How exercise at the gym compares to hiking on the trail

How exercise at the gym compares to hiking on the trail

A varied exercise regimen is important to maintaining motivation. Exercising at the gym and hiking outdoors both offer superb fitness benefits. Try to exercise both indoors and out to vary your routine and keep your workouts stimulating.

Exercising at the gym provides a chance to participate in many different fitness activities.
Many gyms offer yoga, nautilus, free weights, step classes, spinning classes, swimming, walking treadmills, a running track, and dance classes.

When exercising at the gym one has the option of working out independently or using a personal trainer to help motivate you and teach you the exercise routines. One may also work out in a class with friends or just do the nautilus circuit on your own. Whatever your mood or athletic skill level there is an activity at the gym that is perfect for you.

Try out a variety of activities at the gym; you may find something new that you really enjoy. Set a certain time to go to the gym to help you achieve your goals. Soon enough heading off to the gym will feel as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.

Gyms also offer a chance to meet new people. Shared activities are often a great bond in relationships, so if you meet that special someone at the gym you already know you both like to exercise. Flirting should never be a priority at the gym, but if cupid’s arrow strikes enjoy it.

Exercising outdoors offers the added benefit of enjoying nature to your workout routine. After a day inside at work or at home it is a glorious feeling to get outside and breathe the fresh air, feel the sun on your body, and enjoy the wind bringing you the scents of nature. Outdoor exercise impacts all of the senses; it is very energizing and helps the body stay in rhythm to the cycle of night and day. Outdoor exercise also strongly promotes deep sleep. It is often very easy to drop off to sleep after a day that included outdoor exercise.

It is important to prepare to exercise outdoors. Apply sunscreen and ensure you have emergency identification located either in a pocket or a shoe. Let someone know your exercise routines and never exercise alone in a remote area.

When exercising outdoors do not exceed your workout limitations. Ensure you do not find yourself far from home on a bike ride and realize you are too tired to make the ride back home. Use common sense and stretch your potential a bit but do not over do it.

Keep a journal of your outdoor exercise time and note any spectacular sights you saw. This will give you something to read when you need motivation and will help you remember your experiences. If the sunset is glorious as you are jogging take a few moments to write about it when you get home. Writing helps solidify goals too, so at the start of the journal write a page or two about your fitness goals.

There are two different types of people: the type who like to work out in the comfort of the gym, on the nice flatness and regularity of the treadmill in the air conditioning — or, the people who prefer to breathe in the fresh air, hear the birds, feel the breeze and physically feel the toll the nature is taking upon their body. These are two very different types of people, and it is unlikely that one will be changed into the other.

The hiker will more than likely find the gym too stifling and boring, and the gym-goer will find the hiker… «Ugh- get these mosquitoes off of me!» In truth, though, the two burn different amounts of calories and require a different diet.

In general, the regular gym-going kind of guy likes to go to the gym and get the job done. He’s probably not looking for a relaxing, enjoyable time but rather wants to know exactly how many calories he has burned and how long it’s going to take to get it done. This person may be looking for a cardio component as well as strength training. Here are some average amounts of calories burned per hour for a 150 pound person.*
*Walking on treadmill at 4 mph: 351 calories
*Swimming moderately: 414 calories
*Jogging: 477 calories
*Riding stationary Bicycle, moderately: 477 calories
*Elliptical trainer: 774 calories
*Running 7 mph: 73 calories

Naturally, the actual amount of calories burned depends on the weight, age, gender, and amount of effort that the individual is actually putting into the activity. However, that is a general look at the amount of calories burned during various activities at the gym.

What about strength training? Strength training, while only burning 234 calories per hour* can actually help you to burn more fat in the long run. Strength training causes an increase in muscle mass. And, although muscle weighs more than fat, it will give the individual a leaner appearance. A combination of strength training through use of weights and cardio while at the gym can help a person to lose weight and/or stay in shape.

