hiker scaling boulders

Hiking Vs Running – Which Is Better For Weight Loss?

When it comes to staying in shape, we all have our own favorite activities. For some people, that might be running or biking; for others, it might be swimming or tennis. And of course, there are those who love hiking! But which activity is the best one to help with weight loss? Let’s take a closer look at how both hiking and running can work towards this goal.

Hiking vs running: which is more aerobic?

To begin with, let’s look at how many calories we can burn with either of these two activities. On average, a 180-pound individual burns more than 600 calories per hour running or jogging at a 5mph pace. If a person of the same weight increases the speed to 6mph, the average calories burned will be more than 800 per hour. A person weighing 205 pounds will burn more than 900 pounds an hour running at 6 mph.

On the other hand, a person weighing 185 pounds burns around 532 calories when hiking for an hour. As you can see, running provides an opportunity to burn more calories. But this doesn’t mean it is the best activity for everyone who wants to shed off some weight.

Note that though the average person can burn more calories through running, people who are overweight can burn more calories through hiking. This is because they have to support their own body weight, which makes a big difference. Also, as you get older, you start to lose muscle mass – meaning that running can become more and more difficult.

Which is better for weight loss?

Now, let’s talk about which of these two activities is better for weight loss. In this case, the answer truly depends on you! Although running can help you burn more calories in a given amount of time and it might be easier to start with, hiking may ultimately be better for weight loss because it helps increase your overall muscle mass. In fact, studies have shown that individuals who take part in hiking are generally less likely to suffer from obesity and cardiovascular disease than those who don’t engage in physical activities outside. As you can see, it all comes down to your personal preferences!

a woman running next to a beach

When it comes to choosing the right physical activity, you need to find one that is fun for you and will help keep you motivated. There are no quick fixes and any workout plan that promises easy weight loss is likely a scam! Instead of doing something like this, try to make hiking or running part of your everyday routine and you will eventually see results.

A great way to do this is by setting small-scale goals! For example, if your journey takes you 4 hours, decide on a reasonable amount of time that you would like to spend running or hiking each day and try to meet it every single day! Eventually, you will notice that your endurance has increased dramatically and your stamina has been drastically improved!

Hiking and running are two popular physical activities that help people stay in shape. Both also allow people to enjoy the great outdoors, which is a big draw for many exercise enthusiasts.

The drawbacks of running

Studies have shown that runners are more likely to develop injuries such as stress fractures and shin splints (caused by excessive impact) compared to those who participate in other forms of exercise. This is because, during running, your legs go up and down so the force applied on each step can be high. In addition, you can easily develop injuries in your lower body as a result of overworking it. This is because running puts more stress on your knees and joints than walking or hiking does. However, running can be a great form of exercise to lose weight if done properly.

The drawbacks of hiking

Hiking can be hard work for beginners; especially those who are unfamiliar with the environment they are about to hike in. There is also the risk of getting lost or injured while hiking, especially if you are a beginner and you hike without proper knowledge of your surroundings.

For the first-time hiker, having to carry heavy things such as gas for cooking can be tiresome. In addition, climbers have to deal with injuries resulting from falling rocks and the like. However, hiking can be done at a relaxed pace depending on your physical condition and requirements, thus reducing the risk of injuries. Read this article on hiking tips for beginners.

hikers on the mountains

What are the benefits of each activity?

Running has been scientifically proven to:

  • Improve your cardiovascular health; elevate HDL cholesterol levels, lower LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, thus lowering your risk of heart disease
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Improve coordination and help you build up muscle strength in your lower body
  • Help you lose weight if done regularly

Hiking has also proven to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve heart rate variability, thus reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. This is due to the fact that as you hike, your heart beats faster and at a more regular rate to pump oxygenated blood through your body.

Here are the full benefits of hiking.

