The Surprising Link Between Hiking and Lowered Hunger Pangs
Why Does Hiking Suppress Your Appetite?
Hiking can be one of the most invigorating and enjoyable outdoor activities, with its breathtaking scenery and fresh air. As much as hiking is entertaining, it can also lead to significant health benefits like weight loss, improved cardiovascular function, and lower stress levels. One of the most unexpected benefits of hiking is its appetite suppressing effect. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind the impact of hiking on appetite, and how you can leverage this knowledge to manage your eating habits.
What Happens to Your Body During a Hike?
Hiking is an intense physical activity that requires a lot of energy. When you hike, your body starts to consume calories from glucose stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. As the hike continues, your body burns fat for energy production, and this leads to the release of certain chemical compounds called ketones. Ketones have been linked to appetite suppression, and it’s believed that as their concentration in the blood increases, they signal the brain to reduce the feeling of hunger. Additionally, when you hike, your core body temperature increases, leading to an increase in metabolic rate. This leads to higher energy expenditure and subsequently reduces feelings of hunger.
The Effect of Nature on Appetite
Numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature has a calming effect on the brain and helps to reduce stress levels. Reduced stress levels have been linked with decreased appetite, and it’s believed that nature might help manage appetite through a similar mechanism. Research has shown that simply looking at pictures of natural scenery can decrease feelings of hunger and lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone associated with hunger.
Timing and Frequency of Hiking
The timing and frequency of hiking can also impact appetite suppression. As much as a single hike can suppress appetite acutely, research has shown that sustained hiking over a more extended period could lead to a lasting impact on appetite regulation. Interestingly, studies have also shown that hiking in the morning has a more significant appetite suppressing effect when compared to hiking in the afternoon or evenings.
How to Make the Most of Hiking’s Appetite Suppressing Effect
To make the most of hiking’s appetite suppressing effect, you should time your hike in the morning and aim to hike for at least an hour. Additionally, it’s essential to stay hydrated during your hike as dehydration can lead to an increase in feelings of hunger. Carry a water bottle and take small sips regularly during your hike. You can also pack a healthy snack like nuts, fruit or seeds to snack on during your hike. These snacks are energy-dense and will help you refuel without undoing the appetite suppressing effect of hiking.
Hiking is an excellent way to stay fit, have fun, and suppress appetite. By understanding the science behind the appetite suppressing effect of hiking, you can leverage this knowledge to reduce your caloric intake and support your weight loss and management goals. Remember, the key to making the most of hiking’s appetite suppressing effect involves timing your hike in the morning, staying hydrated and taking healthy snacks to refuel during your hike. Happy hiking!