Walking’s “sister activity” may burn more calories – CNN | Jfk Loans

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Walking is the most popular aerobic physical activity in the United States, with 111 million people taking to the sidewalk as part of their fitness goals in 2018.

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

Both tick the boxes to encourage you to exercise outdoors, a low-risk activity in a pandemic. But are these two forms of exercise really that different? And if so, which one is better for you?

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

Both activities are low-impact cardiovascular exercises that can help you control 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 health workouts for all ages, including people with heart problems and diseases,” she said. “Hiking is also heart-healthy and burns more calories in less time.” According to Farah, no form of exercise is better than another.

“Both are great for improving heart and lung performance, and both hiking and walking can help with weight loss,” said Darryl Higgins, fitness expert and founder of Athlete Desk, a company that tests and rates products like treadmills and bike tables.

Which exercise is best for you depends on your fitness goals and personal preferences. Here are four key considerations to help you decide whether you should take a walk or hike.

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

The number of calories you can burn hiking versus walking depends mostly on how much you weigh, how steep the trail is, and how much weight you’re carrying on your back. Other factors include the weather, your age and gender, and the unevenness of the terrain.

Hiking outdoors, surrounded by nature, improves your outlook, according to studies.

While you can burn about 100 calories per kilometer walking, you can easily double that number when hiking. And when you’re strapping a heavy backpack on your back and tackling steep, arduous terrain, that number can skyrocket to well over 500 calories per hour.

Don’t have time to drive to a hiking trail? Then go on a city walk where you pack a backpack and walk through a hilly neighborhood. When you use trekking poles and move briskly, arm movement increases the intensity of your aerobic workout and helps increase your calorie burn, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Walking is free. Just change into comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and supportive shoes, then head out the door. There really isn’t much else, but watch the video above for some expert tips on proper form. Hiking can be as inexpensive as walking if you have easy access to a trail and are only making a short trip. But that’s usually not the case.

Hiking often requires driving to a trail, which can be several hours away and requires a usage fee. And while you might get away with hiking in the same clothes you use for hiking, you’re better off wearing clothes made specifically for trekking, such as B. hiking shoes, hiking pants and breathable layers. You’ll also need at least some specialized gear, like a backpack, trekking poles, and a water bottle or reservoir. And if you’re backpacking, be prepared to potentially spend hundreds of dollars on additional gear like a tent, sleeping bag, and camping stove.

While hiking is not a dangerous activity per se, it does involve risks. “Hiking can be exhausting,” Higgins said. “It may not be ideal for beginners unfamiliar with rough terrain.”

Stumble and fall down a rocky, root-strewn trail and you could end up with a sprained ankle or a broken bone. And there are the various insects and critters out there in the forest, ranging from pesky mosquitoes to potentially life-threatening snakes, bears or cougars. Mobile service is often patchy or non-existent along the route. So if you get into trouble, it can be difficult to call for help.

Walking, on the other hand, is much safer. Sure, you can still sprain an ankle stepping off a curb. But if you do, help is at hand. When the weather turns bad? You can call a friend or hail a cab. Perhaps the biggest concern is walking after dark. If this is your preferred time, be sure to wear reflective clothing and be aware of your surroundings. And don’t set off alone in the early hours of the morning.

Both walking and hiking help reduce stress and anxiety, as do most forms of physical activity. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, exercise is also great for improving alertness and focus, reducing fatigue, and boosting your overall cognitive function. But hiking offers additional calming benefits because it takes place in nature.

Numerous studies over the years have linked outdoor living to mental well-being. According to a 2020 Cornell University study, just 10 minutes in a natural setting increased happiness and reduced physical and mental stress. And a 2018 study published in Archives of Psychiatric Nursing showed that people who were outside in nature became calmer and developed a sense of community, purpose, and belonging.

When you’re not up for a hike but could use a big dose of rest, going for a walk outside of town or a local park is still better than going to the gym. But if you can hike through the forest, do it.

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