A couple of years back I picked up hiking as a new physical activity. This turned out to be more than just a hobby, with many physical benefits. I started discovering new places and meeting new people. From my meetings with hiking enthusiasts, I always had some questions in my mind.
Like, sometimes I often thought does hiking make your thighs bigger? Hiking does not necessarily make your thighs bigger. It helps you build strong lean muscles, especially the slow-twitch muscle fibers which are used for sustained activities. Hiking helps you burn the excess unwanted fat store in your thighs revealing the toned lean muscles of your thigh. Hiking makes your leg muscles strong and improves your endurance level.
I have often encountered people who are skeptical about picking up this activity as they are afraid their thighs will become bigger. In this article, I shall discuss how hiking affects the thighs and other muscles. We shall also discuss topics including the benefits of hiking on treadmills, the muscles targeted while hiking, and whether walking on an incline will slim thighs.
Unless you are a body-builder who has worked on developing big and showy muscles, excess fat is the reason for your big thighs.
Does hiking slim thighs?
Hiking is an excellent lower body toning exercise that helps you reduce unwanted fat while burning a significant amount of calories. The muscle workout you get when you hike is similar to completing a combination of workouts such as goblet squats, step-ups, and downhill lunges.
So, Does hiking slim thighs? Yes, hiking does slim thighs depending on your current fitness level. In case your thighs are larger than you would like, this is thanks to the excess fat stored rather than muscle. Men usually store most of their excess weight and fat around their hips while in the case of women, this excess weight seems to accumulate around their legs and hip.
This will burn a lot of calories and make your legs sore. This is good because of the tear and rebuilding of your slow-twitch muscles, which ultimately make them stronger and lean.
When you set out on a hike you tend to carry a backpack, and other important hiking tools like a hiking Belt, hiking gear. This weight also helps better build your leg and thigh muscles. To tone your thighs it is important to make sure you burn more calories than you consume.
— Also read: Best Hiking Belt: Readers Pick of The Month (TOP 10)
If you are a person who already has lean legs and is looking forward to getting bigger legs, then you just have to make sure you consume a sufficient amount of protein and ensure that your calorie intake is more than what you burn.
Will walking on an incline slim thighs?
When you exercise your leg muscles, they will grow a little, but you will mostly see this effect immediately after exercise. This is because the muscles swell to bring in nutrients and expel waste. This effect wears away after 30 minutes to an hour.
Is it true, Will walking on an incline slim thighs? Yes, if you watch your diet properly and walk on an incline, then your thighs will definitely lose fat as you gain muscle. Overall, your legs can get smaller and leaner. If you lose enough fat, you will begin to see the lean muscle getting more defined.
When you walk on an incline to slim thighs, it helps tone the lower body while also allowing you to effectively burn calories. Achieving weight loss on a specific body part is almost impossible, but an overall reduction in body weight can help. This is why covering your miles at an incline is a fantastic thigh toning exercise.
Benefits of Hiking on treadmill?
Hiking on a treadmill improves your body’s ability to use oxygen. The more oxygen your muscles and organs get, the longer you can exercise. Hiking on a treadmill is also very beneficial if you have joint issues.
The most important benefit of hiking on a treadmill is that it mimics what you are likely to experience in a real outdoor hike. It gives you a good idea of what to expect both physically and mentally.
Hiking on a treadmill is very convenient. In case you are only concerned about adding steps to your activity quota, the quick, safe, and easy way to achieve this is on an indoor treadmill.
On a treadmill, the ascent can be simulated by adjusting the incline, with many machines offering pre-programmed hiking-style workouts. Hiking still demands more varied movement while walking up and down straight paths.
If you are someone who finds excuses about outdoor conditions to exercise, then treadmills with the incline feature are the best option. There will be no risk of sunburn or hypothermia, neither would you have to cover yourself in insect repellent.
There is no fear of twisting your ankle or tumbling down a stony hillside as well. There is the added advantage of you being able to keep track of the distance and speed, while even calculating the calories you burn.
Unless you live in a hilly rural area, hiking usually demands you to drive somewhere. It also involves additional planning, extra time, and expenses. Instead, you can use the treadmill at your home or hit your GYM, allowing you to hike daily and have more sessions.
We have made a detailed article about the Health Benefits of Hiking, you can read that as well if you want to learn more about this topic.
What muscles does hiking target?
During hiking, there are mostly your leg muscles work, but there are some other muscle groups that also come into action when you do a steep hike. Hiking, in addition to improving your cardiovascular and pulmonary health, utilizes a lot of your body’s major muscle groups.
So, what muscles does hiking target? Climbing uphill engages your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, knees, and calves, whereas hiking downhill further incorporates your ankles, feet, and hips. In short, hiking can be considered a full leg workout. It doesn’t matter if you are hiking up a mountain or climbing down, uneven terrains demand a strong core for good balance.
Hiking with trekking poles helps lessen the load on your knees by transferring some of it to your arms helping you tone your arms. The different muscle group that gets worked are:
- Quadriceps (the muscles at the fronts of your thighs): These are the primary muscles used for hiking. They are large muscles, organized in discrete portions that stay interconnected throughout the top of the leg. Hiking engages all portions of the quadriceps-muscles to propel the body forward during each step or stride by straightening the knee.
- Hamstrings: They work in conjunction with the quadriceps by helping you bend the knee. The quadriceps are pulled back by the hamstring as you shift your weight during hiking
- Calves: The calf muscles are instrumental for hiking. While hiking they may undergo changing levels of use. The natural flexion and extension are pretty strenuous when you are hiking uphill carrying a heavy pack. The calves get worked heavily while hiking uphill even if you are not carrying a pack.
- Glutes: They are the three muscles of the backside that extend into the hips and are used to support your trunk while hiking. While hiking the glutes help support your body weight plus the weight of your pack. Walking or running uphill generally works your glutes way more than moving on flat ground.
- Other Hip Muscles: It is important to keep the hips limber and flexible to avoid injuries while hiking. These muscles include hip flexors, abductors, and adductors. They support hip flexion while hiking. They support the glutes and lower back to avoid strain and absorb shock when you hike.
- Abs: The abdominal muscles commonly known as the abs are used for core strength to support hiking. When you hike, the abs will assist with posture, and may also work to carry your pack if you have one. Strong abdominal muscles will help you avoid back injury while hiking.
The natural terrain demands way more than hiking on a treadmill. This results in a more versatile workout, as the ascent and descent engage different muscles. Walking downhill can be hard on knee joints, so if this is an issue, going up and down steep hills may not be the best option.