Physiological and metabolic responses to hiking: A meta-analysis toward health benefits
The present study investigated hiking as a type of physical activity that takes place in natural environment and promotes humans health. In the recent years hiking has becoming very popular in individuals of different activity level, gender and age. Consistent with the recent literature, hiking is a physical activity of low to moderate intensity (40-70% HRmax) which consists of walking from 4 to 11 hours and lasts from one single or more days. Hiking produces high energy expenditure which in most of the cases is higher than participants' energy intake, therefore, producing a negative energy balance, the extent which depending on the difficulty of the hiking route (intensity, duration and severity of terrain). The negative energy balance and the high fat utilization occur during hiking have a reducing effect on participants' body mass and body fat. Generally, hiking is consistent with the recommendations for physical activity that promotes and maintains health publish regularly by international associations (ACSM, AHA and BASIS).