Use Hiking To Improve Your Fitness & Health

Hiking is a fantastic workout for burning calories and building..

Use Hiking To Improve Your Fitness & Health

Use Hiking To Improve Your Fitness & Health

Hiking is a fantastic workout for burning calories and building muscles, often times you can even forget completely that you are exercising. While enjoying good company and great views.

In this article you will find calories burned by weight, learn what muscles are used most during mountaineering, and even pick up a few exercises that will help you push through your next outing.

Hiking builds multiple components of fitness simultaneously, predominantly cardiovascular health and strength – especially of the lower body.

Remember there’s nothing better than getting out in the great outdoors in some fresh mountain air! 

What Muscles are Used When Hiking?

Hiking up hills or mountainsides is hard work, and it engages multiple muscle groups in tandem, all while burning a serious number of calories and increasing your aerobic threshold. Here are the muscles used most strenuously:

  • Glutes
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Abdominals
  • Lower Back
  • Obliques
  • Ankle and Knee Complex
  • Inside and Outside Thigh

 

To burn even more calories and to engage the upper body further, consider walking with hiking poles, and think about carrying a bag, that will engage your shoulders and back.

Calories Burned Hiking

How many calories does it burn? The exact number depends on a extensive set of bodily variables, including but definitely not limited to your weight, muscle content, and current fitness level.

Environmental factors will also affect how many calories are burned, such as the incline of your hike, whether or not you are packing weight (and how much your pack weighs), the speed you maintain during your trek, weather conditions, and more.

Weight (lbs)..………………..Calories Burned Hiking
90 ………………………………………….324
100…………………………………………356
110…………………………………………393
120…………………………………………426
130…………………………………………466
140…………………………………………503
150…………………………………………537
160…………………………………………577
170…………………………………………610
180…………………………………………644
190…………………………………………675
200…………………………………………717
210…………………………………………748


These calorie calculations are based off of a trip that involves covering mountains and/or hills.

Exercises & Training

Cardiovascular endurance is a huge necessity for this outdoor sport, especially if the distance you are covering involves a steep or steady incline.

Putting yourself through hiking preparation workouts on the stair climber, or walking on incline on the treadmill at the gym are both good ways to prep your body for the challenge.

You can also use a workout in a safe, controlled environment on the treadmill to get an idea of how long of a distance you can comfortably cover before you start to feel too exhausted; useful information that can help you pick the distance and elevation of your trip before you’re actually on the trail.

Strength training is also imperative to well rounded fitness. This Fitness Blender 1000 Rep Workout is a great example of a routine that boosts both your muscle content and your endurance. Other good things to look out for in hiking workouts are ones built with exercises to build lower body and core strength, especially.

Tip – Watch out for the humidity levels when hiking depending on the weather they can reach 90% + take plenty of fluid’s you don’t want to get dehydrated.  

Have you booked your first hiking trip?

Other Benefits of this hobby

Aside from burning a great deal of calories and providing allover toning, hiking never gets boring. The last place you want to spend the day when it’s nice outside is inside the gym on a treadmill (especially here in England -we don’t get a lot of warm sunny days).

The next time the weather is good and you want to get in a good workout, skip the gym and go out and explore some of your local trails.

Grab a Friend

Hiking can offer wonderful solitude. But a hiking partner can offer motivation and help the intense workouts go by a little faster.

Make sure to find someone who has a similar style and is interested in 45-to 90-minute intense hiking sessions. (That friend who likes to stop and identify plants is probably not the best hiking partner for these particular outings.)

Common Hiking Mistakes to Avoid

They choose the wrong path

Not only do newbies wander onto trails that are too tough, but people looking for an intense workout accidentally choose an easy amble, get bored and go back to the treadmill at the gym.

Hiking trails are usually ranked by difficulty on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 and 2 presenting low risks of real danger. In the third class, you might have to use your hands here and there to balance or scramble.

In the fourth class, you’re using both hands to pull yourself up, and class 5 is basically rock climbing—definitely not for beginners.

Keep in mind, for a rough guide to your level of effort, you should add about two additional energy miles per every 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

So if you’re hiking one mile uphill on a mountain taller than 1,000 feet, it will feel like three miles.

They underpack or overstuff

You don’t want to end up with 25 pounds of equipment for an easy afternoon hike—and you don’t want to be caught empty-handed in an emergency. For a day hike, our pack always contains these essentials:

A map and a compass. National parks are especially good about keeping their maps up-to-date.

Sunscreen and sunglasses, especially if you’re hiking above the tree line. There’s less shade, and UV rays are stronger at higher elevations.

Fluids. She recommends 3 to 4 liters of water for each person in your group. “Many people think that they can fill up their bottles in a river, but drinking untreated water can put you at risk for waterborne diseases.”

Snacks. Instead of breaking at the summit for a big lunch, NOLS instructors like to nibble throughout the day. This way, you maintain your energy levels and avoid the discomfort of overeating. Snacks that combine carbs for energy as well as protein, like trail mix, jerky, and crackers and peanut butter.

A first aid kit with Band-Aids, athletic tape and an antibiotic ointment to clean wounds.

A rain jacket, regardless of the forecast. “Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the mountains, especially in the West, and a jacket is a small thing that will make a big difference.”

A headlamp or flashlight in case you get stuck outside after dark.

They can’t read a map

I have run into strangers in the woods who try to make the map fit the terrain around them.

They think they know where they are. So they look at the map and say, ‘This peak must be that one there; this pile of rocks must be that one over there…’

It’s easy to convince yourself and others in your group that you know exactly where you are.” Your instinct may be to keep forging on optimistically, even if the markers on the map don’t match up exactly to what you see in front of you.

But be ready to change course.

If the map says you should be hitting a bridge soon, and if you don’t hit it in the next 20 to 30 minutes, stop and think about where that bridge might actually be.

Just remember most phone have gprs but if your phone battery runs out then always take a map as back up.

Important – If your going hiking alone, tell someone where your going, even go as far as checking in same time every morning depending on how long your going for.

We have done our very own hiking trip you can find all our pictures on Facebook and on our website. We have even wrote an article covering all the basics of hiking – Click Here

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Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

We eat clean, are always motivated and helpout beginners in need. We sell guides on Cutting, Bulking and Muscle Building. Checkout our website!

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