Does hiking build muscles?

Does hiking build muscles
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Does hiking build muscles?

No, hiking does not build muscles though it can strengthen your core, quadriceps and reduce blood pressure. Hiking is considered a cardio workout that strengthens most of the muscles of your body but you can’t build muscles with hiking. Hiking is more like a sport that helps you to keep yourself fit but you can’t build big muscles without proper post-workout meals, nutrition, and training for specific muscles. 

Can hiking cause muscle gain? 

Hiking can make you gain lean muscle to some extent but you can’t build big muscles with hiking. Besides that hiking strengthen muscles more than growing them. 

When you hike on the rough trail your whole body muscles engage. The most used muscles during hiking are calves, quads, hamstring, and glutes. You can see that lot of hikers who do long hikes have strong calves, hamstrings, and glutes. 

But can you build muscles like a gym with hiking? Well, it’s not possible that you can get the same results with hiking because both are different forms of exercise. Where one is more focused on building muscles, the other is a cardiovascular exercise for your whole body and makes your whole body workout at the same time. 

The purpose of lifting heavy and doing reps in a gym to break down the muscle fiber. On the other hand, when you hike your body shares the work and pressure and avoids hitting a single muscle. The prime muscles hit during hiking is leg muscles and you can see that hiker’s legs are more strong than the entire body. 

Is hiking better than going gym? 

Yes, hiking is better than going to the gym though both are different forms of exercise. Hiking is better for your health than a gym. The reason behind that, in the gym you train a single muscle in a day and the other the next day. It is also seen that those who do gym a lot are less active because the movement in the gym is very less. On the other hand, hiking is all about stamina and it can make you tired faster. Hiking one mile on a rough trail will burn out around 500 calories which is faster. Not only hiking helps you to keep you in natural shape but also provides you many other health and mental benefits. 

A gym is a good option if you want to build muscles or want to increase your strength. If you just want to be fit and wan to keep it as natural as possible than hiking is  a better option. Most muscle building exercises in gym are static exercises, where you don’t have to move, you just have to lift. On the other hand, hiking involves the movement of your body every second, which trains your respiratory and abdominal area. Besides all that, hiking gives you experience and can be seen as a hobby or a fun activity. 

You can also see a lot of hikers have a great physique. Well, it’s not that all great hikers have a great physique. In hiking great physique or muscles doesn’t give you any plus points. Hiking is a different activity and you can only become good at it by doing it. Hikers who have great physiques or muscles, put extra work in the gym to train their body for different hikes. It’s always recommended to hikers before any long gike to train themselves in gym, so that their muscles get used to the pain and pressure that our body go through hiking. But still, it has been found that hikers who do regular hiking are ahead of those who do hiking occasionally(doesn’t matter if one does exercises in the gym or not). 

Another best thing about hiking is that it releases adrenaline and happy hormones in your mind and reduces stress and anxiety. It is not that gyms do not have any benefits. Lifting heavy weight in the gym is very good to keep your body in shape and mind healthy. You can not be good at both by just doing one form of exercise. It means, if you do hiking, you can’t achieve the heavy muscles and strength goals. Similarly, if you do heavy exercise in the gym, you can’t build your stamina and not able to train your whole body regularly. 

You may also like- How to Train for Hiking in the Gym

Will hiking make my legs bigger? 

The simple answer to this question is not yes or no. It means hiking can help you gain lean muscles on the leg but you can’t build the heavy muscles or can make them big as you can make them in the gym. To make your legs big or build muscle mass, you need to lift heavy and have to train your legs twice a week. 

Well, if you have skinny legs or your legs have no muscles and you want to build muscle mass in your legs then I would suggest you to go to the gym. But if you are satisfied with your leg’s size and you just want lean muscle and shape then hiking can do it for you. 

As discussed above, to build muscles your muscle fiber should break down, and when it breaks you have to fill it up with protein and good amount of carbs to increase the muscle size. Well, the good news is that in both hiking and gym break down your leg muscles. In gym you have specific day where you do leg exercise which break down your muscles. On the other hand, any hiking day is a leg day because the most used body part in hiking is the legs and when you do long and tough hikes, the muscle breaks down. 

But the pick here is the time and the diet. In gym, you set the time limit of one hour or two hour where you do leg exercises. But you can not set the time limit in hiking, especially when it’s long hikes. What this does is that sometimes hiking can lead to overuse of muscles and it burns down the calories more than you intake. It leads to fat loss and even muscle loss if you don’t take enough calories or protein. 

Taking post meals also plays a huge role. In hiking, you can not stop and start drinking your protein shake. Also, you rarely see any hiker carrying protein shake with them on hike. On the other hand in gym, after your workout you can take protein shake to fill up the muscle fiber.