Gay hiking

Walking vs. hiking: walking’s “sister activity” may burn more calories

Additionally, walking’s sister activity, hiking, prompted 57.8 million Americans to get out on the trails in 2020, a number that has increased significantly since 2014.

Both tick the boxes for getting you moving outdoors, a low-risk pandemic activity. But are these two forms of exercise really so different from each other? And if so, which one is best for you?

Walking is usually an exercise you do outdoors in an urban or suburban setting, or indoors in a gym on a track or treadmill. Hiking, on the other hand, is walking that is done outdoors and along natural terrain. You will usually experience elevation changes when hiking, but not necessarily when walking.

Both of these activities are low-impact cardiovascular exercises that can help you manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They’re also great for your heart, said cardiologist Dr. Fahmi Farah, founder and medical director of Bentley Heart Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. “Walking is one of the best heart-healthy workouts for all ages, including those with heart problems and conditions,” she said. “Hiking is also heart-healthy and burns more calories in less time.” No form of exercise is better than the other, according to Farah.

“Both are great for improving heart and lung performance, and hiking and walking can help you lose weight,” said Darryl Higgins, fitness expert and founder of Athlete Desk, a company that tests and reviews products such as treadmills and bike desks.

Which exercise is best for you depends on your fitness goals and personal preference. Here are four main considerations to help you determine whether you should go for a walk or a hike.

Important note: Before starting any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you feel pain.

You want to burn the most calories: go hiking

The number of calories you can burn on a hike versus a walk mainly depends on your weight, the steepness of the trail, and how much weight you are carrying on your back. Other factors include the weather, your age and gender, and the ruggedness of the terrain.

While you can burn around 100 calories per mile walking, you can easily double that figure when hiking. And if you strap a heavy pack on your back and tackle steep, strenuous terrain, that number can soar to over 500 calories per hour.
Don’t have time to drive to a trail? Then, embark on an urban hike, where you load up a backpack and hike through a hilly neighborhood. If you’re using trekking poles and moving at a brisk pace, the arm motion adds intensity to your aerobic training, helping to increase your calorie burn, according to the Mayo Clinic.

You want the cheapest option: take a walk

The walk is free. Just put on comfortable, loose clothing and supportive shoes, then get outside. There really isn’t much more, but check out the video above for some expert tips on getting in shape. Hiking can be as inexpensive as walking if you have easy access to a trail and are only going for a short jaunt. But that’s usually not the case.
When should you eat to fuel your workout

Hiking often requires driving to a trail, which can be several hours away and require user fees. And while you can hike in the same clothes you use for walking, it’s best to wear clothing specifically designed for trekking, such as trail shoes, hiking pants, and breathable layers. You’ll also need at least some specialized gear, like a backpack, hiking poles, and a water bottle or bladder. And if you’re backpacking, be prepared to shell out hundreds of dollars for extra gear like a tent, sleeping bag, and camp stove.

You want the safest activity: take a walk

Although hiking is not a dangerous activity in itself, it does come with risks. “The hike can be strenuous,” Higgins said. “It may not be ideal for beginners unfamiliar with rough terrain.”

How To Enjoy Working Out If You Hate Exercise

Trip and fall on a rocky, root-filled path, and you could end up with a sprained ankle or a broken bone. And there are the various insects and creatures in the woods, ranging from pesky mosquitoes to potentially deadly snakes, bears or cougars. Cell service is also often spotty or non-existent on the trail, so if you run into trouble it can be hard to call for help.

Walking, on the other hand, is much safer. Of course, you can still sprain your ankle while stepping off a sidewalk. But if you do, help is nearby. If the weather turns bad? You can call a friend for a ride or hail a cab. Perhaps the biggest concern comes from walking after dark. If this is your favorite time, be sure to wear reflective clothing and be aware of your surroundings. And don’t go alone in the wee hours of the morning.

You want to de-stress: go hiking

Walking and hiking help reduce stress and anxiety, as do most forms of physical activity. Exercise is also great for improving alertness and concentration, reducing fatigue, and boosting your overall cognitive function, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. But hiking offers additional calming benefits because it is done in nature.
18 pairs of comfortable sneakers for walking all day (CNN Underscored)
Dozens of studies over the years have linked being outdoors to mental well-being. According to a 2020 Cornell University study, just 10 minutes in a natural setting increased happiness and decreased physical and mental stress. And a 2018 study published in Archives of Psychiatric Nursing showed that when people were out in nature, they became calmer and developed a sense of community, common purpose and belonging.

If you are unable to hike but need a dose of calm, walking outside of town or in a local park is always better than walking in the gym. But if you can walk in the woods, do it.