Hiking is more effective than running when it comes to weight loss because you can burn as many calories as you would with running while doing other things such as enjoying the scenery or giving your feet a break. For instance, if you were hiking up a steep mountain and burning 300-400 calories an hour, you may take off your backpack while going up the mountain and put it back on once you reach the top.

Which is better for overall health?

Running and hiking are great ways to stay in shape while enjoying the outdoors as they help you burn calories, strengthen your muscles and bones, improve your cardiovascular health, and lower blood pressure. Both activities require physical exertion and effective calorie burning, which ultimately keeps your weight down while hiking.

If you are looking for a more effective way to lose weight as well as get in shape, it would be better to combine running and hiking. Running first thing in the morning is a great way to wake up your muscles and give them an extra boost of energy; this is good especially if you plan on doing outdoor activities such as hiking later on in the day.

Running first thing in the morning will also help boost your metabolism, thus making it easier for you to lose weight as your body converts more stored fat into energy. If you are planning on going uphill while hiking, running first thing in the morning would be a better way to get warmed up and ready for a rigorous activity such as hiking.

Running on a regular basis will also help you build your lower body muscles, helping you hike with greater ease and increase the time that you can spend hiking while carrying heavier things such as backpacks. On the other hand, if you do not have enough time to run regularly, hiking would be a better option for you as it requires less energy than running. It also strengthens your bones, helps improve coordination, and allows you to burn around 200 calories an hour while carrying a backpack or simply enjoying the scenery.

Hiking vs running: Which activity is better for beginners?

Running and hiking both require a high level of physical fitness, which can be achieved through regular practice and training. Beginners may find it difficult at first but with time, they will get used to the activity until they eventually manage to lose weight and get in shape.

hiker standing at a mountain top

Running has been shown to produce faster results as compared to hiking. This is due to the fact that running requires a greater amount of exertion than hiking, thus helping you lose more weight and burn more calories, which can be very effective for beginners who need quick results in order to maintain the commitment. But this will all depend on intensity. If you are running for thirty minutes, at a moderate speed and with a weighted backpack, then you will probably lose more weight than the same amount of time spent hiking without a weighted backpack.

How to choose between them

Hiking and running are both outdoor activities so you can choose which one to do outdoors. Running may not be as challenging in the beginning, but it will help you burn more calories faster than hiking. Both sports require a high level of exertion; otherwise, they would not be very effective at burning many calories nor increasing your overall health. If you are just starting to lose weight and get in shape, running will help you achieve results faster as compared to hiking. Hiking, however, is a more challenging activity that requires you to work harder and build up your stamina. Once you have mastered running, hiking would be a great choice because it gives you a full-body workout as well as helps improve the overall tone of your body. It is also a good activity to do with your friends and family members.

How long do they take?

Both running and hiking will take about the same amount of time to do. Both activities burn a lot of calories and require you to exert more energy than usual, thus increasing your metabolism even at rest.

Running may be easier in the beginning but as you progress further into the activity, it will become very difficult without enough stamina. In addition, hiking is very challenging especially if you are going uphill. Running also helps you burn more calories but if you want to hike longer, then hiking is a better choice as it provides a full-body workout that will help tone your muscles and increase your stamina.

How often do they need to be done?

Both activities are effective for weight loss; therefore, it is more of a personal choice whether to do one or the other. Both activities are quite challenging and require that you use more energy, which increases your metabolism even at rest; thus helping you burn calories and lose weight even if you’re not doing anything active. Running produces faster results than hiking but you may prefer hiking as it is a more challenging activity that can help build up your stamina.

Final thoughts

Running and hiking are both effective activities for weight loss. Hiking is a more challenging activity that requires you to build up your stamina while running is easier in the beginning but it will become very difficult without enough endurance. It is all about preference whether to do one or the other as both activities help burn calories, improve overall health and increase your metabolism even at rest.

With a regular running or hiking exercise regimen, you will be able to easily lose weight and get in shape with about 30-45 minutes of physical activity each day. Do not forget to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Have you engaged in these two activities? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

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