Your Guide to How and Why to Go Snowshoeing
Take the First Step Into Snowshoeing
It’s like clockwork every year. The ball in Times Square drops signaling a fresh, new year and gyms across the country get inundated with resolutioners seeking to sweat off those “last stubborn 10 pounds” or “finally get in shape.”
But, what if this year instead of crowding into one of those resolutioner-packed gyms—filled with outdated equipment and harsh overhead lighting—you struck out on an outdoor activity that will not only burn calories and challenge your muscles but also let you connect with nature, breath in the fresh air, and satisfy your sense of exploration. The activity? Snowshoeing.
Snowshoeing might not exactly be the first (or even tenth) thing you think of when working out comes to mind. Instead, when you hear the term snowshoeing you might think of French explorers trotting across the Alps. However, this form of exercise is a modern, effective, and convenient way to break a sweat all winter long. And, if you’re still not convinced, here are a few reasons to give snowshoeing a try:
An Activity Outdoors
Instead of holing up in your basement logging miles on a rickety treadmill, you bought a decade ago on eBay you could venture out into the fresh air. Strap on your snowshoes and enjoy the sunshine, pine-scented air, and breathtaking views.
Studies show that being outdoors for as little as 15 minutes can lower stress levels and decreases depression. So, even if you’re not burning calories at an epic pace, you’ll still be doing your body a lot of good.
The views will also beat looking at the mold growing on your basement walls or the 5-inch screen with 24-hour news on at your gym. Going snowshoeing in the winter is the best way to get out there and enjoy the world. You can take your RV and go for a trip, or simply cruise down the road to a local state park.
Exert Yourself (Or Don’t)
Can’t keep up with that almost too high energy aerobics instructor or not even breathing heavily from that 90s workout tape? Try snowshoeing and go at your own pace. Snowshoeing, like many forms of cardio, lets you determine how strenuous you want your workout to be. However, unlike running or swimming you have a few more options you can control.
For example, do you want to snowshoe on flat terrain or hilly, packed snow or powdered, without poles or with, at walking or running pace? It’s entirely up to you whether you want a relaxing family jaunt or an arduous winter trek.
The best thing about snowshoeing is that it allows you to get out there when others aren’t, and once you’re out there, you can set the pace and take things as slowly or quickly as you please.
Feel the Burn
Suzanne Somers and her Thigh Master have nothing on snowshoeing. Because snowshoes are wider than regular shoes, your stance widens. This leads to nearly constant firing on your thighs for the duration of your snowshoe endeavor. Along with your thighs, you’ll also work up your hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. So, expect to have toned legs by spring – no thanks to Suzanne.
Because you’re outside and hopefully enjoying the scenery you’ll be less likely to notice. This is one of the major pluses of snowshoeing. You can get out there and have a new experience every single day in the snow and you’ll also get one of the best bits of exercises you can get in the winter months.
Good on Joints
For all the good that comes with working out, there can be some bad—namely stress on the joints. That’s where snowshoeing rises above. Because you’ll be walking or running on snow, which acts as a cushion, your knees and joints won’t bear the brunt of the workout and you’ll spare them soreness or injury that might not be the case should you run on a concrete trail or try Zumba again.
Even regular hiking in the spring and summer months can put more strain on your joints. This makes snowshoeing better (in some ways) than hiking all summer long. It also makes it better for your body than some other winter sports like downhill or cross-country skiing, which can be tough on your knees, hips, and ankles.
You don’t have to slog across town to your gym or sign-up months in advance and pay to enter. You can snowshoe right outside your front door in your own neighborhood or at a nearby trail. As long as there is snow on the ground, Snowshoeing is available for you.
If you RV during the winter months—which is highly recommended—then you’ll find that staying at a park or resort will afford you the opportunity to snowshoe as soon as you leave your RV. While other folks will be skipping out on the RV life for the winter months, you can enjoy yourself in perfect solitude, and take in experiences few others get to have.
Do it on the Cheap
Snowshoeing doesn’t require a membership or a lot of specialized equipment. All you need are a good pair of snowshoes, poles if you choose, and snow on the ground, which is of course completely free of charge.
You’ll also need some winter clothes, but chances are if you live or travel to where enough snowfall allows for snowshoeing, you probably already have some gloves and hats hanging around. This means the startup costs are relatively low, and that gives you all the more reason to give this fun winter activity a try.
Fresh and New
Any form of winter activity out can get redundant if done enough. Snowshoeing will be a fresh, new activity to try that’s far from boring.
Also, studies show that when you embark on a new activity, you burn more calories because your body hasn’t learned to be as efficient with it as with activities you’ve done more often. So, if you feel yourself plateauing on your weight loss or fitness journey, give snowshoeing a try and watch the pounds melt more than the snow you drag in after your first jaunt.
So, this year, instead of packing into a gym environment or just sitting on your backside during the winter months, embark on a one-of-a-kind activity that lets you commune with nature, get some fresh air, and, of course, burn a substantial number of calories. This year trade in the tennis shoes for the snowshoes and enjoy all that comes with it.