When I think about all the people I’ve met trekking over the last 7 years, I don’t remember anyone saying they were trekking to lose weight. Maybe some weren’t comfortable admitting it, but I think that, broadly speaking, weight loss isn’t a big factor in why people go trekking. But honestly, why on earth not? So many of my friends are almost obsessed with losing weight and keeping the ideal body shape. I guess it’s a mentality thing. Or perhaps just not as fashionable going trekking in the wild as going to a trendy gym for workout an hour or two now and then. God knows… But the truth is, trekking is one of the best ways to lose weight! Don’t believe me? Read on.
When you work out in the gym, do aerobics or some high-energy sport, you can expect to burn some 4-800 calories per hour. Compare that to trekking and you’ll find that trekking is in the low end of that range. While trekking, a “typical trekker” burns some 4-500 calories per hour. So why is trekking so great for losing weight?
The two main reasons are:
1.When you trek you do it the whole day. You burn calories from morning to evening, not just for a couple of hours in a gym.
2.On the trekking trail you are far away from the temptations of everyday life, the cookie jar, junk food restaurants etc.
Let’s look at the math.
Suppose you are somewhat like me, male, 30s, about 160 pounds / 72 kg.
1.You go trekking and carry an additional 15-20 pounds (7-10 kg) of stuff in your backpack. You go on a good trek that is a bit hard, but still enjoyable. You trek for 8 hours a day, burning 500 calories per hour. That’s 4000 calories you burn right there. You’ll probably burn another 1500 calories while resting for the remains of the day.
TOTAL CALORIES BURNED : 5500 CAL / DAY
2.You do intense sport or workout, on average one hour per day. That will burn 800 calories. Besides that, you live a normal life, with moderate activity, going to school, office or light physical work, shopping, housework etc. For this, your body will burn about 2700 calories per day.
TOTAL CALORIES BURNED : 3500 CAL / DAY
You see my point?
While trekking you burn 2000 calories more per day, compared to doing intense work-out! Well, at least in this example. The precise figures depend on you. If you are heavier, carry a heavier pack, trek longer, in harder terrain etc., you will burn even more calories. If you are smaller and take it more easy, you’ll burn less. But these numbers are quite typical.
True, you probably eat a bit more while trekking. But a lot of the extra calories burned will normally come from burning your body fat. Trekking is a sustained activity, so it is more easy for the body to burn your body fat, at a slow but steady pace.
And besides being great for weight loss, trekking brings you in closer contact with some spectacular natural scenery as well as with your own body. I don’t trek because I want to lose weight. I do it for the pleasure and the feeling it gives me whenever I have a few days holiday or a couple of weeks to spare somehow. And although I’m not overweight, I always come back much slimmer and, for some reason, with a fresh and more positive take on life!