What’s the Difference Between Hiking & Walking? – A Beginners Guide

What's the Difference Between Hiking & Walking

So you’re thinking about going on a hike? Great! Hiking can be a lot of fun, and it’s a good way to get some exercise.

But before you hit the hiking trails, it’s important to understand that there is a  difference between hiking and walking.

So what is the difference between hiking and walking?

Hiking is a more strenuous activity that involves ascending and descending hills, while walking is a more leisurely stroll on a flat surface.

Hiking can also be done in more rugged terrains, while walking is usually confined to a paved road or sidewalks.

So the next time you go for a hike, remember to pack your water and snacks, and be prepared for a more challenging walk!

Let’s walk through the main differences between the two outdoor activities.

Hiking vs Walking The Main Differences

Hiking vs Walking: The Main Differences

Hiking and walking are both excellent forms of physical exercise that offer a variety of benefits for the body and mind.

Hiking is defined as a long walk in the countryside, while walking is simply the act of moving forwards at a steady pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn.

While both activities are great for your health, there are some key differences that you should be aware of before heading out on your next hike or walk.

Difference #1: The Terrain

One of the main differences between hiking and walking is the terrain.

Hiking trails can be found in a variety of different landscapes, from mountain hiking and forests to beaches and deserts.

This means that hikers need to be prepared for a range of different conditions, including mud, snow, and rocks.

Walking trails, on the other hand, are usually found in urban areas on sidewalks or paved paths.

While you may encounter some obstacles like cracks in the sidewalk or potholes, for the most part, walking trails are much more even and predictable than hiking trails.

Difference The Pace

Difference #2: The Pace

Another key difference between hiking and walking is the pace.

Hiking is typically a slower-paced activity than walking, as hikers need to be mindful of the uneven terrain and possible obstacles in their path.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t walk quickly on a hike – it just means that you need to be aware of your surroundings and take your time if necessary.

Walking, on the other hand, is usually faster-paced since it’s done on even surfaces with few obstacles.

So if you’re looking for a workout that will get your heart rate up, walking may be a better option than hiking.

Difference #3: The Equipment

Hiking and walking also require different types of equipment.

Hikers usually need to wear sturdy shoes with good traction to grip the ground like hiking boots, as well as clothes that will protect them from the elements.

Hiking backpacks are also typically larger than walking bags, as hikers need to carry more supplieslike water, food, and a first-aid kit.

Walking, on the other hand, requires less equipment.

Comfortable hiking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing are usually all you need for a walk.

You may also want to bring a water bottle and a snack, but a small bag should be all you need to carry your belongings.

Difference The Muscle Groups Used

Difference #4: The Muscle Groups Used

Hiking and walking also engage different muscle groups.

Hiking generally works the leg muscles more, as hikers need to be able to lift their legs high to avoid tripping over obstacles.

Walking, on the other hand, works the muscles in the lower body, including the calves, hamstrings, and glutes.

Both activities also require the use of core muscles to maintain balance, but hiking engages the core muscles more due to the uneven terrain.

No matter which activity you choose, you’re sure to get a great workout! Just be sure to dress appropriately and be aware of your surroundings so you can stay safe and have fun.

Hiking Vs Walking: What Are The Advantages?

Both hiking and walking have a number of advantages that make them great forms of exercise.

g Vs Walking What Are The Advantages

Hiking –

  • Boosts heart health
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Enhances joint flexibility
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Mental benefits
  • Helps lose weight
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Increases life expectancy
  • Many health benefits

Walking –

  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Lowers risk of stroke
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves mental health

So, what’s the best way to get started?

If you’re new to exercise, or if you have any health concerns, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any physical activity.

Once you get the green light, start slow and build up your stamina gradually.

And remember, there’s no wrong way to hike or walk – just get out there and enjoy the fresh air!

e Right Hike for You

How to Choose the Right Hike for You

With so many trails to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start when planning a hike.

However, by considering your level of fitness and experience, as well as the type of scenery you’re looking for, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect hike for you.

If you’re new to hiking, or if you’re not very physically fit, look for trails that are short and relatively flat.

You might also want to choose a hiking trail that is heavily trafficked, as these are typically well-marked and easier to follow.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced hiker in good shape, you may want to tackle longer, more challenging steep hiking trails.

These nature trails often provide stunning views and a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

Mountain trails tend to be more difficult than trails at lower elevations, so be sure to take this into account when choosing a hike. Especially rocky mountains which have a lot of elevation changes.

Hiker relaxing after a walk

You may want to consider if you want to go on a long-distance hike or day hike.

A long-distance hike can take multiple days or even weeks to complete, and you’ll need to be prepared to camp overnight.

Day hikes are short distances that can be completed in one day.

Finally, consider the type of scenery you want to see on your hike.

Do you want to experience the beauty of a waterfall? Or are you looking for a peaceful forest hike?

By knowing what you’re looking for, you can narrow down your choices and find the best hike for you.

How to Choose the Right Walk for You

Walking is a great form of exercise that has many benefits. It is low-impact, so it is easy on your joints, and it can be done almost anywhere.

Walking is also a weight-bearing exercise, which means that it helps to strengthen bones and muscles. However, not all walks are created equal.

When choosing a walking route, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Choosing the right walk for you

First, consider the surface. If you are walking on pavement, it is important to wear comfortable walking shoes with good padding to protect your feet.

If you are on a walking trail or in the woods, you may want to choose running shoes with more traction to prevent slipping. Nature walks always have the risk of uneven footing, so it is important to be prepared.

Second, make sure to choose a route that is safe. Avoid walking alone at night in areas that are not well-lit or that you are not familiar with.

Finally, consider the scenery. If you are looking for a relaxing walk, choose a route with scenic views in a natural environment. If you are looking for a challenging workout, choose a hilly route or one with stairs.

Walking uphill always takes more effort, but the payoff is a great workout and beautiful views.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring! Walking is a fantastic way to get exercise, fresh air, and explore new places.

hiking and walking difference conclusion


Now that you know the difference between hiking and walking, you can decide which activity is right for you.

If you’re looking for a more challenging workout, then hiking is the best option. But if you’re just looking to get some exercise and enjoy the scenery, then walking may be a better choice.

Whatever you decide, just make sure to have fun and be safe!

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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