Getting out on a mountain trail for a hike is a great, free way to burn those calories. The number of calories you can burn hiking in the mountains has many variables, including the grade of the trail and the speed and size of the hiker. The amount of calories burned while walking, climbing or backpacking is influenced by body weight, intensity of exercise, metabolism and conditioning level.
Mountains vs. Flatlands
Hiking cross country on flatlands burns approximately 30 percent fewer calories per hour than hiking in the mountains. A 180-pound man can expect to burn around 574 calories per hour in the mountains while only burning 410 calories per hour while hiking cross-country.
Other factors that effect calories burned are pace, weight, temperature and exertion (or speed). A quicker pace combined with a heavier backpack will result in a greater amount of calories burned. The weather is also a factor: The colder the air, the more calories burned as your body works to stay warm.
One of the greatest factors impacting the amount of calories burned is the terrain. A rocky surface with stream crossings or a loose, sandy surface will result in the hiker burning many more calories than a flat, hard surface. A 135-pound person hiking on a flat surface burns 246 calories per hour walking 4 miles an hour while that same hiker in the mountains can burn up 431 calories per hour.
Article Written By Laurie Roddy
A native of Houston, Laurie Roddy is a freelance outdoor writer with over 25 years writing experience. The main topics that she prefers to write about include hiking, golf, paddling, and traveling. She is a contributing writer for "Cy-Fair Magazine" and writes regularly for several websites. Roddy attended the University of Houston receiving a journalism degree. She has written "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Houston."