Burn Calories by Walking or Hiking for Summer Fitness

Recently my DeHaan Fitness site published, “5 Outdoor Activities to Help You Stay Fit” by guest author Alexandre Duval.

Today I reviewed that piece, and asked myself, “Based on that list, what’s the easiest way for someone to burn calories or start a summer fitness program? Which is the simplest way to start a weight control regime or build a trimmer body”?

(Added July 15, 2013): After an 11Km run with our Running Room clinic yesterday morning, I finally got to thinking about exercising safely in hot weather. See my new “Hot Weather Exercise without Overheating in Four Steps“, also in DeHaan Fitness.

Start Summer Fitness with Walking or Hiking

"Hiking in Wisconsin" image by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
“Hiking in Wisconsin” image by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Why “start” with walking or hiking? Health and safety are the key reasons.

Walking or hiking might make you pretty warm in a humid summer, but you can easily find a shady spot to rest. Running generates a lot more heat, and you might not want to quit a run before you’re dehydrating.

If you’re not used to cycling, you have the added safety risk of navigating through traffic. If you’re also hot, sweaty and tired, you might take risks without even realizing it.

Walking is a Good Start to Summer Fitness

Walking is the easiest way to start a summer fitness program. You already know how; you’ve got some lightweight clothing, including a hat; and you can carry a bottle of water. Splash on some sunscreen lotion, step outside and you’re on your way to burn calories.

Walking on sidewalks or in city parks is also as safe as exercise can get. Your cell phone is always in range; and you’re not far from public transit or coffee shops.

Hiking for Exercise

Hiking takes a bit more work, mainly because you need to plan where you’re hiking. Will you need lightweight boots because of muddy terrain? If you’re hiking where you could encounter ticks carrying Lyme disease, you will want to wear long sleeves and pants. Will you stay on a marked trail, or do you need a map and compass so you can find your way back to civilization?

Hiking on Toronto Trails

But you can hike in many cities, too. Take Toronto as an example.

Toronto’s Don River has a trail from its mouth at Lake Shore Blvd East. Head north on the west side of the river along the paved paths. You can get to Edward’s Gardens

Or hike the Beltline Trail from Mt. Pleasant and Roxborough Drive, east past the Evergreen Brickworks on Bayview, then curving northwest past Mt. Pleasant Cemetary and ending at the Allen Road. It’s over 8 kilometres, as I quickly measured it on “gmap”.

Or hike the perimeter of High Park, or in the Rouge Valley of Toronto. Simply pick a park and “take a hike”.

Walking as Exercise to Burn Calories

Simply walking at a slow pace counts as exercise, but it won’t get your heart rate very high. You can increase the fitness factor by walking faster: take a longer stride; let your arms swing; and speed the rhythm just a bit.

The rule of thumb for burning calories while walking is:

  • Calories = weight in Kg X distance in Km / 2

What do you weigh? (Let’s say 176 pounds. Divide by 2.2; so you weigh 80 Kg).

How far did you walk? 5 miles? (Multiply by 1.6; so that’s 8 Km).

Then you burned 80 X 8 / 2= 320 calories by walking. Not bad for light summer exercise.

You might burn more calories hiking than walking, if you go uphill or have tricky terrain. Otherwise the calorie count would be pretty similar to walking.

Walking for Weight Control

Both walking and hiking help you succeed in a weight control program. Obviously you’re burning some calories; but even this light exercise reminds you to stick to your diet. Remind yourself that you’re working out; you’ve invested time and effort; so keep up the program by sticking to your diet.

Hiking Your Way to a Trimmer Body

Hiking, and even walking, can also help you achieve a trimmer body. You’re moving your legs; if you push off strongly when walking uphill, you also work the glutes to trim your tush. Certainly running will do more for your waistline, but even these milder fitness activities will help.

Count Calories while Walking or Hiking

Canadians who want to count calories while walking should check out the Ozeri 4×3 razor-thin Digital Pocket 3D Pedometer is a high-quality multi-purpose pedometer, cheap enough for casual exercise but also suited for high-performance endurance athletes. It scored 4.4/5 stars at Amazon (Canada) across 74 reviews as of July 8, 2013.

Our American friends can buy the same Ozeri Pedometer from Amazon (USA). 837 American reviewers rated it at 4.5/5. The best features that jumped out at me were “easy to use” and “accurate”.

Professional Writing by DeHaan Services

DeHaan Services writes web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science and Decoded Pregnancy. That’s why we highlight these online articles on this blog page.

An example of shameless self promotion is in my Blog of Writing, where “4 Outdoor Activity Articles from Summer 2013” publicizes the above article and three others. It includes a writing tip which happens to cover reviewing your recent articles to discover your current themes.

To only see our Toronto events (for things to do in Toronto) or fitness articles, please click on the appropriate category in the “Categories” section at the bottom of the right-hand margin.

Thank you for reading about burning calories and summer outdoor activities for fitness.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

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