Do you love hiking but are worried about losing muscle mass? You’re not alone! A lot of people are concerned that hiking might lead to muscle loss.
In this blog post, we will explore the research on this topic and see if there is evidence to support this fear. Stay tuned for our findings!
So, Does Hiking Actually Cause Muscle Loss?
The short answer is “no.” There is no evidence that hiking causes muscle loss. Now depending on your physique, hiking may actually help you build more muscle.
But, if you are already someone who is very active and works out regularly, you may lose muscle depending on the duration of the hike and if whether you are on a calorie deficit.
Overdoing/overtraining can and will most likely cause you to lose muscle. So, if your getting super intense workouts at the gym and are severely calorie-restricted, you might lose some muscle.
But, otherwise hiking might make your workouts at the gym better since you are getting extra cardio, building up your endurance, and being healthy overall.
How To Avoid Losing Muscle If You Are Hiking?
If you are a serious lifter and want to make sure that you don’t lose muscle while hiking, you want to make sure:
- You are well-rested
- You aren’t in a severe calorie deficit (If you are, make sure your hikes are less strenuous and intense.
- You’re taking in enough protein
Now, if you aren’t a serious lifter, you will generally build muscle from hiking but, you might lose muscle still if you are:
- Not consuming enough calories
- Not well-rested
Can fasted hiking cause muscle loss?
It depends on whether you are on a severe calorie deficit or not. If you are not in any calorie deficit, are well-rested, and get enough protein you won’t lose muscle just because you chose to hike fasted.
Performing fasted cardio does not burn more fat. You can check out this study which had 20 men divided into 2 different groups where one trained fasted and the other ate before training. (Keep in mind that the one which fasted made up for the calories that they were missing because of fasting.)
They found out that there was no difference in body composition.
Can Hiking Build Muscle?
The answer to this question is a resounding “YES!” Hiking can actually help you build muscle, depending on how often and intensely you hike.
If you are just starting out or have been inactive for a while, hiking can be a great way to start getting active again. You will probably find that after a few weeks or months of hiking, you will start to see some muscle definition in your legs.
How Does Hiking Build Muscle?
Hiking is a great way to build muscle because it is a whole-body activity. This means that it engages many different muscles in the body, including the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
In addition, hiking requires you to use your entire range of motion, which is great for building strength and muscle definition, especially in your lower body.
You can even train your upper body by taking advantage of trekking poles.
Will Hiking on an Incline or Decline Build Muscle?
It depends on how much incline or decline there is. If you are hiking on a very steep incline, your muscles will work harder to keep you stable and this can lead to muscle growth.
However, if the incline is not too severe, then hiking on an incline will not have a significant impact on muscle growth.
The same is true for hiking on a decline. If the decline is very steep, your muscles will work harder to keep you stable. However, if the decline is not too severe, then hiking on a decline will not have a significant impact on muscle growth.
Does Hiking Build Core Muscles?
Hiking can definitely help you build core muscles. In order to maintain balance and stability while hiking, you need to engage your core muscles.
This means that over time, hiking can help you develop a strong and defined core.
Is Building Muscle For Hiking Important?
Building muscle is not essential for hiking, but it can definitely help make the experience more enjoyable and challenging.
If you are looking to hike longer distances or take on more challenging terrain, then building some muscle will definitely help.
In addition, if you are looking to lose weight or tone up, hiking can be a great way to do that as well. You can read my article on Does Hiking Burn Fat here.
How Does Hiking Compare to Other Forms of Exercise?
Hiking is actually a great form of exercise for building muscle. In fact, it can be considered a “moderate-intensity” workout.
This means that it is not as strenuous as high-intensity workouts like running or cycling, but it is more challenging than low-intensity exercises like walking.
This makes hiking a great option for people who are looking to build muscle without putting too much stress on their body.
Hiking is also a great way to mix up your exercise routine and avoid getting bored with the same old workouts.
So, if you are looking for an enjoyable and challenging workout that can help you build muscle, hiking is a great option! You can check out my article on Hiking Training For Beginners here.
Few Benefits Of Hiking Other Than Gaining Muscle
You should still consider hiking since there are a ton of great benefits associated with hiking like:
- improved cardiovascular endurance
- increased strength and power
- improved balance and coordination
- increased bone density
- improved mental health
Conclusion: Does Hiking Cause Muscle Loss?
Hiking does NOT cause muscle loss as long as you are not in a severe calorie deficit, are well-rested, and get enough protein.
So, go ahead and enjoy your hikes without worrying about losing muscle mass!
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Hey, I am the founder of Outside Origin! I love hiking in my spare time and have gone to various different hikes. You can check out our about us section to learn more about what our team and I do over at Outside Origin.