There are hiking pathways in parks, the countryside, the beach, and forests. Since hiking is an outside activity, we refer to it as “green” exercise. According to research, outdoor exercise may have more positive effects on the body and mind than indoor exercise. Without actually being a “exercise,” hiking is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy.
Here’s why: Green exercise is thought to improve enjoyment while reducing perceived exertion, possibly as a result of distraction from the environment. In other words, you are probably taking in the scenery rather than thinking about how hard you’re “working out.” Let’s face it: trekking in the outdoors is much better than using a treadmill.
Health Benifits of Hiking
- Benefits heart health
- Improves metabolic health and enhances weight loss
- Strengthens bones
- Tones muscles and increases muscle strength and mass
- Improves balance
- Improves sleep
- Boosts immune system
- Enhances brain health
- Improves mental health with reduced anxiety and stress and improved mood
- Protects joints and eases joint pain
Hiking VS Walking/Running for Calorie Burn
Hiking frequently involves variations in elevation, which is a beneficial thing since it is a more intensive workout than walking but less strenuous than running. Even relatively small slopes require more energy to navigate up than down. Walking up a 5-percent incline, for instance, burns around 50% more calories than walking on a level surface.
Walking downhill burns roughly 10% more calories than walking on flat terrain since it stimulates your glutes and quads. If you combine hiking with decent snowshoes or shoe ice grips, appropriate clothes, and a region with snowy winters, you’ll have a potent, calorie-burning outdoor activity to do all year long.
MET (metabolic equivalents) units are used to evaluate exercise intensity. The energy ratio used with a specific activity in relation to resting metabolic rate is known as MET. The energy cost of sitting still is about similar to one MET, which is defined as one kcal/kg/hour. The graph below illustrates how using poles and a rucksack when hiking raises calorie expenditure even more.
Safety tips for Hiking
- Hike with at least one other person.
- Stay on the trail and be aware of your surroundings to prevent getting lost. Cell phones may not work on the trail.
- Take plenty of drinking water. Water is best if you desire weight loss. Don’t undo the calories you burn by drinking sports drinks.
- If you plan to hike for longer than an hour, pack a light snack, such as nuts, trail mix, or a high-protein bar, to maintain your energy.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes to prevent injury.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat.
- Watch the weather and take protective rain gear.