Hiking, on the other hand, can be done leisurely, or moderately, or even as a rigorous workout. Going on a relaxing hike can be considered exercise just like going on a walk- although it can be much more enjoyable and relaxing to walk through a trail, viewing birds, butterflies, trees and flowers. According to the same website, hiking burns 405 calories in one hour. The question is, what type of hiking are they speaking of? Trails can become more and more rigorous, depending on how steep and how rocky they are. If the trail requires extreme steps uphill it will take a lot of energy. It also depends on how fast the person take the hike.

Hiking also requires quite a bit more endurance than working out in a gym. To complete a full hike, it generally takes longer than an hour. Want to throw strength training into the mix? Add a backpack and do some camping. Backpacking requires skill and strength. It is a good workout for the legs and back.

The point is, working out in the gym and going hiking are two very different experiences. Each one might suit a different type of person. Depending on which is chosen, the diet for the person may be different. For a hiker, especially one that is doing long distance hiking, lots of good carbohydrates may be needed for endurance. For the gym-goer, some carbs are needed but not as many since the amount of cardio is not as long lasting. Also, it is good to eat protein after doing strength training. Most importantly, take in as much water as possible to replace the moisture that is lost through sweat- do not become dehydrated!

*Calories Burned information obtained from i-bin/calc/calculator.cgi

It is a long tough, all-weather workout that is very demanding, but also very rewarding. While working out at the gym can be tough, that’s only a warm up for a true hiker that loves the open road, or is that the open trail?

Exercising at the gym offers no comparison to hiking in the open air, facing all kind of weather conditions, and carrying 50 pounds of life saving provisions on an avid hiker’s back.

Exercising at the gym can be demanding, but that’s only because a hiker makes it demanding. This way the hiker will be in great shape to get on that trail, and experience life to the fullest.

Any enthusiastic hiker knows that preparation is key to having a great backpacking experience. How does a hiker get ready for the open trail? Why he or she workouts, and many times it is at the gym. Every backpacking enthusiast knows he will burn a lot of calories on the trail. Just how many calories are burned out on the trail?

When hiking 10 miles a day with a 3,000-elevation gain a hiker can burn 4000 calories a day. A man carrying a light backpack weighing 150 pounds will burn 340 calories per hour hiking. The same hiker will burn 544 calories an hour with a moderate load, and he will burn 690 calories an hour with a heavy load.

This extreme workout holds no comparison while working out at the gym. The same person weighing 150 pounds performing light star climbing for one hour burns 272 calories. While stair climbing at a moderate pace, a 150- person will burn 408 calories, and while stair climbing at a heavy pace a hiker will burn 544 calories. Bicycling in the gym for a person weighing 150 pounds for one hour will only burn 135 calories.

Comparing a workout of long distance backpacking to working out in the gym is like comparing apples to oranges. There is nothing like it, to get out in the open air; facing all kinds of weather conditions, walking on rocks, climbing high elevations and doing this while carrying a backpack of 40 to 50 pounds.

Preparing to backpack, a hiker must build up every major muscle group. The back muscles are very important, because they carry life-sustaining supplies in the backpack. A hiker will want to lift weights and practice hiking. By taking mini-hikes of 3 to 4 miles several times a week, while wearing a light backpack can help prepare for the real thing.

An avid hiker will want to switch weight training several days a week with walking, and bike riding, and swimming. Swimming affords a person an overall body workout and will help with breathing techniques. Remember to stretch before every workout, and before starting every backpacking session. Especially important to stretch are those calf muscles so they don’t suddenly seize up while climbing a rocky terrain.

Considering that a hiker will be burning more calories than he or she takes in for one day, it is important to eat fuel-providing foods. A backpacker will have to plan accordingly as to what will fit in properly in the backpack. Everything small and light will work wonders. But this food has to have high impact. Foods loaded with protein, carbohydrates, and even fat will keep the engine running. Work these goodies into your backpack: energy bars, crackers, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, and grape nuts cereal with powdered milk and chocolate.

