Hiking to Lose Weight

If you are considering going Hiking to lose weight, you have come to the right place. In this post we’ll discuss the following topics to answer the most common questions asked about hiking to lose weight and help you make up your own mind:

  • Is Hiking a Good Way to Lose Weight?
  • How Often Should You Hike For Weight Loss?
  • Is it ok to Hike every day?
  • Does Hiking Reduce Belly Fat?
  • Why am I Gaining Weight from Hiking?
  • Will Hiking Tone My Legs?
  • How Does Hiking Change Your Body?
  • Can You Lose Weight By Hiking Every day?
  • How am I Burning Calories when Hiking for Weight Loss?
  • Will Hiking Three Times a Week Help You Lose Weight?

So let’s get stuck in and answer the first question.

Is Hiking a Good Way to Lose Weight?

Hiking to Lose Weight - Hiking for Weight Loss

Yes, Hiking is a good way to lose weight. As Hiking takes you over far more challenging terrain than simply walking around town for weight loss.

This coupled with the fact that you will probably be hiking carrying some form of backpack with weight in it will help you burn off even more calories.

Studies show that Hiking burns off a lot more calories than normal walking, actually Hiking even a moderate trail burns off in the region of 600 calories an hour, therefore going Hiking to Lose Weight is in fact a great idea.

How Often Should You Hike For Weight Loss?

Hiking to Lose Weight - How often do I need to Hike to Lose Weight

The general consensus appears to be that hiking 2-3 times a week for a minimum of an hour each hike is enough exercise for significant weight loss and to continue weight management.

We mustn’t forget weight management, as there’s no point it going on a series of hikes to hit your target weight, then stopping and putting it all back on again.

A further thing to note also is that losing weight does not equal getting healthy! If you lose a lot of weight by hiking, but carry on with the same habits of eating poor processed foods and drinking and smoking, you will be lighter due to the weight loss, but almost as unhealthy as you were before.

Sometimes a radical lifestyle overhaul is needed, but usually, a few subtle changes is all that we need to get us back on track of being healthy again.

Is it ok to Hike every day?

Hiking to Lose Weight - Can I Hike Every Day

Yes, it is ok to hike every day, providing you have the time to fit it in. Recent studies show that doing 45 minutes of moderate exercise for 7 days a week is the ideal way to get fit and maintain your fitness levels.

Here’s a link to a great article from howtopoopinthewoods.com (great name) recounting what happened to them after they hiked every day for a month. You can read the full story and the benefits gained by clicking on the link in their name above.

If you don’t have time to read it, here are the bullet points:

  • They felt more rested with less sleep
  • They had better focus
  • They ate better
  • They became more regular
  • They lost 5 pounds in weight
  • They became faster and stronger
  • They started to crave running and other forms of exercise
  • They got into a routine
  • They then realised that they didn’t need to hike every day anymore

Does Hiking Reduce Belly Fat?

Hiking to Lose Weight - Does Hiking Burn Belly Fat

Yes, Hiking will reduce belly fat, as it is a form of cardio. However, it is important to remember that you can’t spot target fat burning. You will burn, and therefore lose fat from numerous places at the same time, your belly will be one of the places.

As a general rule, that area that you have the most stored fat will be the area that you lose it from last. Unfair I know, but that’s how it is.

When you are hiking your body will begin to burn fat reserves once it has used up the fast release energy in the form of glycogen from the Carbs that you have eaten which it has readily on hand.

Hiking as it is a long duration, low(ish) intensity form of exercise, will unlock your body’s stores of body fat in order to make the energy that it needs to sustain itself over the length of the hike.

Why am I Gaining Weight from Hiking?

Hiking to Lose Weight - Why Have I Put on Weight Hiking

When people, generally overweight, out of shape people first begin hiking to lose weight, they are surprised that when they hit the scales, they may have put a few pounds on initially.

This phenomenon is nothing to worry about. As Muscle weighs more that fat, and you will be building up some muscle mass as you lose fat, the heavy one (muscle) replaces the lighter one (fat) on a one to one basis, so it will give the result of slight weight gain.

The bonus is, that next time you go out on a hike, your body will have more muscle mass that before, which in turn will need more calories to fuel itself, burning even more fat off at a greater rate than previously, so your weight loss will suddenly accelerate.

Don’t let any initial weight gain put you off. It is temporary and will increase your speed of weight loss in the long run.

Will Hiking Tone My Legs?

Hiking to Lose Weight - Will Hiking Tone My Legs

This is an often asked question from those wishing to lose weight by hiking. The answer is again Yes.

Hiking will tone your legs as well as the rest of your physique, providing that you stick with it and hike for a suitable duration. You should aim to keep hiking for at least 45 minutes on moderate to tough terrain, but preferably 2 hours judging from my personal results.

2 hours of hiking seems to be the sweet spot for maintaining weight and looking toned.

How Does Hiking Change Your Body?

Hiking to Lose Weight - The Benefits of Daily Hiking

Hiking to lose weight changes your body in numerous ways, and quite rapidly too. Here are the main ways hiking changes your body:

  • Hiking increases your Cardiovascular Health
  • Hiking promotes Weight Loss
  • Hiking increases Muscle Mass and Strength
  • Hiking has many Mental Health Benefits associated with it
  • Hiking tones your physique
  • Hiking burns off Fatty Deposits

Quite a list of benefits there. If they don’t get you enthusiastic about going hiking, I’m not sure what will.

Can You Lose Weight By Hiking Every day?

Yes, you most certainly can lose weight by hiking every day. daily hiking will burn off calories. Due to the nature of hiking as a long duration, moderate form of exercise, many of those calories will be taken from the heavy deposits of stored fat that you have been carrying around with you for years.

If you hike every day, you burn calories every day, you burn fat every day, you lose weight.

Check out this video and see what the results were from bemytravelmuse.com from when she hiked every day for a month:

How am I Burning Calories when Hiking for Weight Loss?

The way that you are burning calories when hiking for weight loss is you are raising your rate of calorie burn (through hiking) to a level above that of your basal metabolic rate.

Your Basal Metabolic Rate is simply the rate that your body normally burns calories during normal, non exercise conditions.

Hiking to Lose Weight - Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator

The average person has a basal metabolic rate of 1000 – 2000 calories a day. This is how many calories they burn just to be alive. Any calories that you burn above this rate will have to be provided from somewhere else.

The nature of hiking as a high duration, low intensity exercise is a great way to provide that extra energy by burning off stored fat deposits rather than by using your “on demand” energy supply.

Will Hiking Three Times a Week Help You Lose Weight?

Hiking to Lose Weight - Can I lose Weight Hiking Three Days a Week

Although we mentioned earlier that Hiking every day will help you lose weight, Yes, Hiking three times a week will also help you lose weight, and it may be more sustainable by fitting in better with your normal lifestyle.

After all, not everyone has the amount of free time to go hiking on a daily basis.

Hiking for 45 minutes to 2 hours for 3 times a week should be more than enough to help you lose weight.

Why not try out some of the strategies mentioned here. Hiking Daily and Hiking 2-3 Times a Week and see how they affect your weight loss.