October 23, 2017

When you are hiking, you are burning a high amount of calories, more than many other fitness activities. This is because hiking is not just regular walking, but you are carrying weight, going at different speeds, and often going up and down various inclines. Take a look at how many calories you can potentially burn while you are hiking.

The Average Calories Burned

The first way to know how many calories you may have burned during a hike is to look at the average calories burned. This is usually based on an average man or woman and is calculated per hour of hiking. The average amount that an adult between 160 and 200 pounds will burn in an hour of hiking is between 450 and 550 calories per hour. There is a lot that goes into these numbers, so this is nothing more than an approximate number. You should use more specific data to figure out how many calories you can burn during this type of workout.

Looking at Your Weight and Calories Burned

A better way to look at how many calories you can burn while hiking is to consider your weight and the speed of walking. For example, if you are going on more of a casual hike at about 3.0 mph and you weigh 180 pounds, you might burn 270 calories for that hour. However, someone that is hiking uphill for an hour that is the same weight burns between 575 and 600 calories per hour. The number difference is huge, so even when using tables, it can vary quite a bit for each person.

Using an Activity Tracker

As you might have guessed, the most accurate way to tell how many calories you have burned while hiking is to use an activity tracker like a Fitbit. You will wear this tracker on your wrist and connect it to an app on your phone or mobile device. You let the tracker app know when you are about to start the hike and when you stop it. It will look at the calories you have burned, which goes based on your movements, weight, and other statistics. Nothing is going to be exact to the number, but since this uses advanced tracking technology, it is going to be closest to the number of calories you actually burn for this type of exercise.

Ways to Burn More Calories While Hiking

If you are hiking for the sole purpose of losing weight, then naturally you want to burn as many calories as possible. Here are some different ways you can hike and increase how many calories you burn overall.

Find the Hills and Challenging Areas

When you are hiking in order to lose weight, you want to pick the trails that are more difficult. This usually means looking at the challenging areas of the hike. Perhaps there is a hike where it isn’t just flat ground around a mountain, but there are steep inclines in several areas, hills to walk up and down, and perhaps even obstacles like large walks you need to walk over. This gets more muscles working and burns more calories than just a simple hike.

Carry a Heavier Pack

Another good way to burn more calories during your hike is to have more resistance. You can do this with a heavier pack, similar to when you wear weights on your ankle during aerobic activity. You are going to burn more calories when there is more resistance from the weight in your pack. Either stock up on more goods, or carry some extra water bottles to weigh it down. However, be careful of how much your shoulders and back can handle, as you don’t want an injury.

Focus on Difficulty, Not Distance

As mentioned in the first section, burning more calories on a trail means choosing the trail wisely. Aside from looking for hills and other challenges, check out the difficulty level, often with a rating, of the trail. Most parks and nature trails will post how difficult the hike is. Don’t just focus on the length and how long you will be walking, but on this difficulty level. It really makes a much bigger difference than you might imagine. But don’t just go for the hardest trail first; work up to it gradually so you don’t get so tired you can get back down.

Have Good Form

Your form during a hike also makes a difference, though you might not have considered it. If you are tired midway through your hike, you might notice your body starts slouching and you aren’t tightening those ab muscles anymore. You might still be getting a good burn, but are decreasing how many calories you could be burning. Keep standing up straight, move your arms and tighten your muscles as much as you can.

The Importance of Water and Nutrition

When you are hiking, you need to prepare beforehand by wearing the right clothing, choosing a safe trail, and making sure you have a pack with you and carry the essentials. Part of the essentials are clean water and sustenance. Here are some things to know about the importance of water and nutrition while you are hiking.

You Need Water Regularly

First of all, water is the only way to stay hydrated while on a hike. When you are hiking, you are sweating a lot, so you need to replace those fluids with water. You can drink a few glasses of water before a hike to fill up, then have about 8 ounces for every couple of hours of the hike. One bottle of water should be enough for a shorter hike, but bring several bottles if you are going on a day-long hike. Everyone on the hike should bring their own water so you aren’t trying to ration it out.

Your Body Needs Fuel to Move

Your body requires a certain amount of fuel in order to keep its strength and move properly. If you don’t eat breakfast, then expect to go on a 10-mile hike with only water, you are going to become ill and find it is very difficult to finish. You need to fuel your body by eating beforehand, then bringing enough sustenance with you so that you can eat something every couple hours while you are walking.

Longer Hikes Require More Snacks

Remember that the snacks you bring should fuel you depending on how long your hike is. So naturally if it is a day-long hike, you need to fill your pack with multiple snacks, as opposed to bring a couple granola bars and some nuts for a hike that will only last a few hours. It is always a good idea to bring more than you think you will need, just in case. Plus this allows you to have extras in case someone else needs a snack.

Bring Non-Perishable Sustenance

Since the food might be in your hot backpack for several hours, you need to bring along only non-perishable sustenance. Think of snacks like granola bars, beef jerky, nuts, and seeds. These are healthy and won’t drag you down by being loaded with sugar, plus they are included in most standard diets when you are trying to lose weight.