How exercise at the gym compares to hiking on the trail

Working out in the gym offers great preparation for backpacking. A hiker will be burning off more calories on the trail than in the gym and will need to bring along high-energy protein foods for the experience of a lifetime.

Sources: Mayo Clinic,

Hiking versus Gym. So how do they compare? And why would you choose one over the other?

Many outdoor enthusiasts refuse to walk through the doors of a gym. When they have a natural gym on their very doorstep why bother paying for a man-made one? But those who do patronize the gym will give you two good reasons — cross-training for one, and all weather availability for another. But how do the exercises actually compare?

5mph will burn approx 277* calories in an hour for someone who weighs around 160 pounds. Take the walking outside and contrast it to 438 calories burned when hiking. It’s easy to see just how great the Great Outdoors really is. If you want to consider indoor training as a substitute, it is clear you will need to aim for more than a stroll on the treadmill.

If you are looking for comparable numbers you could consider high-impact aerobics or an hour of swimming laps. Both of these activities will utilize approximately 511 calories in the hour.

But keep in mind that while most do these gym-based activities for one hour and then stop, chances are you are hiking for much longer and will quickly surpass this number outside. A more comparable indoor activity would be one that burns a very high number of calories in an hour; enough to compare with at least an hour and a half of outdoor hiking.

If you want to take your training indoors for the winter months and are searching for a substitute calorie burner, stair climbing will maintain the total calorie output you have been used to. At 657 calories per hour, 60 minutes on the Stair Master would be equivalent to an hour and a half on the trail.

Weight training will burn some calories at around 219 for the hour, but should be considered for its muscle building benefits.

When being over-sized (with muscle or fat) does not help in outdoor environments, is there then any benefit to high-load weight training? Not if you are looking to do comparative exercises in the gym; you need to think about sport-specific training. And that means strength training within the boundaries of endurance, not power. So think high-reps, low weights.

If however, you are looking for a change to the routine in the rainy season, weight training with load is a great way to mix it up. The body is adaptable and in order to continue to reap results, it doesn’t hurt to change things up every now and then. Most athletes cross-train. Once you hit

Exercise is an important part of being a healthy human being, there is no arguing that. There are many ways to get the exercise we need to survive. Pretty much any town in the United States has a gym such as the Y.M.C.A. or a recreation center. Most of these places are ideal for getting that exercise we need. However, most people do not spend any time in these gyms, and even those who do seem to be going there more as a task than for enjoyment. Then when you do go to the gym it can be miserable. To start with, there is the smell! I can almost smell it now, the mix of a hundred human beings sweating in misery. Then there is the crowds, waiting for access to an exercise machine, or walking on an overcrowded indoor track. Oh yes, we can not forget about the fees! Many gyms want you to pay an outrageous price to use their equipment. So there you are, a person who just payed your hard earned money to stand in an overcrowded, stinky gym waiting for your turn on the equipment. Well we have to get our exercise right? Don’t worry, there is a wonderful alternative; hiking the great outdoors.

Thats right, most places in our beautiful world have some sort of outdoor trail we can hike. Take yourself out of that stuffy gym and feel the refreshing feeling of breathing the clean air in your local wilderness. Why pay those gym fees, when you can hike these trails for free. Exercise does not have to feel like work, it can be an invigorating experience that helps to not only stay in shape, but to relax your mind as well. Picture yourself out of the civilized world in a place where peace is all around you. Trade the noisy gym for the serenity of natures sounds; birds chirping, breezes blowing through the trees overhead,and sunshine. Why walk around an indoor track when you can walk along an outdoor trail and witness things such as creeks, rivers, lakes, flowers, and other wildlife? The exercise is guaranteed as you push yourself up hills and back down again. Why circle that same track, around and around, when instead you can go around a bend to see something new every time. Take along a picnic basket and enjoy a relaxing lunch in some remote clearing. There is no comparison, as a stinky crowded gym is like prison next to the great wide open trail.

