fbpx Can Hiking Increase Your Muscle Mass? | CCNM-ICC

As the weather finally warms after a long winter, many of us are looking forward to being out in nature again. Hiking can be one of the most enjoyable and healthy ways of improving both our mental and physical health. Best of all, you don’t need any equipment, making it a simple and accessible way to exercise. 

Most of us know that going on regular hikes can improve our cardiovascular fitness, but did you know that it can also increase muscle mass and strength? In a recent study, older adults aged 65-85, who completed a 7-day mountain hiking regimen had significantly increased muscle mass. The hills and inclined ground in hiking challenges the muscles, explaining the increase.  

It is normal to experience some amount of muscle loss with the natural aging process. As we get older, however, maintaining our strength and muscle mass through regular exercise is important to improve balance, reduce risk of falls, aches/pains and enhance overall well being. Regular exercise can also decrease the risk of several chronic illnesses associated with older age such as arthritis, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.  

Importantly, losing muscle mass has also been shown to increase your risk of chemotherapy-related side effects, compared to people with greater muscle mass. Simply put, if you have more muscle, you are more likely to tolerate chemotherapy with less side effects and could even experience better outcomes.

With summer right around the corner, take the opportunity to get outside for some fresh air in your local trails or even at a provincial park to experience the health benefits of hiking. Consider booking an appointment at our clinic for an assessment using our InBody 770 body composition analyzer. Your results will allow us to provide individualized diet and exercise advice to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and optimize your quality of life.