Is hiking everyday good or bad?
Many people are quite curious as to the real score of this question. For some people, hiking seems to be a perfect form of exercise. And since it is an exercise, they think that they can do it every single day.
But is that the truth?
Let’s examine this matter further.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Is Hiking Good For You?
- 2 How Many Times A Week Can You Hike?
- 3 Can You Lose Weight By Hiking EveryDay?
- 4 How Far Can An Average Person Hike In A Day
- 5 Is Hiking Bad For Your Knees?
- 6 How To Protect Your Knees While Hiking?
How Is Hiking Good For You?
First, we need to examine how this exercise can benefit you. Physically and mentally, there are perks that you can get from hiking. It improves your overall strength, balance, and endurance.
For starters, here are the specifics:
Reduces Risk Factors For Heart Disease
Hiking and outdoor activities are great for improving one’s health and resistance to heart disease and stroke. A study conducted by John Hopkins University indicated that there’s a link between outdoor adventures and good cardiac health.
But how? You see, there’s a lot of vitamin D that you can get from being exposed to the natural light of the sun. And the higher the vitamin D, the more resistant you are to various heart diseases.
Next question: how many hours of hiking do you need to get enough vitamin D? According to the American Heart Association, only 150 minutes of moderate outdoor activity per week can ensure that we have the right levels of vitamin D.
A three-hour hike every week can help you achieve that.
Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
Hiking is excellent for improving your cardiovascular and respiratory health. In fact, it is one of the best cardio exercises out there, unless you are doing extensive marathons and cycling circuits.
Hiking might appear simple, but it can boost the health of your heart and lungs sufficiently. The US Center for Disease Control suggested that brisk walking and hiking for 150 minutes can enhance the cardio-respiratory health of a person. It is done by increasing the ability of the heart and lungs to pump blood and nutrients to the body.
Decreases Risks Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
People who have a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet are prone to multiple diseases and health issues. Right now, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are among the most common repercussions of these bad choices.
You can combat these adverse effects by losing weight. But this one is also a challenge for some. Others find gyms and conventional exercises too stiff and bland.
If you want an exciting method of shedding your weight, try hiking. Unlike other exercises, hiking enables you to explore nature, meet people, and relish the freshness of the outside world. They are just some extra benefits, keep that in mind.
You are still getting your main goal here, and that’s to prevent yourself from being susceptible to diseases.
Decreases Risks Of Developing Cancer
Interestingly, hiking is an excellent means of combating cancer and its recurrence.
The Macmillan Cancer Support, which is based on the UK, claimed that people who hike and walk a mile each day have minimal chances of developing cancer. The risk factor is effectively reduced by 40%.
Cancer is a scary thing. Therefore, you might want to start hiking now.
Elevates Your Muscular Fitness
Of course, this one comes as evident as the daylight. Once you start hiking, your muscles will get strong. Specifically, the muscle groups in your hips, legs, and glutes will experience sustained improvement.
Keep in mind that hiking is a type of low-intensity exercise. But if you can hike regularly, then you will have nothing to worry about your muscle development.
In fact, it is advantageous on your part, considering that low-intensity exercises are great for building up your strength.
Moreover, hiking improves muscle flexibility. When you traverse uphills and downhills, you are exposing your muscles to eccentric and concentric movements, which, in turn, make your body as versatile as possible.
Gets Your Mood Right
Of course, hiking is an excellent means to relieve your stress and worries in life. Outdoor activities release all the bad hormones in your body. The pressure at your work or the problems you had back at home can diminish effectively once you step outside the urban jungle.
Many people hike because they want a sweet escape. There are numerous studies that recommend hiking and walking as a plausible cure for depression and anxiety.
Moreover, it is indicated that hiking is also useful in improving your mental abilities. Maybe it is the oxygen in your brain that gives you the cerebral sharpness.
How Many Times A Week Can You Hike?
Now, let’s get to the crux of the matter.
How many times in a week can you actually hike?
You see, you can hike daily, especially if it is a light day hike. There’s nothing wrong with this, especially if you have been trained to do this low-intensity activity.
An hour of hiking to friendly trails in a day is already enough. You can do more during the weekends, or during the days that you are not occupied with any important matters.
But if you are a busy person, you don’t need to push yourself to hike daily. You can do this once a week. You can set the hike to be a three- to a five-hour trip, and you are already good. All the benefits of this activity will all be yours.
For beginners, it is safe that you hike once or twice a week. That’s a recommended frequency. Furthermore, newbies have to look for established trails to no longer have to deal with difficult obstacles and terrains.
