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Is Hiking More Than Just Walking Off-Road?
The line between hiking and walking is blurry once you step off the pavement. While both activities are exploring on foot, many people identify themselves as only a hiker or only a walker. See the differences between these two activities and what they have in common.
Hiking vs. Walking
There are many elements that people use to judge whether they are hiking or simply walking.
- Hikers hike on natural trails, while walkers walk on any surface—concrete, asphalt, gravel, or sand.
- Hikers seek natural environments—forests, mountains, parks. Walkers walk anywhere.
- Hikers like to dress the part in natural fibers, sturdy hiking boots, and a hiking stick or trekking poles. Walkers may look like anybody else out strolling down the street.
- Hikers take the 10 essentials along to deal with any emergency, including a compass and a way to make fire, and often carry these items in a backpack. Walkers take their house key (when they remember), cell phone, identification, money or a card, and maybe a water bottle. A walker might carry a purse or pack or just make use of pockets.
- Hiking is rated as burning more calories per mile than walking at the same speed, due to hills and uneven surfaces.
Hikers vs. Walkers
However, many hikers turn up their noses over the idea of going for a nice long walk that isn't in the woods. They don't want to walk in urban area, suburbs, city parks, or even along country roads. They want a completely natural setting.
Training for Hiking and Trekking
If you rarely walk or hike, or you only walk on flat, paved surfaces, it is wise to do some training before you go for a long hike or trek. Training to walk hills at high altitude has two goals. First, you must build your aerobic fitness in general by doing workouts that get you breathing hard and sustaining that effort for increasing amounts of time. You also must work on getting some hill workouts or increasing the incline on your treadmill so your muscles are ready.
Try Being a Hiker on National Trails Day
Each year, the first Saturday of June in the U.S. is National Trails Day. It is a day set aside to get outside, enjoy a trail, and be a hiker, biker, or rider for the day. A trail may be in a local park, a national forest, a national park.
A Word From Verywell
Hikers and walkers have much in common. Certainly, all hikers are also walkers, whether they identify themselves as that or not. Meanwhile, walkers can benefit by getting out into green spaces, getting a little dirt on their shoes, and seeing more of the beauty of nature.
Video: Hiking The Bibbulmun Track. Part 1
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