Is Hiking Good for Building Muscle?

Hiking Man

If you are just getting into hiking or looking to improve your fitness, you probably have the same question every newbie has. Is Hiking good for muscle building?

If you are looking to change your body shape and improve your body heath, don’t stress. This article is meant for you.

Maybe you’ve recently considered shaping up but you are not interested in the noise and humid air in the gym.

Luckily, you don’t always need to visit the noisy gym to get great health benefits.

You don’t have to be in the sweaty, loud music environment of your local gym, there is an alternative. Going for a walk might be a great alternative.

Let’s dig in and find out how hiking is good for muscle building.

Is Hiking Good For Building Muscle?

Firstly, we have to know if hiking can build muscle? To experienced hikers, it may be an obvious answer. But to newbies just venturing into hiking, it is an important question. It is understandable to want to know whether the time invested in the activities is worth the return.

Muscle building is nothing more than a physical process influenced by biological processes. While hiking is a type of outdoor exercise.

If hiking is your only form of exercise, then you are definitely going to see some leg gains. When you haven’t exercised in probably months or years, your leg muscle can easily tear and repair and that means more muscle growth.

It is important to note that even if you hike multiple times in a week, your leg muscle won’t grow significantly. They will not look like the muscle of someone who goes to the gym regularly.

If you’ve been a regular gym athlete and you’ve thought of switching the gym for hiking. Then you must know you likely will not see any difference in your leg muscles because your previous workout routine will definitely be more strenuous than hiking? 

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What Muscle Does Hiking Build?

Hiking builds majorly the muscles in your legs. Especially your quadriceps (the front of your thighs), your hamstrings (the back of your thighs), your glutes, and your soleus and your two calf muscles. It also builds your shoulder and upper back region.

The muscles that will be built by hiking also depend on the terrain you are hiking on. It depends if you are hiking up or hiking down.

Will Hiking Once a Week Build Muscles?

The process of building muscle while hiking is basically the same as building muscle in weightlifting or any type of exercise for that matter. For any significant change in your body while weightlifting, you would have to be consistent in the endeavour for at least 3 – 4 days weekly putting in at least 3 hours daily.

However, the changes you will notice while weightlifting can not be compared to that of hiking even if you hike seven days a week. Muscle building in hiking is minimal and takes longer to be seen than that in weightlifting. The routine of hiking is less strenuous compared to that of weightlifting.

Hiking once a week will definitely build muscles for athletes who do not work out regularly as it is easier for their muscles to tear and repair themselves. But it definitely won’t show any major difference for regular gym-goers.

Does Hiking Build Bigger Legs?

Building muscle is a very painful slow process. But as we all know, the results are always very rewarding. When you hike you tear and repair all the muscles in your legs and possibly some in your upper body as well. 

Like working out, the ones that bring the most significant changes to our body are usually the toughest. If you want to tear more muscles in your legs which in turn leads to bigger legs while hiking then you should focus on hiking or trailing places with high elevations.

The higher the hikes are the more muscles are torn in your legs.

In short, yes, hiking can make your legs bigger but it takes longer time to do that compared to working out.

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Should You Hike Every Day?

For most people, hiking sounds like an impossible and tedious goal. Being a physical activity, hiking prevents the risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even more. 

Truth is hiking every day has its benefits as long as it is being done in moderation. It has its own physical and numerous mental benefits.

What Are The Benefits of Hiking Daily?

  • It strengthens bone density
  • Your fitness levels get high
  • It reduces your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • It reduces the risk of being diabetic
  • It makes you stronger
  • You develop stronger leg muscles
  • It reduces stress, anxiety and depression
  • It clears the mind
  • It encourages creativity
  • It boosts happiness and inner peace

Hiking every day poses a lot of health benefits as long as it is done in moderation. It reduces blood pressure, the risk of being diabetic and more.

How Will Hiking Change My Body?

Hiking will definitely change your body in ways unimagined. Not only does it change your body physically, but it also strengthens your mental space.

There are going to be significant changes if you decide to start hiking, you’ll burn calories faster, your muscles get built and it also reduces the risk of cancer, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. It also reduces stress, and anxiety and stops being depressed.

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Yes, hiking builds muscle. It engages several muscles in the body and puts them under stress for a long period. When you eat and sleep properly, your muscle is being torn and repaired and replaced with new muscle fibres, reinforcing strength.

To some people, hiking does not seem like the kind of exercise that can build muscle and improve body strength. They could not be more wrong. 

Even though hiking is a long process activity and it takes longer to get muscles built. But with a determined and focused mind, you will get your muscles built. Remember, the constituency is key.

One hiking adventure is not enough for the long term. Be consistent and you will definitely see changes.

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Written by Jane Miller

I'm Nomadic Jane, a digital nomad and travel blogger. Since 2009, I've been traveling the world and exploring cultures through my travel blog.