Hiking vs Walking: What’s The Difference?

hiking vs walking

Do you ever wonder what’s the difference between hiking vs walking? Hiking is an outdoor activity that typically consists of walking, as well as sometimes scrambling, climbing, and descending on foot. It is a great way to get some exercise in the outdoors.

But what does hiking really mean? If you’re someone who lives near or regularly visits a national park such as Yosemite National Park or Shenandoah National Park, then you might have come across this term before. You may have noticed people wearing backpacks with long sticks sticking out of them walking around or even seeing them hanging from trees. Both terms are used almost interchangeably by most people. So what exactly is the difference between hiking vs walking? Read on for more info!

Difference Between Hiking vs Walking

hiking vs walking

Energy And Effort

When hiking, your goal is to walk along at a faster pace than regular walking speed. This requires more energy and effort on the trail due to steeper slopes or other obstacles that may present themselves on the trail. That being said, the effort associated with hiking is moderate to high.

Walkers typically expend minimal energy while walking on flat surfaces while only expending moderate to little energy while traversing an uneven terrain while making their way up or down a hill. Walking also does not require much physical exertion compared to that long-term hiking. Even though hikers expend a lot of physical energy over a short period of time, walking does not require as much effort as hiking.

Duration

The duration of time one can expect to spend on a hike can vary from person to person due to different factors such as level of fitness and the terrain that must be covered. For example, you may find yourself forced to stop walking after walking for an hour or two if the terrain is too rough. While another individual with more experience may walk that same trail in half the time because they are accustomed to it and know which sections are difficult to navigate through. Hikers can expect–on average–to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours on a hike while walkers usually spend less than an hour at a time.

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Difference In Distance

The distance covered by hikers and walkers may also be different depending on the experience of each. For experienced hikers, a trail that will take them 30 minutes could easily turn into 1 hour and 30 minutes if they don’t know the path well enough. Walkers can cover around 5 miles (8 kilometers) per hour when walking on flat or slightly inclined terrain which is considered to be standard outdoor recreational walking speed. Those who are hiking can cover anywhere from 5 to 6 miles (8 kilometers) per hour depending on the difficulty of the trail.

Difference In Terrain

Hikers can expect to face a lot more obstacles than walkers while taking in the sights. These obstacles can range from mud to steep inclines and declines which can decrease a hiker’s pace if they are not prepared. Walkers typically do not have the same physical or mental demands as those who hike so going off-road doesn’t always have to be a part of their agenda.

Benefits Of Hiking And Walking

While both activities have their own set of benefits, hiking will offer superior exercise benefits to those who take part. If you are physically capable of taking on a longer hike, then you can put yourself at risk for injury if you are not properly prepared which is why you should always take the proper precautions before setting out on an adventure.

Walkers can enjoy their time outdoors without having to worry about steep grades or unstable ground surfaces which is why walking is a safer activity for those who are not as physically prepared. Hiking can also improve one’s mental health, but it requires more work than walking so if you are not up for it then stick to the trails and leave the hiking for those who can handle it.

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Hiking And Walking: Which Is Better For You?

Both activities may offer great benefits but there is a clear winner as to which will bring you better results if you’re looking to shed pounds and improve your cardiovascular system. Hikers will be able to burn more calories and increase their heart rate while taking in the views around them. Walkers, on the other hand, will get a decent cardiovascular workout but they’re not going to burn as many calories because of the lack of climbing involved.

In both activities, you can expect an improvement in your aerobic fitness level which takes place when you are in oxygen debt. In order to improve your aerobic fitness, you must be able to spend at least 20 minutes on a hike or walk without taking a break. If the duration of each activity is swayed in one’s favor then it can definitely put them ahead of the competition in their quest for good health and overall wellness.

In conclusion, each activity has its own set of benefits and detriments but if you are looking to burn the most amount calories and have a great time while doing so then hiking is your best bet. If you’re not ready for an adventure or simply prefer to take it easy then walking is a good alternative that doesn’t demand as much physical activity or time commitment.

Final Thoughts

hiking vs walking

Hiking and walking are different activities that require different physical and mental demands. While both activities can be done for fun, hiking offers greater exercise benefits thanks to its more rigorous activity that boosts endurance and encourages physical movement.

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Walkers, on the other hand, are able to enjoy their time outdoors without having to worry about steep grades or unstable ground surfaces which is why walking is a safer activity for those who are not as physically prepared.

Both have benefits and detriments but if you’re looking to burn the most amount calories and have a great time doing so then hiking is your best bet. If you’re not ready for an adventure or simply prefer to take it easy then walking is a good alternative that doesn’t demand as much physical activity.

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