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Top 5 Benefits of Weighted Hiking

top 5 benefits of weighted hiking

As an active recovery day or as a way to build leg strength, weighted hiking is a great addition to your active lifestyle

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors, explore new areas, and get some exercise. If you’re looking to take your hiking to the next level, consider adding weight to your backpack. Here are the top 5 benefits of weighted hiking:

    1. Increased Strength and Endurance
    1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
    1. Burn More Calories
    1. Better Balance and Stability
    1. Mental Health Benefits

Now let’s break each of these down and discuss them a little bit more.

    1. Increased Strength and Endurance

Adding weight to your backpack during hikes can help increase your strength and endurance. The extra weight will challenge your muscles and force them to work harder than they normally would during a regular hike. Over time, this can help you build more muscle and improve your overall endurance.

  1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Hiking with added weight can also provide an excellent cardiovascular workout. The extra weight makes your heart and lungs work harder, which can help improve their function over time. By regularly challenging your cardiovascular system, you can improve your overall heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease.

  1. Burn More Calories

If you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, weighted hiking can be an excellent way to burn more calories. Adding weight to your backpack increases the overall intensity of your hike, which means you’ll burn more calories than you would during a regular hike. Plus, hiking with a backpack can be a more fun and enjoyable way to burn calories than other forms of exercise.

  1. Better Balance and Stability

When you add weight to your backpack, it can affect your balance and stability during the hike. As a result, your body must work harder to maintain its balance and stability on uneven terrain. Over time, this can help improve your overall balance and stability, which can be beneficial in your everyday life.

  1. Mental Health Benefits

Hiking is known to have many mental health benefits, and adding weight to your backpack can enhance these benefits. The extra weight can help you clear your mind and focus on the present moment, which can be a form of mindfulness practice. Additionally, challenging yourself with weighted hiking can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-confidence.

In conclusion, weighted hiking is an excellent way to take your hiking to the next level and reap a variety of health and mental benefits. Before you start, be sure to gradually increase the weight in your backpack to avoid injury and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

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The Benefits of Weighted Hiking

Weighted hiking & Fitness

Is weighted hiking the ultimate blend of the yin of the weight-room and the yang of the outdoors?

Admittedly, I’ve fought the “cardio” angle of fitness due to my preferred training modalities and the scientifically superior benefits of resistance training in all it’s forms. 

But I’ve recently had an epiphany about weighted hiking. You see I love to be in the great outdoors. Who doesn’t? Without knowing it, while pursuing the passion of hunting and trout fishing, where I often need to hike in quite a ways to get to the destination oftentimes carrying 20+ pounds of extra weight in gear, I realized……this is weighted hiking! 

I’m not sure science will ever be able to truly explain the incredible benefits of being outside in nature and just wondering around and moving our body, but I sure know that it feels awesome when I’m hunting and fishing, so I decided to start doing some weighted hiking with the Kettlebell Backpack. I’m able to use a lighter weight kettlebell on longer hikes or if I just want some active recovery, or I can put in a heavier kettlebell if I want some extra resistance for a shorter hike, or just want a higher intensity workout. 

Hiking, as opposed to walking, especially if you’re venturing off the pavement and into the wilderness where there’s hills to climb and uneven surfaces to careen, is more athletic in nature than walking. Hiking is more multi-directional and not just movement in one plane (straight ahead).

It’s likely that while doing weighted hiking, you’ll have to do the following:

  • Lunges (multi-directional)
  • Step-ups (multi-directional)
  • RDLs
  • Calf Raises
  • Dorsiflexion 

The more athletic qualities (strength, balance, multi-planar movement, work capacity, just to name a few) a human can enhance or maintain across their lifespan, the higher functioning human they will remain. 

In short, I guess the lesson is to take something incredibly beneficial, like strength training, and merge it with another thing that’s incredibly beneficial, like hiking in the outdoors, and merge the two for multiplied benefit!

So whether you consider it a ruck or a weighted hike, just get outside and build your athleticism, and if you just so happen to have a kettlebell with you, just imagine all the outdoor workout capabilities you now have at your disposal 😉

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