There’s nothing we like more than exploring the wilderness just beyond our backyards when the weather gets warmer. When you’re lacing up your hiking shoes and applying sunscreen, it’s time to start thinking about how hiking can be incorporated into your fitness routine. What’s the official take on hiking as your cardio workout? Hiking is a great way to unwind and appreciate the natural world, and it feels like a full-body workout when you’re done, too.
Does hiking count as cardio workouts? What’s the official opinion? Read it carefully.
Does Hiking Count as Cardio, let you know.
According to Stephanie Blozy, MS, an exercise science expert and owner of Fleet Feet in West Hartford, CT, hiking can rev up your heart rate and get your muscles moving. Stepping up and walking over roots and rocks takes extra energy, Stephanie told POPSUGAR. This is especially true when hiking on a rugged surface, as opposed to a maintained dirt or asphalt path. In addition to elevation changes – hills and mountains – many hikes involve cardio exercise as well. (One of our editors hiked to Mount Everest base camp and back – now that’s cardio.)
While hiking may not spike your heart rate as much as running, if you choose a rougher, hillier trail, it can probably be a more effective cardio workout than regular walking.
The best part about hiking is that it is gentler on your joints than running, but entails more body movements than walking, like stepping over rocks and swinging your arms harder to drive your body up hills.
In addition, hiking is more enjoyable than walking or running on a treadmill or road, thereby making it easier to go farther – you won’t get bored or tired as easily. All your senses are engaged during a hike in the woods: sight, sound, smell, and touch.
There are many cardio benefits
The main focus of any good exercise should be cardio exertion. Performing sustained, low-to-moderate physical activity on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do for your health. Martin tells Thrillist that health organizations recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for general health. When you hike, it’s easier to maintain those sustained periods, since you won’t get home until you’re done. Usually, you can tell if you’re exerting yourself or just breezing through the trails by checking your breathing. If you are doing aerobic exercise, you should aim for a heart rate or activity monitor that keeps you on pace — the target heart rate should be 55-85% of your maximum.
Research has shown that engaging in physical activity like hiking can lead to significant reductions in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even many types of cancer if you engage in it regularly. It is also possible for physical activity to improve insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and other biomarkers of health.
One of the best cardio workouts is hiking
Americans are participating in more and more exercise programs to improve their fitness levels and overall quality of life. From Pilates to spinning, yoga to cardio kick classes, America is on the cusp of a fitness revolution.
Exercise fads are becoming more popular, so it’s easy to forget about simpler forms of exercise, such as hiking.
As an exercise that is easier on your joints than other forms of exercise, hiking provides cardiovascular and strength benefits to most patients.
It may not seem like a cardiovascular activity if you think it’s just walking among trees. Given the availability of steady, steep terrain in the area, most individuals shouldn’t have any difficulty attaining a heart rate above 65 percent of their maximum. If not, try moving at a faster pace.
On some of the steeper sections of Colorado trails, each step is the equivalent of a one-legged squat. Hiking works not only the aerobic (cardio) system, but it can also strengthen your anaerobic (muscle building) system. If you hike for two hours, that’s a significant amount of strengthening of your lower extremities. In addition to alleviating the jarring on your knees, hiking poles can provide some upper-extremity strength as well.
Because you are walking on natural ground (dirt, roots, and some rocks), the ground reaction force is applied to your body slower, reducing compression forces through your ankles, knees, hips, and back. Your joints will receive more cushioning from dirt than pavement.
You should not hike steep trails within three months of a lower-extremity surgery. Hiking with a gradual grade can be a great way to build functional strength, endurance, and range of motion when your doctor and physical therapist clear you to start higher-intensity activities. Due to the uneven surface, hiking can also improve balance, proprioception, and joint stability.
There’s a reason fitness centers have TVs and stereo equipment: they want to keep you from getting bored after working hard and going nowhere. Hiking doesn’t require such distractions. With its natural beauty and clean air, you’ll be able to carry on a conversation with friends.
The workout will be enjoyable, I guarantee it.
Frequently asked questions
Is hiking good enough cardio?
The benefits of hiking for your whole body. As you go up and down hills, your heart pumps, creating a great cardio workout. Almost all cardio exercises reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even some types of cancer.
Is hiking better at cardio than running?
As a general rule, hiking burns more calories than walking, since steeper paths are used. In spite of this, hiking burns fewer calories per half hour than running. As a result of this form of outdoor exercise, you can lose weight, improve your mental health, and strengthen your lower body.
Can you lose weight by hiking?
Losing weight by hiking is a good idea, right? You can lose weight by hiking as part of your weight loss plan. Like traditional cardio exercises, hiking burns body fat.
Is hiking a cardio or strength training?
Hiking on the trails can be meditative in nature. In pursuit of Instagram-worthy views, you’re surrounded by nature, maybe even dogs. While hiking is just walking uphill for a while, it delivers a heart-pumping, heavy-breathing cardio workout.
Why does hiking burn so many calories?
Our purpose in this article is to explain exactly why you burn so many calories when hiking! In hiking, you move your body weight and your backpack up steep slopes and down steep descents. It takes a lot of energy to carry weight over such terrain for several hours at a time.