Why is Hiking So Tiring? (All You Need To Know)

Why Is Hiking So Tiring

Hiking is a good escape from everyday life. You get to experience wildlife and appreciate nature. However, this activity can quickly get exhausting.

Trekking over long distances and rugged terrain can be unfamiliar for your body. In addition, the exercise will wear you out and prove challenging.

You can get tired when hiking because you are not a regular hiker. In addition, hiking will be tedious if you’re out of shape. Also, you need to regain energy when hiking, or you’d lose blood sugar and tire rapidly. Furthermore, hiking in the mountains can be exhausting since the air is thinner because of the high altitude.

Reading on, you’ll understand why hiking is tasking. The article will also highlight the benefits of hiking. 

Additionally, you’ll learn ways to reserve energy when hiking so you won’t tire quickly.

Is Hiking An Exhausting Recreational Activity?

Why Is Hiking So Tiring

Hiking in the wild can be a fascinating endeavor. Hiking lets you experience nature and a new environment; however, hiking is equally tiring, even with all the fun you can have.

Different people have their reasons for hiking. Some people do it for fitness purposes, preparation for mountain climbing, or to enjoy the outdoors.

Hiking is recreational when you view it as a challenge or adventure. There are so many things to discover out there in the wild. 

Some individuals enjoy testing themselves against nature. Others enjoy hiking with friends or family. Then, they go out together and enjoy each other’s company in the wild. 

There are also many views and landscapes you can experience when hiking. You’ll discover trees, vegetation, and even animals. 

Other people can learn camping, how to erect a tent, and how to start a fire in the jungle. With all this knowledge to gain, hiking can be exhilarating.

Hiking is also relaxing when you’re just doing it for fun. A change of view is therapeutic and can help ease stress. 

Nevertheless, if you’re not fit, you’ll quickly feel the strain from hiking. Tiring won’t stop you from enjoying the task; it’s normal for your body to adjust when stressed.

Hiking is strenuous when you’re not used to it. If the only sort of exercise you do is casual walking, then you might find hiking tiring. 

Most times, hiking covers long distances. Your body will react to the distance because it’s new to the experience. Other times, the level of elevation makes you tire easily.

When you’re at a higher altitude, you receive thinner air. Since your body is unfamiliar with lesser air, you tire from less breathable oxygen.

All these factors can make hiking an exhausting and also entertaining exercise.

Why Is Hiking Tiring?

Hiking involves treks over long, rocky distances; it’s natural to get tired after completing these walks.

Below, we’ll look at why hiking takes a toll on the body.

#1. Fitness

With the availability of public transportation, people barely walk long distances. Instead, most people’s movement is within their homes or offices.

Some people also don’t exercise; even when they go to the gym, they drive themselves there. These habits condition the body to laziness, which takes a toll on the body when you hike.

The muscles in your body can atrophy. Atrophy is the steady weakening of the muscle’s vigor due to lack of exercise.

Even your lungs get used to your regular daily activities. If you reside in cities, your leg muscles remain unchallenged because of the flat ground you walk or jog on.

It’s a whole different level in the wild. Long, stony, uphill trails can give your body a serious workout. But, with little or no exercise history, you’ll get tired fast.

Your muscles and lungs will struggle to keep up with the task, resulting in exhaustion. Only repetition or regular exercising can acclimatize you to hiking.

#2. Expended Energy

Everyone gets tired during a hike, including experienced hikers. It’s normal for the body to lose energy when hiking. That’s why it’s essential to refuel at intervals.

Most times, hikers think they need to cover long distances at a go. However, this kind of decision is unwise. The body needs its rest. 

If you go on and on, blood sugar reduces, and your energy drains continuously without replenishment. So you’ll have to rest up and allow the muscles to relax before you go on.

Another important thing is to ensure that you eat something at least every hour. You don’t have to eat a full-course meal; a snack will do. Even fruits or candy are good choices.

Drink water to satisfy your thirst too. The aim is to replenish the body’s systems so they’ll have the energy to push forward again. 

What Does Hiking Do to Your Body?

Hiking involves a lot of physical work. So it’s natural for your body to change when you hike.

Below are some ways hiking affects the body.

#1. Strengthen Leg Muscles 

Sometimes, a hike requires climbing a mountain or uphill and returning. This activity is an excellent exercise for the legs and is one of the advantages of hiking.

Walking uphill is similar to climbing stairs and performing continuous lunges. The exercise toughens hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes.

Trekking downhill makes your legs stronger and sore. The quads go through slow, measured work when coming downhill, so the knees and hips remain steady.

These eccentric contractions can hurt muscle fibers since you’re fighting gravity against your weight. On the other hand, hiking helps cyclists build their hamstrings.

Usually, many cyclists have sturdy quads but undersized hamstrings. Even track runners have weaker glutes and hamstrings. 

Hiking will help these athletes develop the required muscles to perform excellently in their respective sports.

#2. Builds Endurance

When you frequently hike at high elevations (4000 feet above), your body will get familiarized with the low-oxygen atmosphere. 

For runners, this adaptation to low oxygen can boost performances in races. In addition, hiking an entire day can benefit the body.

If you hike consistently, your endurance will improve. You won’t quickly get weary; you’ll push faster and further than your limits. During hiking, you perform a lot of movements.

You climb, sidestep, leap, jog and move in several directions. With this frequent calisthenics, your body loosens up and gains more fluidity.

The body’s stabilizing muscles toughen and develop, improving fitness and form.

Is Hiking Easier Than Running?

These activities increase your heartbeat and enhance your body’s performance. These tasks can also help you lose weight. 

However, running requires a lot more energy than hiking. So this attribute alone can make it a lot harder than hiking.

The table below will highlight other differences between running and hiking.

A one-hour run burns 1350 calories.A one-hour hike burns 650 calories.
Running can impact the joints negatively.You can use trekking poles to support yourself on a hike.
The high intensity involved in running can cause injuries.Hiking doesn’t require much intensity, reducing the risk of injury.

Hiking is an exercise that almost anyone can participate in, unlike running, which expends more energy. Since running is more energetic, you burn more calories running than hiking.

Running also increases your heart rate by about 70 to 85%. The only time hiking can prove challenging is hiking uphill with a heavy backpack or load. 

If you hike with a trekking stick, your body enjoys a well-rounded workout than running. With a trekking stick, you ask your body’s upper muscles and burn more calories.

You can hike for hours with rest intervals. However, running for hours is challenging, even with breaks in between. 

Since running requires more energy, you can conclude that it is more stressful than hiking.

How to Make Hiking Less Tiring?

Hiking can be exhausting, but there are tips you can follow to guide you on how to conserve energy. If you apply these tips, then hiking will be much easier.

The following are some ways to make hiking less tiring.

#1. Get Your Stride

Every individual has their walking pace. It’s important to identify yours so you will conserve your body fuel. You should maintain a smooth, regular stride.

Your swinging arms and breathing should be rhythmic. If you’re in a group and others have a faster pace, you can politely ask them to slow down. 

This way, you’ll move at your pace and won’t get tired as quickly.

#2. Dealing with Hills

You’ll likely have to walk uphill on your hike. The best way to tackle a hill is by “rest stepping.” 

With each forward step, stretch the trailing leg and hook the knee of your forward leg. Wait for half a second to allow the forward leg to carry your weight. 

This method allows the muscles to relax in-between steps. Furthermore, keep your feet even on the earth when coming downhill and push your knees in to ease the descent.

Other tips to make hiking less tiring include;

  • Rest for five minutes at every break. 
  • Drink water and eat periodically.
  • Use a walking stick for rough, stony areas to maintain balance. 
Josh Matthews

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