6 Ways to Get a Killer Workout During Any Hike

One of these hacks can increase calorie burn by up to 14 percent.

Your weekend workout options: Hiking along a trail in the great outdoorswhile catching up with your BFF or slogging along on a creaky treadmill for yet another run at the gym. You know what to do here.

But, if you’ve considered hiking more of a leisurely activity than a kick-ass workout, you should know that hitting the trails is a worthwhile sweat sesh for your weight-loss plan.

“Hiking is actually considered by many experts to be better for fat burn than other forms of cardiovascular exercise,” says Chuck Pelitera, M.D., C.S.C.S., and assistant professor of kinesiology at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Our bodies are better at using stored fat for energy with activities of high duration and low intensity.

Plus, when you head out on the trail, you’ll have to head back. There’s no hitting the stop button when you want to quit, says Doug Barsanti, C.S.C.S. and owner of ReInvention Fitness in Santa Cruz, California.

Sold? Perfect. Now take a hike with these trainer-approved tips to help you burn more calories.


“By forcing the body to go slowly in a downhill hike, you’ll actually increase caloric burn,” Pelitera says. That’s because walking slower makes your decelerating muscles work harder than if you just cruised through the downhill phase, he says.

When you head back uphill, pick up your pace for a more intense calorie burn, says Pelitera.


Hiking is already a great lower-body workout, but you can turn it into a total-body workout by adding this upper-body move, says Rachel Straub, C.S.C.S. and co-author of Weight Training Without Injury: Over 350 Step-by-Step Pictures Including What Not To Do!

“Sporadically including pushups engages your upper body and core while allowing your lower body to rest,” she says. And even though your legs are getting a break, you’ll amp up your calorie burn overall since you’re engaging more mucles on the trail. If you can’t do traditional pushups, use a bench, table, or rock, says Straub.

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