Now ask yourself, why would I drag myself to a gym if there is the option of outdoor hiking. There too many trails in the world to count, and each one has it’s own unique characteristics. When you let go of the high paced technological world around you and step into nature, you may find that you have been missing out on a great experience. You can even take a tent and hike one of those long trails. Outdoor hiking is a way to turn exercise into escape.

With summer less than an arm’s length away and spring sprung up all around us, we come to the inevitable turn in our workout routines: the gym versus the great outdoors. While there are benefits to both indoor and outdoor physical activity, there are pros and cons to weigh between each workout.

According to Forbes Magazine, the average monthly cost of a gym membership is $55 a month, averaging to about $660 a year.

Add to that the cost of supplies, including water, proper clothing, and trainers, and the yearly fee is approximately $800.

Hiking, on the other hand, has not monthly membership fee, but does require some initial investment. L.L. Bean sells Gore-tex hiking boots for around $99, and trekking poles (which increase calorie burn and improve muscle building) retail for about $129. Add to this bug repellent, sunblock, water, backpack, and State Park’s fees — most of which are one time purchases), the start-up cost of hiking comes to around $350 with little future investment beyond general maintenance and park renewal fees.

The calories burned while hiking or at the gym largely depends on the particular activity you choose to undertake. For example, a 200 pound man will burn an average of 370 calories an hour of leisurely swimming as compared to 840 calories burned in one hour of vigorously cycling on a stationary bicycle according to Halo Leisure Magazine, Britain’s foremost guide to physical health. Meanwhile, Self Magazine’s online fitness calculator suggests that the same 200 pound man will burn approximately 575 calories simply hiking cross-country for 60 minutes as compared to 715 calories hiking for 60 minutes along an incline, such as a hill or a mountain.

Regardless of inclines or cross-country hiking, the calories burned by hiking is harder to calculate than the calories you will burn at the gym. While the gym offers a controlled exercise environment — treadmills maintain a certain speed and incline to ensure you receive a steady workout — hiking is significantly more varied. Someone seeking a specific caloric burn, therefore, would benefit more from a gym workout where he or she could know exactly how many calories are burned from any activity. A person seeking exercise for pleasure, on the other hand, might choose hiking over the gym due to its variable routine and stunning scenery.

In addition to caloric burn, hiking versus workouts at the gym offer variable

returns on fat loss and muscle mass. Muscle burns fat; thus, the more muscle you build, the less fat you will have. Hiking, without running, is a strength-conditioning exercise meant to build muscle-mass. Workouts at the gym include not only strength-conditioning — such as weight-training, yoga, and pilates — but they also include cardio-vascular training, such as swimming or cycling, which are necessary to burn more calories.

The healthy exercise routine will include both cardio and strength-training according to

There has been a push in recent years to encourage exercisers to forgo eating for several hours before working out in order to increase metabolism. While this might be acceptable in the controlled environment of a gym where those working out are able to obtain food readily, this is not safe for hikers. Hikers, due to the nature of nature, often find themselves several miles from commodities like convenience stores and vending machines. For that reason, it is recommended by The Grand Canyon National Park that you «eat before you are hungry» and «drink before you are thirsty» when hitting the trails.

A healthy hiker diet includes plenty of protein (meats, cheeses, nuts, and legumes, for some) as protein is essential to building muscle, as well as a healthy dose of good carbs (wheat, fiber-filled breads, and whole grains) and fruit. Hikers should also be wary of dehydration as, out in the wilderness, clean water is not readily available to drink. In addition, dehydration can be exacerbated by the sun and heat. Hikers are encouraged to always carry water with them when on the trails. /hike-tips.htm, retrieved: 29 April, 2008.
Collins, Anne. tein-diet.htm, retrieved: 29 April, 2008. Calorie Calculator, retrieved: 29 April, 2008
Halo Magazine,, retrieved: 29 April, 2008, retrieved: 29 April, 2008
L.L. Bean Store website, retrieved: 29 April, 2008


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