Exercise Weight Loss Exercises Hiking

If you’re looking to lose weight, consider hiking for exercise. Hiking can be a wonderful departure from jogging or walking on the treadmill. Exploring nature and spending time on hiking trails is enjoyable for almost anyone. Learn how hiking for exercise can help you lose weight.

What is Hiking?

Hiking involves walking through natural terrains. These walks may take place anywhere, from your local park to mountainous terrains. You can find hiking trails that are “easy” to “difficult,” depending on available time, your fitness level and any medical conditions you may have.

Easy hiking trails usually involve shorter walks on paved, level ground. If you’re up for advanced hiking for exercise, difficult hiking trails are more challenging, with hills and unpaved passages.

If you’re interested in hiking to lose weight, experts recommend bringing a partner, especially on more challenging hikes. Most hiking trails are dog friendly too, but check with your local park before you bring Fido.

Hiking Techniques and Tips

If you’re planning on hiking to lose weight, you’ll need appropriate clothing and footwear. On long hiking trails, consider bringing a hydration pack to hold water while you explore. If you enjoy hiking and camping, you can combine the two and plan a backpacking trip.

If you choose backpacking–a more challenging form of hiking–you’ll need to carry your camping equipment, cooking gear and enough food. Many people find that backpacking is worth the effort to enjoy the quiet and natural hiking trails.

How Hiking Can Help You Lose Weight

If a 160 lb. person hikes for one hour, he can burn up to 430 calories, as opposed to 277 calories while walking for that same amount of time. Considering that you need to expend 3,500 calories to lose one pound, it can take a walker 12 1/2 hours per week to burn one pound a week, while a hiker will only need 7 1/2 hours.

To burn even more calories, trail running–running on the hiking trails–can burn up to 500 to 600 calories an hour. Choose this option only if you’re familiar with the trail, so you don’t trip and fall.

Choosing Hiking to Lose Weight

If you’re looking to build stamina, tone your muscles, decompress and connect to Mother Nature, hiking for exercise may be a great option for you. If you’re interested in hiking to lose weight, consider several factors, including your location, the season and your health.

While some people may have hiking facilities nearby, others may need to drive a long distance to find a wooded area. In addition, some trails aren’t open to the public during Winter and Spring. In this regard, trail availability and weather may limit your ability to hike year-round.

If you’re thinking of adding hiking to your exercise, consult your doctor first. If you have any of the following conditions, you may need to choose easy hiking trails or another weight loss method:

  • Asthma
  • Back problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart condition
  • Knee problems.


ABCs of Hiking. (n.d.). Must know tips on boots and clothes during cold weather hiking. Retrieved September 15, 2010, from http://www.abc-of-hiking.com/hiking-techniques/cold-weather-hiking-tips.asp

Hadfield, J. (2009). Trail running can up your calorie burn by 10 percent. Retrieved September 15, 2010, from http://living.health.com/2009/08/25/up-the-burn-run-trails/

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in one hour. Retrieved on September 15, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/SM00109

National Park Service. (2010). Hiking tips – Hike smart. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-tips.htm