Why Does Hiking Burn So Many Calories: 4 Simple Reasons

Hiking burns lots of calories, which makes it such a popular activity. You’re not alone if you have ever been curious about why hiking burns so many calories as many people are. The hiking process can be quite addictive.

The reason for the amazing calorie burn is that hiking is an active recreation and requires you to use all of your major muscle groups. This is because hiking on a steep incline can be physically challenging, so you have no choice but to utilize your legs and your arms and back.

Why Does Hiking Burn So Many Calories?

This is because hiking is so involving. If you’re working with your entire body, you will burn many calories while hiking. This is one of the biggest reasons why hiking has become such a popular way for people to lose weight. It’s an excellent workout that will give you better results than many other exercise programs.

Here are some of the other reasons.

1. It Involves Major Muscles

Hiking requires you to use all of your major muscle groups, which makes it very effective for getting rid of unwanted fat. Because you’re using so many different muscles when hiking, it will burn a significant amount of calories. If you’re wondering how many calories hiking burns, the answer is found in the activity itself. Hiking is a fairly difficult type of movement to accomplish, so there are plenty of benefits to engaging in this activity.

Throughout your hike, the leg muscles and core will all get worked out. You’ll become much stronger and more toned by consistently doing this activity, which is something that many people are searching for when it comes to exercise.

2. Hiking Usually Takes Hours or a Whole Day

Depending on the trail you choose, you’re going to be out in the wilderness for a long period. If you’re only hiking for 30 minutes or so, you won’t burn as many calories, but if you’re engaged in a strenuous hike for hours, you’re going to get in amazing shape and start burning fat quickly.

All that physical activity will burn off a significant amount of calories, which means that hiking can help you meet your weight loss goals.

3. The Trail

It will be easy to burn more calories if you’re hiking up steep inclines, especially on mountains or in rocky areas. This is because the terrain is going to be much tougher to climb, and your body will have to work harder to get down safely.

If you’re hiking on a flat surface, it will be much easier, but you’ll still burn plenty of calories thanks to the effort that goes into this activity overall.

4. It Boosts Metabolism

Hiking is responsible for boosting your metabolism since it works on many muscle groups and stimulates your body to burn fat. The average person burns more calories when working out at high elevations because of the change in air pressure and oxygen levels.

Hiking also burns so many calories because it’s a low-impact activity and doesn’t put undue stress on your joints. This makes it a great exercise for the elderly and the obese and can also be used as a cross-training activity for athletes. Aside from burning fat, hiking on a steep incline can increase your endurance and help improve your posture.

Which Variables Play a Role in Calorie Consumption?

Calorie consumption is partially related to the type of hike you decide to do. It’s not uncommon for hikers to wear a backpack full of supplies, so that can certainly impact the type of workout you get in a big way. The higher the incline and the more intense the workout, the more calories you’re going to burn.

Here are some of the variables that affect calorie consumption.

1. Terrain

Hiking on a steep incline requires you to use your lower body muscles to pull yourself up the incline. This will require a greater amount of energy than just walking up an incline, so it will burn more calories. Also, your lower body will get worked out during the workout as well. Mountains are typically more difficult to hike than flatlands, so they will benefit your overall health.

2. Weight

The more you weigh, the more strength you’ll need to pull yourself up an incline. So if you’re carrying extra weight on your body, it’s going to make the hike that much tougher. But the good news is that extra weight will burn a lot more calories thanks to all the extra work it takes to pull your body up the incline.

3. Age

The older you get, the more likely you are to gain weight. This is because your metabolism will slow down significantly as you age, which means that it will take longer to burn fat. You’ll need to adjust the pace of your hikes if you’re on the older side, so that’s something to keep in mind if you want to get in shape.

4. Speed

The faster you hike then, the more calories you’ll burn. You can shoot for a moderate pace on flat terrain if you want, but it’s always recommended to go as fast as possible when going up steep inclines. That will also help you build up your endurance and stamina, which is something every hiker should try and work on when possible.

Further reading: What’s The Average Hiking Speed?

5. Intensity

You want to try and push yourself to the max when hiking because that will give you the best results. You’ll be able to burn more calories and achieve better results that way.

6. Pack Weight

The more you carry in your backpack, the more calories you’ll burn. You can adjust how much is in your bag to control how much effort you put into the workout. If you carry a heavier backpack, you will burn fewer calories than someone carrying substantial weight. It’s recommended that you maintain a substantial weight to get the best results from your hikes.

How Many Calories Does Hiking Burn Per Hour?

Calories burned while hiking will vary depending on the duration of your hike. The more difficult the terrain and the longer the hike, the more calories you’ll burn. A good estimation of calories burned while hiking is around 200 to 250 per hour.

If you go on a very hard hike, you could be burning up to 400 or 500 calories per hour. If you go on a multi-day hiking trip, you can easily burn enough calories to lose weight, even without changing your diet. Hiking on a steep incline can be quite addictive because it burns so many calories, and the feeling is truly euphoric when you can feel yourself working out and burning fat.

Conclusion: The more difficult the terrain and the longer the hike, the more calories you’ll burn. Hiking is an excellent way to lose weight because it burns pounds quickly.

Last Update: 24. March 2022
About the Author

My name is Thomas, and I love the outdoors. I'm currently living in Germany and I would like to encourage my readers to go outside with this blog. Here you can read more about me.