Weight Loss . . .

Feedback for the article published April 14, 2005.

Weight Loss . . .

Postby Keith » Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:54 pm

Excellent point about this relatively undiscussed benefit of backpacking. It is pertinent not only at the personal level but also at the national policy level to get funding for trails and wilderness protection as part of a national "war on obesity".

However, I do question the point about hiking poles contributing to a net daily increase in calorie expenditure. The flaw is seen in the link to the Nordic walking article claiming 40% increase in calorie expenditure and documenting the 150 vs. 180 heart rate. What was not mentioned was the difference in time it took the guy to go up the hill with/without poles.

It's the same reason why walking and running consume about the same number of calories over the same distance covered. Yes, running consumes calories faster but you get there sooner.

Thus, any component of pole-usage energy that contributes to forward headway will NOT increase net calorie expenditure at the end of the day. That is to say, if two people agree on reaching a given destination (as is typically the case) and one uses poles and the other does not, there should be little difference in their caloric output by the time they reach their destination that is attributable to pole usage. Only "additional" usage such as carrying the weight of the poles in the first place or energy spent in balancing or swinging at spider webs will contribute to a net caloric output. Unless . . . pole usage contributes to people actually covering more miles.

But wait, there's more. It may be that pole usage (or the component that contributes to forward motion, anyway) actually reduces caloric output. It has been stated that to accomplish a given work output that it is more efficient to use multiple muscle groups at a lower exertion level than to use fewer muscle groups closer to the limit of their output. Thus using arms in addition to legs may be more calorie efficient and thereby reduce one's calorie deficit.

In conclusion, a great article making a vital point about weight control and also about the value of poles. I just think the link between poles and caloric expenditure is more complex than commonly realized and the impact of pole usage on caloric expenditure is not yet clear.
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Great comments...

Postby Jim Wood » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:16 am

Great points and I agree with your observations about Nordic walking. Although I tried to underscore the tentative nature of the claimed benefits by referring to them as "Bonus Calories?" in the heading (note the question mark), your comments prompted me to strengthen the point a bit more by added a closing sentence to that section:

"It bears remembering, however, that Nordic walking is still quite new, which means that the bonus calories discussed here should probably be viewed as somewhat speculative until further study can corroborate the claims."

Thanks again for your post...
Jim Wood.
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FSO Vs. BMI

Postby Call me Pliny » Sat Nov 26, 2005 12:17 am

I think that all too often people tryiing to be "ultralight" look only at FSO (from skin out) weight and forget about body weight. It is all part of the same "System" who's objective is to get you to your destination. In fact, if someone were to do a carefull analysis of the entire system, I think one would find that body weight is as critical as pack weight. I lost about 10 pounds recently, getting my BMI (body mass index) down to 25. that isn't low my any means, but I found a noticable difference in my strength and endurance on the trail. There are plenty of BMI calculators on line if you want to know what you "should" weigh.
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Re: Weight Loss . . .

Postby BobbyJames » Tue May 24, 2011 1:50 pm

heard of lifestyle lift?
Keith wrote:Excellent point about this relatively undiscussed benefit of backpacking. It is pertinent not only at the personal level but also at the national policy level to get funding for trails and wilderness protection as part of a national "war on obesity".

However, I do question the point about hiking poles contributing to a net daily increase in calorie expenditure. The flaw is seen in the link to the Nordic walking article claiming 40% increase in calorie expenditure and documenting the 150 vs. 180 heart rate. What was not mentioned was the difference in time it took the guy to go up the hill with/without poles.

It's the same reason why walking and running consume about the same number of calories over the same distance covered. Yes, running consumes calories faster but you get there sooner.

Thus, any component of pole-usage energy that contributes to forward headway will NOT increase net calorie expenditure at the end of the day. That is to say, if two people agree on reaching a given destination (as is typically the case) and one uses poles and the other does not, there should be little difference in their caloric output by the time they reach their destination that is attributable to pole usage. Only "additional" usage such as carrying the weight of the poles in the first place or energy spent in balancing or swinging at spider webs will contribute to a net caloric output. Unless . . . pole usage contributes to people actually covering more miles.

But wait, there's more. It may be that pole usage (or the component that contributes to forward motion, anyway) actually reduces caloric output. It has been stated that to accomplish a given work output that it is more efficient to use multiple muscle groups at a lower exertion level than to use fewer muscle groups closer to the limit of their output. Thus using arms in addition to legs may be more calorie efficient and thereby reduce one's calorie deficit.

In conclusion, a great article making a vital point about weight control and also about the value of poles. I just think the link between poles and caloric expenditure is more complex than commonly realized and the impact of pole usage on caloric expenditure is not yet clear.

Yeah I agree with this. Backpacking and hiking is a great way to enjoy losing weight. It's much better than being on a treadmill grinding it out. Hiking is fun. I prefer to call it exploring and losing weight is a nice side benefit.
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Re: Weight Loss . . .

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