of traction.
- You never know what might happen, so keeping a bottle of water and some food such as granola bars or sweets is a good idea! This will allow you to keep your blood sugar level up in case the hike is too much for you.
- Even if the weather is on the warm side, we recommend that you pack a sweater or a shawl just in case it gets colder at night. When you jog you might burn up a sweat and you don’t want to catch a cold.
- It’s a no brainer that even if you are going hiking to get away from technology, you will need to take your smartphone along for any emergencies!
- No matter what else you keep in your backpack, a small and basic first aid kid is a must! This will include alcohol swabs, bandages, and aspirin among other essentials. In case you have some health conditions, this is a great place to store your medication as well.
- Since you are going out into nature, it will be vital to keep a small pack of bug spray or lotion because those tend to lose effectiveness after a maximum of 4 to 5 hours. Keeping bear spray is also a good idea if you are going in areas where they are found! Better safe than sorry!
- If it is forecasted to rain, a raincoat is a good idea, alternatively, in case you are going in the early hours of the day, we recommend that you get a hat instead! For night and evening time, a flashlight is a good option!
- If your goal is to lose weight, the most important thing is to keep track of your progress! A fit bit is an excellent method to keep track of your heart rate, blood pressure, and the miles that you have hiked! This might also be available on your smartphone via an app.
If you follow all of the above recommended, you will certainly have a safe and fruitful time spent out hiking. Now that we have seen all the potential benefits of hiking, have given you a detailed overview of the best tips to lose weight via hiking, and have given you extra tidbits as well, we have reached the conclusion part of our article!
So what’s the verdict with hiking as a form of losing weight?
So, with all the information that we have and with the insight we hope you now have, what is the answer to the question; is hiking good exercise for weight loss? The answer is a definite yes! Although it depends on your predisposition, your preferences, and of course your stamina, we believe that hiking might even be more beneficial than going to the gym! If you are someone who has trouble following instructions via their gym instructor or those who just want to have a good time while they lose weight, then hiking is perhaps the best method to lose weight!
If you can make hiking into a regular activity or at least something that you do twice a week, it is proven to be a better form of maintaining your weight loss as well! If you are tired of fad diets or paying hefty gym fees, then why not make use of the beauty nature has to offer instead? Since it is most likely going to be a slow yet steady progression of more and more miles, this will also show you better results! You will see the difference much quicker!
One of the worst things about toning down in a gym is that you have to increase your caloric intake as well. This is also recommended with hiking but in a more freeing way. You get to decide how much your body thinks is good as opposed to stuffing down protein powder.
The most important thing to remember about hiking as a form of weight loss is that you will have to make it a regular activity eventually. This is the only way you will see results. However since it will work every muscle on your body, you will feel like you have more stamina and thus you can set new goals each week!
We recommend that you do not take the easy way out and stick to just one path that you have become familiarized with! This will keep you healthy, sure, but for weight loss, you need a variety of exercise and activities to keep different cores of your body engaged! Another important consideration is always going to be your caloric intake. Since it will take some time for you to see results, this should not mean you also reduce your food intake to see them quicker!
The only thing that will happen is that you will not have the energy or the stamina to continue with your exercise regime and you might even cause harm to your body by pushing it too much without the right kind of nutrients! Simultaneously, we recommend that you increase your water intake by a lot. It will help you feel fuller and refreshed and will also help you burn calories.
In conclusion yes hiking is a good exercise for weight loss but it will only be as effective as you wish to make it! We hope that this article has been helpful as a guide and it is important to remember that each person has a personalized way that works best for them. All you have to do is find yours! Happy hiking and good luck!