Hiking can be a physically demanding activity for people of all shapes and sizes. However, its challenging nature is what makes it an enjoyable and effective way to shed pounds. In fact, DeKalb County resident Zach Cross recently documented his 3-year journey of how he lost 200 pounds by hiking trails around Atlanta and north Georgia. His passion for hiking hasn’t slowed down — as of May 2023, he has departed on his trip to hike the full Appalachian Trail.

Anyone can start hiking to lose weight, just like Cross has successfully. However, preparation is required beforehand to avoid injury and make the most of the hiking experience. In this article, we will explore four essential tips that will help you hike safely, progress gradually, and maximize your weight loss efforts.

Start with an Easier Trek

As a beginner hiker, it’s crucial to choose hiking trails that match your fitness level. Begin with shorter and less challenging hikes to allow your body to adapt gradually. The Rutherford Trail, for instance, only lasts 2 miles but is still one of the best places to hike in the surrounding Rocky Mountains. You’ll be surrounded by vibrant aspens and the mini waterfalls of the South Fork Clear Creek that can help motivate you to finish the nature walk.

Starting with easier treks helps reduce the risk of injuries and builds your endurance over time. As you become more comfortable and confident, you can gradually increase the difficulty and duration of your hikes.

Join a Hiking Community 

Hiking with people can be encouraging for beginner hikers who struggle physically and mentally from the stress of a weight loss journey. Joining a hiking community also enhances your safety and can be a big part of your motivation for weight loss, according to weight loss app WeightWatchers. Research has shown that people on a weight-loss program with friends are more likely to complete the program. In the right community, you’ll find support, advice, and inspiration to pursue your weight loss goals while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers — many of whom may have completed or are currently undergoing their own fitness journeys.

You can look for local hiking clubs or communities online. See Fat Girls Hiking, for instance, a body-positive hiking community with a chapter in Denver. Their firm rule about no dieting talk and enjoying the outdoors for its own sake is a positive reminder that, while hiking is a great way to lose weight, you deserve to feel good about your body all the time.

Use a Trekking Pole 

Using a trekking pole can greatly enhance safety, stability, and overall hiking efficiency. This helps distribute weight and reduces stress on your joints, particularly on uneven terrain or when going downhill. Because trekking poles provide additional support and balance, they can reduce the risk of slips, falls, and injuries. Using a trekking pole also turns your hike into a full-body workout by engaging your upper body muscles, maximizing calorie burn, and the effectiveness of your weight loss efforts.

Schedule an Active Recovery Session

Recovery sessions after a hike are essential for aiding muscle recovery and adaptation and reducing muscle soreness. One of the best forms of recovery is stretching. This serves as an active method to facilitate quicker recovery while still being gentle on your muscles. You can make use of an app for stretching guidance such as StretchIt, which combines stretching with recovery sessions. StretchIt also allows you to partake in their Community Challenge, which can be done simultaneously with your other hiking buddies.

Hiking is a fantastic activity for beginner hikers on a weight loss journey, as it offers the perfect blend of physical exertion and nature appreciation. For some of the most breathtaking outdoor adventures, visit us at Lawson Adventure Park & Resort, where you can cozy up in our fully furnished cabins before exploring the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Leaving So Soon?

help us make your experience better