Written by R.Brown - a runner, sports writer and owner of Runabees.com
The ongoing debate about which is better - hiking or running does not seem to have one right answer. The truth is, both activities are enjoyable, and have their benefits for your wellbeing, fitness level and are excellent forms of exercise. Both come with risks too.
So, before you can answer the question which one is better, you need to ask yourself - what are you looking for?
Do you want to lose weight?
If your goal is to lose weight, then running is probably the better option of the two. One hour of intensive running can burn up to 1350 calories, while an hour of hiking will help you burn an average of 650 calories. These numbers can fluctuate, depending on the intensity of your pace, the difficulty of the trail, the weight you are carrying and your body weight.
Running is a great cardio exercise which intensifies the heart rate of up to 75-80% of its maximum capability and thus boosts the burning of calories. Hiking is a superb aerobic exercise, and depending on the intensity and elevation of the trail can also lead to burning a big amount of calories.
Also, keep in mind that unless you are an endurance runner, hiking will usually take longer hours to complete than running, so in the long run, hiking could turn out to be the better option for a calorie burning activity.
Are you looking for an adventure?
If you are looking for a fun-filled adventure, then hiking is probably the better option for you. Choose a trail in a beautiful mountain or place which you haven't explored previously, and enjoy the amazing views, and the beautiful natural surroundings while completing your trail. Hiking will allow you to take the time to enjoy the settings, while running will keep you concentrated on the running itself, so you are less likely to be able to explore the beautiful natural settings around you. Also, hiking will allow you to practice your survival skills as well as help you exercise your body. Plus, hiking can involve stopping at some point to enjoy a snack and some leisure time, while running does not.
Looking for better health benefits and minimizing the risk of injury?
Both hiking and running provide excellent health benefits. Not only will they help you burn calories and stay fit, but they will also help you work those muscles, and improve your bone density. Running, as a vigorous cardio exercise will help improve your lung function as well.
As for the risks - both activities pose their risks of injuries, but running is riskier because the repetitive movement and the heavy impact of the feet hitting the ground with great force. One way to reduce the risk of injuries is to use footwear that is appropriate for your foot type and feet issues. For example, if you have high arches, look for flexible cushioned shoes such as these; if you have flat feet, you should look for motion-control running shoes.
Hiking too can be risky, especially if you are not wearing suitable hiking shoes or boots with proper traction, stability, cushioning and support.
Want to feel that endorphin rush?
Running causes the incomparable endorphin rush which all runners look forward to. The euphoric feeling when you complete a good run is definitely a strong motivational factor for many runners. As for hiking, you can feel that euphoria too, especially if you choose an elevated and more difficult trail for your hike. Once you reach to the top, you will feel that amazing boost of good and happy energy and feelings.
In conclusion, whichever of the two activities you choose, you will be making a good choice! Doing exercises actually makes your more productive and drastically improves your mood.
What's more: both hiking and running are excellent methods for: improving your fitness level, losing any extra weight, improving the well being and health, working your muscles, releasing the stress, improving the mood and providing numerous other health, fitness and mental benefits.