“Whoa!” My friend exclaimed. “You’re skinny!”
I had just gotten back from a 7-day backpacking trip in the Rocky Mountains. My backpacking group and I hiked for at least 25 miles, where we climbed up and down 3 passes. It was a grueling experience. Upon returning home, I was so exhausted that I didn’t realize how much looser my pants felt.
I looked down at my own body and realized that I had indeed lost a few pounds. Who would’ve thought walking could make you leaner?
Well, I was wrong. Hiking is so much more than just walking. It’s an endurance workout that burns a lot of calories.
Hiking burns at least 350 calories per hour. It just depends on the terrain, your weight, your hiking speed, your metabolism, and many other factors. For example, a 180-pound man with a 40-pound backpack hiking up and down steep terrain burns more than 600 calories per hour. That’s a lot of calories! Also, hiking is a great exercise for many more reasons.
Hiking is easy.
By the minute, running burns more calories than hiking does, but you’d be over and utterly exhausted after a short period of time. You can hike for hours and hours, and ultimately burn more calories. In fact, the daily amount of energy you spend as a backpacker is equivalent to those of elite cyclists, triathletes, and long-distance runners. You just spend more time using up that energy, that’s all. Many hikers don’t mind the extra time, because…
Hiking is scenic.
Not only are you exercising, you’re also basking in all the beauty of nature. It sure beats staring at a wall at the gym, doesn’t it?
Hiking doesn’t feel like exercise.
Sure, you might be feeling the burn in your legs as you walk uphill, but it still doesn’t feel like you’re exercising. There’s only one reason you go to the gym. It’s to exercise, right? Well, you go hiking for many different reasons: to enjoy nature, to let off stress, or to explore. Exercising is just an afterthought. You’re going hiking, but you’re just so happening to be exercising at the same time.
Hiking works almost every muscle in your body.
Obviously, the primary muscles used for hiking are in the legs, hips, and backside, but what many people don’t realize is that hiking also works your shoulders and abdominal muscles. Because you’re carrying weight when you hike, your shoulders and abdominal muscles work at carrying the weight of your backpack without allowing the weight to strain your lower back or other core muscles. Because of that, it’s very important to wear the right kind of bag.
Messenger bags are great for short hiking trips.
If you’re not carrying a big load, a messenger bag is ideal. It allows easy access to your items whenever you need something. With a regular backpack, you’ll have to stop and take off your backpack every time you need to look at the map or take a swig of water, which leaves less time for hiking. With a messenger bag, you can just swing it to your front side and dig stuff out without missing a step or even leave the beaten path for some exploration on your own. Remember if you can make any exercise fun, you will be more likely to stick with it.
Bring along the right snacks, and you’ll be golden.
If you’re looking to lose weight from hiking, you want to drink lots of water and eat foods that give you more energy or boost your metabolism. Berries, nuts, apples, bananas, pears, citrus, raw granola, candied salmon, hummus, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, carrots, celeries, dried figs, and cucumbers are some of the power foods that boost your energy or speed up your metabolism… and are easy to pack and carry!
The bottom line: If you hike often and eat right, you’ll be much healthier.
Author Bio: Simon is a Blog owner and regular contributor for various Blogs from Europe and likes to write in various topics and fields and prides himself in being a versatile professional writer. This post was written by Simon from higherclick.com on behalf of their client Macys.com