Outdoors blog


Does Hiking Tone Your Body?

People choose hiking for so many reasons; some may find it an adventure gateway, and others may consider it an opportunity to spend time with nature. However, no one can deny the fact that hiking is one of the most effective exercises that can help to tone your body.

We all love to set new year’s resolution and to stay fit while losing some weight is the most common target for everyone. Well, the best way to achieve this goal is to consider hiking. Those tough trails can offer you the real workout while strengthening your muscles, stamina and cardiovascular performance.

The sad fact is that many high-tech workout trackers, trending fitness studios, and expensive personal trainers forget the power of hiking. But science has already backed the amazing advantages of hiking for overall physical fitness and mental health.

How can hiking tone your body?

Here we have listed few points describing how hiking can tone your body; this information may help you start your hiking journey with more confidence:

Burn calories:

When we have to choose the most effective exercise for healthy routines, the first most thought that comes into mind is how much calories it can help us to burn. Human body keeps on storing energy in the form of calories to fuel our body for various physical activities. Although any type of intense physical activity can help you consume some stored energy, as compared to other exercises, hiking has the ability to result in greater calorie burn.

Stats reveal that at an average, the moderate hike can help you burn almost 350 calories every hour and more going uphill. However, the ultimate results can be affected by several unique factors, such as the weight of the backpack, type of terrain, and your overall speed.

Strength improvement:

When you want to tone your body, one should not just focus on calorie burning; rather, it is equally important to think about overall strength improvement. A well-designed exercise program should promote cardiovascular performance, muscle toning and enhanced endurance. The varied terrain can help you achieve these goals with ease on the trails.

Climbing on the hikes offers the same benefits as that of using a stair-climber at the gym; it can improve the strength of your large leg muscles, including calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes. However, downhill hiking can also help to stabilize your hips and knees as well; more like lowering some heavyweight in the gym session. As your muscles start resisting to the gravitational force against the body, you can naturally achieve enhanced toning effects.

Many of us believe on a misconception that hiking can tone only lower body muscles, but in actual it is a full-body exercise that can build upper body strength and core strength as well. Furthermore, hiking improves balance and stability of the entire body.

Enhanced endurance:

When we cross the trail above 4000 feet, our body starts adapting to use lesser oxygen. Some recent experiments conducted by researchers reveal those male endurance runners who prefer to exercise on high altitudes at least two times in a week suffer less fatigue as compared to those who work out more on the sea level. The same concept is applicable to the hikers as well. They can enjoy enhanced endurance with effective returns in the long run.

Those who prefer hiking more often are likely to notice better body toning, which is otherwise not even possible with an intense workout. Moreover, when you spend more time in the woods, you can experience great mood and a healthy mindset.

Better mental health:

Body toning doesn’t limit to the physical health and wellness; one needs to be equally cautious about mental health as well. When your mind starts performing good, you can naturally use your body to the full potential. Many studies reveal that spending more time outdoors, away from the noisy city life, can help you to develop a healthy mind.

People who spend more time in the arms of nature are likely to experience a calm brain with a reduced tendency towards negative emotions. Hiking is also linked to effective treatment for mental illness. This impactful outdoor exercise can help you to release the feeling of depression, anger and tension with ease.

What muscles groups are mainly targeted during hiking?

We have already discussed some points describing how hiking can tone your body. However, some of you might be curious to know about which muscles are specifically affected by hiking exercise.

Although hiking is beneficial for all muscles inside the human body; it is observed to leave more impact on thigh and buttock muscles. Hiking is rated as the best aerobic activity that can strengthen your cardiovascular system while maintaining blood pressure at optimal levels. This exercise involves extensive movement of hamstring muscles located on the thighs and buttock muscles as well. The target muscle groups also include biceps femoris, the semi-membranous and semi-tendinosis as well.

Forward walking also targets adductor Magnus – a small muscle which is located on the upper portion of the inner thigh. The action also includes quadriceps and the longest muscles inside the knee. The side by side walking action also helps to tone abdominals, waist, hips, and muscles that provide support to the back.

Key Takeaway:

In short, hiking is one of the most effective exercises to tone almost every part of your body. It can help you shed a few pounds in very less time while keeping your body healthier by all means.

It is good to plan a hiking tour with friends and family during the coming weekend. Make sure you choose to walk on tough terrains with a heavier backpack on your shoulders which could automatically increase the fat burning process.

Even if you do not find to do an intense workout at the gym every day, weekend hiking tour can improve your overall health and well-being by a considerable level.

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