Do Hill Climbing Exercises Make You Lose Weight Fast?

Hill climbing can be an excellent weight-loss exercise. How fast you lose weight climbing hills depends on your effort and speed as well as how steep the hills are. Climbing hills can be enjoyable if the scenery is picturesque, but you should also pack for an emergency if you’re on an out-of-town hiking expedition and plan on traveling more than 20 minutes from your car, according to Mark Fenton, who was the editor of "Walking Magazine" and wrote the book “The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss and Fitness.”

Men Vs. Women

The average man loses more weight exercising than the average woman because men weigh more, they have nearly twice the muscle mass percentage, and muscle burns more calories than fat. However, more calories, a measurement of energy, are needed to fuel the activity of muscles than fat. Consequently, men need to eat about 20 percent more calories than women even when their weight is the same, according to Dianne Hales, who wrote the college textbook, "An Invitation to Health," and won numerous national writing awards, including awards from the Council for the Advancement of Scientific Education and several other health- and science-related organizations.

Burning Calories

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Walking uphill for one hour will burn an average of 354 calories in a 130-pound person, 422 calories in a 155-pound person and 518 calories in a 190-pound person, according to a list researched and compiled by Wisconsin’s Department of Health and Family Services. You lose 1 pound when you burn 3,500 calories. The average 155-pound person who walks up hills four hours a week will lose slightly more than 2 pounds in a month. People who exert more effort and walk faster, though, burn more calories. A faster heart rate reflects a more strenuous effort. Your fitness improves when your heart rate is 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate -- 220 heartbeats per minute minus your age.

Steep Hills

Walking up steep hills burns more far more calories than walking up slight inclines because it requires your heart and muscles to work harder. Walking up a “slight” incline, a hill with a 6-percent angle, burns 16 percent more calories than walking 3.5 mph on a flat surface. Walking up a “steep” incline, a hill with a 20-percent angle, burns 70 percent more calories. Fenton estimates that 155-pound people walking for one hour burn 320 calories walking 3.5 mph on a flat surface, 371 calories walking up a slight incline and 544 calories walking up a steep hill.


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Hill climbing includes long climbs in national parks and short climbs in your neighborhood. Longer climbs necessitate bringing a first-aid kit with aspirin, athletic tape, several sizes of bandages, disinfectant and safety pins, Fenton says. He also recommends carrying whistles in case you’re separated from your fellow climbers, food, water, a flashlight, a lighter, a pocketknife and a map. Carrying heavy loads uphill can increase your weight loss. Walking with 15-pound loads on flat surfaces burns an average of 246 calories per hour in 155-pound people, according to Wisconsin’s list. Carrying loads uphill burns more calories because it requires more effort.