Walking and hiking are the most popular forms of exercise the world over, but how many calories does hiking really burn?
It’s viable to use hiking and walking as your sole fitness routines to achieve optimal health, physical performance and even reap the weight loss benefits if you do it enough.
Walking a mile isn’t going to burn the same number of calories as running one, but becoming a runner is hard and not for everyone. Some people are never going to feel the love for running that some do, and that’s where hiking can be a great compromise between the two.
You can burn 215-670 calories in 30 minutes of hiking, but it all depends on how much you weigh and the type of hiking.
Here are some estimates of how many calories you’ll burn during 30 minutes of hiking.
Hiking cross country
If you weigh 150 lbs, you can burn approximately 215 calories in 30 minutes.
If you weigh 200 lbs, you can burn approximately 285 calories in 30 minutes.
Hiking up hills
If you weigh 150 lbs, you can burn approximately 250 calories in 30 minutes.
If you weigh 200 lbs, you can burn approximately 330 calories in 30 minutes.
Read on for some of the most important benefits you will get from hiking.
Hiking Increases caloric burn… Burning calories isn’t the most important thing when it comes to exercise, but it can still make a significant contribution to a weight loss or maintenance program. Hiking is going to burn a lot more calories per hour than walking does. Judging by the increase in your heart and breathing rates, the uphill portion of hiking is similar, from a calorie-expenditure perspective, to that of a moderately-paced run.
Hiking is a logical progression… Mentally it’s easier to push yourself while hiking than it is while running. If you’re ready to rev up your exercise routine, but running isn’t in the cards (whether due to an injury or lack of interest), then hiking is a great alternative. If you’re looking to eventually run, hiking is also a great gateway exercise as it will build up your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your leg muscles when you’ve plateaued with your usual walking routine.
Hiking is easier to get to than you think… Hiking can be done anywhere there’s a hill. You don’t need to drive out to the mountains to go for a hike, and for the beginner, there are usually plenty of areas within a very short drive that have big enough hills to get the same physiological effect. For those of you who can’t access a hill, walking on a treadmill at an exaggerated incline will create a similar experience, though we do suggest getting outside.
Hiking can be social and adventurous… If you live in an urban area, hiking can make for a great weekend activity. You may want to get out somewhere with an amazing view at the top and/or take friends with you. Aiming to be the first at the top is built-in motivation and you’ll be experiencing each other in a new setting. Instead of sitting watching a movie together for a few hours, why not get out and challenge your family and friends to push themselves in an outdoor setting, not to mention the benefits of fresh air.
Hiking is a total-body workout… Though most of the motion happens from the waist down, your arms can get worked more if you use trekking poles. Even if you don’t, there’s going to be a lot more swinging and pumping arm movement than with walking.
Your core will be more engaged to keep your body stable while going over rougher terrain, while the butt, thigh and calf muscles will be burning by the time you’re through.
Your lower body will become stronger, more toned and muscular with hiking than with a less varied walking routine. Finally, because it’s harder cardiovascular work, your heart and lungs will get a great benefit as well.
So grab a pair of shoes with good grip and take a friend. Find some hills in your local area and have at it. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Taking water and a cell phone is a good idea.
Start with something smaller and see how you feel about the exertion. If you like pushing yourself and the satisfaction of reaching the top, then you should be ready for something more challenging.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the pace, and built up the stamina to try something riskier, you’ll need to do more planning. The more challenging hikes require extra time and money, but it beats a Sunday on the couch doesn’t it? And, when the people at work ask you how your weekend was, you’ll have tales of adventure, plus pictures and memories that last.