Once you are already knowledgeable about the ins and outs of hiking, then you can try to do it daily. Try sustaining it for a week, then to a month. Test yourself and see if you are capable of doing it regularly.
Can You Lose Weight By Hiking EveryDay?
As I said, hiking is an excellent means to lose weight. It is a definite fact. If you are going to do it, then there’s a good chance that you will tone down your pounds.
The sweat that you are breaking out from your skin is not just for show. Definitely, you will enjoy this activity if you gradually notice that there are changes in your shape.
Based on Livestrong, the bodyweight of a hiker determines the number of calories that you can burn in the trip. It is estimated that a 160-pound adult can eliminate up to 440 calories for an hour of hiking.
The bigger the person is, the higher the number of calories he or she can burn. A 200-pound hiker can shed up to 500 pounds of calories for an hour of hiking.
If you really want to burn a lot of calories during your hike, you have to pack densely. Bring a weighted backpack to ensure that you can get the most out of your adventure. Of course, don’t abuse this technique. Just make sure that you can actually carry the load throughout the hike.
Carrying excessively heavy items can cause injuries. Keep that in mind.
How Far Can An Average Person Hike In A Day
Let me be honest that a person can hike for as far as 15 miles a day. But before you can do this, you have to make sure that you have the right kind of training and fitness to achieve this.
Surely, you can achieve this feat even if you are not that trained to cover such distance. However, let me assure you that in the next coming days, your entire body will be aching.
Also, we have to account that not all trails are the same. For an ordinary person, a 15-mile hike is completely possible if the trail is established and paved. If the 15-mile hike includes technical routes, cliffs, and challenging spots, it would be extremely difficult to cover it within the day.
An average person can hike at least 3 miles in an hour. That’s already plenty. If you are an amateur, then it is possible that you can cover 2 miles at most. Several factors can also affect the distance, which includes the terrain, weather, and the load you are carrying.
If an average person is planning to conduct an 8-hour hike, he or she might be able to cover up to 20 miles. Of course, they still need to rest during the trip, so the distance they can cover will be cut short.
Is Hiking Bad For Your Knees?
No. Certainly not. In fact, hiking is a good means of exercising your knees and joints.
It only gets dangerous if you are too careless or if you meet an accident along the way.
Even the most trained hikers out there are not immune to knee pains and injuries. It usually happens where there’s too much stress in this area. Of course, it simply means that you are carrying too much weight. Tripping over is also a cause of potential damages on the knees.
Doing it excessively is not also good. You have to restrain or limit your hikes, even if you are addicted to it. Keep in mind that having too much of anything is bad.
If you think that hiking daily is bad for you, then regulate it. Regrets come last, so better assess your capability to hike.
Moreover, before you start hiking, you have to consult the overall constitution of your lower body. Check if your legs, knees, and feet are in good condition. If you have suffered from related injuries in the past, let your physician know about it.
How To Protect Your Knees While Hiking?
There are several means you can protect your knees while hiking. Here are some of them.
Be Mindful Of Your Weight
Keep in mind that you need to regard your weight while you are hiking. Your knees and hips are being punished every time you carry excess weight. It is said that each step downhill exerts a force of three times your body weight. Therefore, even if you are just overweight by 10 pounds, you are already adding 30 pounds of pressure to your knees.
At this point, it is essential that you can manage your weight. Remain lean and ensure that you don’t pack too much weight throughout the trip.
- When going downhill, never lock your knees. Instead, flex it while walking steadily and slowly. Descending or ascending quickly can strengthen the impact that goes to your knees.
- Be sure that you walk in zig-zag motion whenever you are going downhill. Such movements break the impact that is being sent to your knees and feet.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
The right pair of shoes plays a crucial role in every hike. In fact, this one should be a priority over other hiking gears.
Aside from comfort, it would be best to have footwear that can give you support and ergonomics. Specifically, the footwear must fit the shape of your feet. At the same time, it should be compatible with your gait, arch, and pronation.
Shoes that have cushions are great for impact absorption. Without them, all the blunt force will be received by your feet. If you are worried about the fit of the shoe, try using gel inserts.
Use Trekking Poles
It would also be great if you use trekking poles every time you hike. Many hikers avoid using them, as they appear unnecessary. But if you have knee problems, they are essential amenities that you should not forget.
These trekking poles are designed to reduce the chances of developing knee pain, especially going on sharp downhills. They also improve your overall stability and balance, which, in turn, helps you prevent getting into accidents.