How You Can Burn More Calories While Hiking

Hiking is an excellent way to burn calories and lose weight when done consistently ((along w/good eating habits).  Did you know there are ways to ramp up your calorie burn even more while hiking?!   Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can help you melt away those extra pounds. Hiking engages multiple muscle groups, boosts your metabolism, and can burn up to 500 calories per hour. So, are you ready to turn the great outdoors into your personal gym? Let’s dive into how you can burn more calories while hiking.

Like anything related to changing your body weight, these methods require dedication and patience, but the results are worth it. Below are some simple techniques you can try to incorporate into your hiking routine to maximize weight loss potential:


Pick Up the Pace


Picking up your hiking pace will increase calorie burning. Adjust your speed to raise your heart rate. Faster hiking for intervals gets your heart pumping. Alternate between faster and slower speeds during your hike. Walk faster on flat terrain and hike slowly up inclines. This strategy delivers an effective cardio workout.

If you’re really feeling energetic, go for short, energizing sprints during your hike. This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) method ramps up your heart rate, maximizes fat burn, and enhances your metabolic rate. However, be aware of and look for potential hazards like roots, rocks, or dips to avoid injuries.


Carry a heavier  Backpack


Adding some weight to your hiking routine will increase the intensity of your workout. Start by carrying a small backpack with water and snacks. Gradually work up to a heavier pack and include some weights for an added challenge. Carry all your hiking essentials in a backpack and reap the benefits of a weight-bearing workout.


Use Hiking Poles


Hiking poles help your body be involved in the hike. The upper body gets a workout gripping and swinging the poles. Carrying poles shifts some walking effort away from your legs to your arms.  Also, using poles improve balance and stability on tricky trails. Add them to gain benefits and intensity without making long uphill stretches more difficult.


Explore Different Trails


This one will keep you hiking longer of course. The longer your active, the more calories you are going to burn. Keep your body guessing and give it a challenge by exploring different trails. Hiking on uneven terrain, uphill paths and changing altitudes keeps your body engaged and boosts the calorie-burning process.

Wear Ankle or Wrist Weights


This one is if you’re really ambitious and looking to maximize your time.  Wearing ankle and wrist weights while hiking will add resistance to your hiking, increasing your calorie burn.  This can definitely wear you out faster though so start with a smaller amount of weight and then work yourself up to more over time.   This can be fun and a great challenge to shape and sculpt  your body while hiking.


Incorporate Lunges and Squats


When you reach a flat, open area during your hike, incorporate lunges and squats into your routine. This will engage more muscles in your legs and glutes, burning more calories while toning them at the same time. Remember not to do these exercises on uneven or slippery terrain to avoid injuries.


Choose Rugged Terrain


This is for the more experienced hiker who needs a great challenge. Scrambling up rocks and roots and navigating through uneven and rugged terrain requires more effort. The more challenging the trail is, the more calories you’ll burn. They offer different sets of activities that require extra muscle groups to work. The more muscle groups involved, the higher the calories burnt.


Stay Hydrated and Bring Healthy Snacks


Hiking is NOT an excuse to eat whatever you want on the trail.  Remember to stay hydrated during your hike by drinking plenty of water and electrolytes ((not soda). This will not only keep you energized but also help your body burn fat efficiently. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, and protein bars to fuel your body. This will prevent you from overeating or indulging in unhealthy food options after your hike.


Increase Distance and Elevation


If you have hit a plateau in your weight loss, then going further and higher could be the key. Gradually increase your hiking distance and elevation can help you burn more calories. This practice will challenge your body by increasing endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. It takes time to develop the stamina to hike longer and steeper trails, but it will maximize weight loss potential.


Get the Right Gear


Hiking with low quality gear can cause all sorts of problems.  You don’t want anything to get int the way from you maintaining a consistent hiking schedule. Losing weight should be inexpensive. You don’t need a $2,000 bike or a $700 gym membership to achieve your weight loss goals. Hiking only requires appropriate gear, which can be bought at a reasonable price. Here’s an essential hiking gear checklist:


Boots: Happy feet mean a happy hiker! Invest in good-quality hiking boots for comfort and protection. Simple leather and fabric boots are available at reasonable prices. Make sure they have grips or studs for stability on slippery terrains.


Clothing: Dress in layers and wear moisture-wicking fabrics to stay dry and comfortable throughout your hike. Avoid nylon or cotton, as they can trap moisture and cause discomfort.


Backpack: Choose a backpack that is comfortable to wear and has enough space for all your hiking essentials. It should have a hip belt, ventilation and plenty of padding.


Sun Protection: You are exposed to sunlight for extended periods while hiking. Protect your skin with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.


Survival Gear: A first aid kit, whistle, map, compass, and headlamp are some essential survival gear to pack for your hike.


Socks: Your feet contribute significantly to your hiking experience. Avoid cotton socks, as they retain moisture and can cause blisters. Invest in good quality wool or synthetic blend hiking socks for maximum comfort. Socks with cushions are good for long hikes. They protect your feet from blisters and hot spots.


Rain Gear: Check the weather forecast before heading out for a hike, but always pack rain gear just in case. A lightweight rain jacket and pants can be easily carried in your backpack.


Make Hiking a Regular Activity


Consistency is key when it comes to losing weight through hiking. Make it a regular activity and schedule it into your weekly routine. Aim for at least 2-3 weekly hikes to see significant results. Make it fun by inviting friends or joining a hiking group. By making it a habit, you’ll not only burn calories but also improve your overall health and well-being.


Have Fun and Enjoy the Scenery!


With any type of activity that you truly enjoy, your chances of staying with it are greater. Have fun and enjoy the scenery while you hike. Take breaks to appreciate the beautiful views and take photos. Remember that hiking is not just about losing weight. It’s also about connecting with nature and enjoying the journey. So, lace up your boots, pack your backpack, and hit the trails for a fun and effective way to lose weight. Remember to keep a record of your progress.


Final Thought


So, how can hiking help me lose weight? In summary, hiking delivers a potent cardio workout, engages various muscle groups, and boosts metabolism, potentially burning up to 500 calories an hour. Embracing the beauty of nature while shedding pounds is a win-win situation. Start hiking today and witness the transformative power it holds for weight loss.



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