It's a funny question though. When I walk on the beach, I call it walking. Even though there are some areas that you're really having to work at it, like over rocks, through the water around a point. Many of our best beaches you have to "hike" to get to them...and I would say I hiked to the beach to take a walk - LOL.
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Incline makes a difference in calories burned in either activity, so walking on a paved road on an incline (or on a treadmill) will burn more calories than walking on a flat road. Hiking to me involves a trail or unpaved road, this makes it more difficult than walking on a paved surface, you have those lumps, bumps, tree roots, rocks etc to deal with, so balance comes into play more than walking on a paved surface. But some hiking trails are paved as well (example, Zion NP has many trails that are paved, even if they are not maintained...) but still hiking because of the nature of the trail (switchbacks and incline)
Like the other posters have said, you really can determine for yourself the effort you put in, and decide if you want to call it a "walk" or a "hike". Either way, enjoy it!
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There sure is a big difference in calories when logging that is for sure. I often wonder where they get such big differences too and have asked that question before. I have paved roads up to the mountains where I live and I have hiking areas. I can walk so many minutes a mile on the road straight up a paved mountain and I can hike on dirt right up a mountain. So I don't always get why such a difference. I know there would be a difference if I was a flat lander verses climbing mountains and a difference from carring a load to not carrying.
Usually the terrain makes a difference. Also walking sounds slower and more relaxed. When you hike it is with more purpose and your speed or tempo is faster. Sometimes it is referred to as walking with a purpose.
It's up to you but from the way you describe it I would think it would burn more calories than just walking and would log it as hiking. Sometimes I log the treadmill as hiking when I have it set up on an up and down hill profile and have both the speed and the intensity up because walking just doesn't adequatly describe that kind of workout. The calories burned according to the treadmill and the calories for hiking are closer in comparison that if I use walking. So the idea is to log in what comes closest to the difficulty you are doing I would say.
I've been having this debate with my husband about what the difference is between hiking and walking. We live by the beach, so I frequently walk up and down the sand dunes (there are quite a few inclines and the sand offers some resistance) and then sometimes on the way back I go along the rocky beach and climb/jump from rock to rock to get back home. I think it's more challenging than just plain walking! But my husband says I should log my exercise in as walking rather than hiking. What do you think?
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