Do you want to lose some excess weight? Have you tried the all the fad diets and failed? Are you looking for a different, but more enjoyable way to lose weight? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then going Hiking might very well be the solution you have been searching for. We’re about to have a deep dive into whether we can lose weight by only hiking, or not.
Can Someone Really Lose Weight By Only Hiking?
The answers is yes, but how much weight you can lose comes with some conditions attached.
There are a lot of factors that will affect your weight loss results from hiking, namely, how intensely you are prepared to hike, how much you are still eating, how often you are prepared to hike, how much additional weight you will carry and of course the terrain you will be hiking over.
We’ll look into each of these in more detail, and after you have considered the pro’s and con’s, you can decide for yourself if Hiking is going to be your preferred method of losing weight.
How Often Should I Hike To Lose Weight?
This is a difficult one to answer, as we all have different amounts of spare time available and we will all lose weight at different rates, depending on how much extra weight we are carrying when we start.
Some people will be able to lose weight hiking as little as twice a month where others may have to hike every day. I have had several periods in my past where I have hiked daily, and I have shown no ill effects from it, but plenty of positive ones, especially weight loss.
How Far Should I Hike For Weight Loss?
It depends. How far do you want to hike to lose weight? Everyone is going to need different amounts of stimulus in order to burn excess fat and lose weight. Traditional wisdom states that we need to get our heart rates up for at least 30 to 60 minutes in order to start burning fat. I find that it’s always over 45 minutes for me personally. That would equate to a distance of around 4-5 km or 2.5-3 miles, depending on the terrain and weather conditions.
I would recommend going for 1-2 hour hikes to begin with, and once you have built up some stamina, increase the duration to 3-4 hour hikes. I generally like to hike for over 3 hours and for a distance of 10-15 km on each and every hike.
Hiking for over an hour and for 4-5 km will almost guarantee that you will have been in the fat burning zone for enough time to have used up your Glycogen stores and burned some fat. Your body will continue to burn off calories well after you finish your hike too.
It’s pretty much accepted that the further and longer you hike, the more fat you will burn and the more weight you will lose, so longer hikes are better.
What Intensity Should I Be Hiking At?
The intensity of your hikes is important. There is no set figure for what intensity you should hike at to lose weight. We normally follow the rule that if you are hiking intensely enough to lose weight, (meaning actually putting some meaningful effort into it) then you will find it more than a little difficult to hold a conversation with ease due to a bit of puffing and panting.
If you keep your intensity high, by following that advice you should see positive results after just a few hikes.
What Terrain Is It Best To Hike For Weight Loss?
Hills, the answer is to hike on as many hills as you can, the steeper the better, within reason obviously. We are not talking using ropes or having 3 points of contact here, we are just saying hike on hilly terrain.
You will find that the constant swapping between uphill and downhill will take your heart rate up and down rapidly. Remember that as well as exercising our muscles climbing up steep slopes, we will exercise a lot of muscles on the downhill stretches too, muscles that don’t get used often, putting them under a lot of strain trying to slow us down, keep us in balance and step over obstacles.
Will Carrying Extra Weight Increase My Weight Loss?
Yes, carrying extra weight in a Backpack will help you to lose weight faster than hiking without it.
Basically, the same frame and muscles that you have always had will have to move a far greater load over the terrain. This will require more energy. This energy will firstly be provided from Glycogen then by a more far more powerful energy source, Fat.
How Much Extra Weight Should I Carry On A Hike?
Any extra weight will be enough to burn more fat, but the more weight you carry the more weight you should lose through greater energy expenditure.
I generally like to carry something in the region of a quarter to a third of my body weight in my backpack, depending on how I feel on the day. This is pretty tough to carry for long periods and will burn off plenty of body fat.
If you are new to Rucking or Backpacking I suggest you start off with lighter weighs and build up gradually.
Do I Need To Change My Diet When Hiking For Weight Loss?
Not unless your diet is particularly unhealthy. However, saying that, by making only a few minor changes to your diet in conjunction with starting a hiking regimen, you could have some quite spectacular weight loss results.
Cutting down on foods high in Trans Fats and eating Protein rich foods in the place of food that is high in Carbs is a great place to start. If you are short of Carbs in the form of Glycogen inside your muscles, your body will have to convert stored fat into fatty acids for the energy that it needs. That fat will come from your Belly, Thighs, Arms and Chin area where we store it. Great news.
Recap And Summary To “Can I Lose Weight By Only Hiking”?
That just about covers how to lose weight by only hiking. The main points to note are:
- How often you hike
- How far you hike
- The intensity you hike at
- The terrain you hike over
- How much additional weight you carry
- Your diet
Providing you keep these factors in mind you should be able to lose weight and tone your body in a short period of time.