It’s the ultimate #fitness question.
What workout can I do to maximize calorie burn within the shortest amount of time?
On a recent Saturday morning, Mike and I took our pup Penny for a 3 mile hike in the #wine country of Missouri. Mike brought along his portable bluetooth speaker and we hiked along to his favorite playlists while Penny raced ahead of us. By the end of the hike, we had worked up a solid sweat and were ready to reward ourselves with some BBQ at the nearby, pet-friendly bar (aptly named Trail Smokehouse).
On the way to the restaurant, I logged into #MyFitnessPal (my favorite iPhone app) and added the one hour, mostly uphill, fast-paced hike we had just completed. To my astonishment, the app told me I had just burned 745 calories!
Hiking! Who knew?? It may be the newest workout fad, but turns out for good reason! Hiking is the ultimate cardio and strength-training exercise that can burn calories at an extremely high rate. The key to totally taking advantage of the fat-busting perks of hiking is to incorporate speed and height during your workout. Here’s what I mean.
A quality hike will include several uphill and downhill climbs, creeks to jump across, rocks to navigate, and plenty of branches to duck. Doing each of these activities stimulates your core muscles, challenging you to maintain balance and control. It is a true full-body workout, incorporating your large leg muscles, every inch of your abs, and the great muscles making up your lower and upper back. Keep a solid frame, try to stand up straight and tall throughout your hike, and take advantage of those steep climbs to tighten and tone your backside.
Now that your burning fat and toning full-body muscle, try adding speed to your excursion. Pick up the pace by jogging in sprints throughout the hike. I love running up hill (use only the balls of your feet and avoid landing on your heels to maintain stamina and good form!) and taking my time to recover on declines. Running uphill pumps up the cardio and additionally helps you to complete those grueling climbs fast. Reached a boring, level part of the path? Speed up your pace and lightly jog the trail for several minutes to mix it up and keep your body guessing.
Need motivation to help you get started? Bring music! Just like you would on a typical jog, bring your #iPod and Fitbit to track your progress. Try jogging for the length of one song (typically 3 minutes) to help keep your cardio in check. Planning to bring snacks for lunch? Bonus points if you carry a 15 pound backpack with you during your hike. The extra weight will force your body to work hard, so be sure to bring plenty of fresh water to stay #hydrated.
So if you’re looking for an addicting new fitness routine (and squeeze in some nature-time!), incorporate a weekly hike into your schedule for the ultimate calorie burning, full-body workout.