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Snowshoeing: Workout in a Winter Wonderland
What Snowshoeing Can Do for You
- It gets you outside. If you have seasonal depression (winter blues), exercise will boost your mood and help eliminate stress.
- Once the snow falls, winter can be a magical place. Share it with your family and start enjoying winter.
- It's great for your heart and lungs. Showshoeing provides an low-impact, intense cardiovascular (aerobic) workout.
- Pump up the muscles in your legs.
- You will work hard with little effort because you have to chug along in the deeper snow.
- Boost your immunity. Ward off the flu and winter colds. Exercise helps give your immunity a better fighting chance.
- Burn those winter holiday calories.
- Enjoy nature without noisy machines.
- Waterproof boots. Find boots lined with Gore-Tex (it will keep your feet warm and dry).
- Snowshoes with bindings that fit properly. Most modern snowshoes are made of light weight aluminum, which helps you manage your steps on the snow.
- Cross-country snow poles help you maintain balance keep you moving, especially in places where you may need some extra help.
- Layering clothes against the cold is crucial. Windproof materials help keep the cold out. Look for waterproof clothes as well.
- Avoid cotton or cotton blends because they absorb moisture. Look for moisture-wicking material that keeps sweat off your body.
- Gloves, facemask, goggles, hiking socks, knee-high gaiters (keep the snow out of your boots), and a hat will help ward off the cold.
- Layer and dress according to the weather so you are comfortable and able to move freely.
- It's a good idea to bring an extra pair of socks, hat, and gloves in case the first pair get wet or do not keep you warm enough.
- Carry some things that cannot get wet in a zip bag to keep them dry.
- Use lip balm and sunscreen to protect your skin.
- Check the weather. Be aware that as beautiful as winter can be, storms can pop up quickly.
- Know where you're going. Map it out ahead of time.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back. If you can, snowshoe with a friend or two.
- Use your gym time to get yourself ready for snowshoeing. Build up your muscles and endurance in advance.
- Know your limits. Start out slowly and take the time to build yourself up.
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org/
The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports http://www.fitness.gov/
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca/
Public Health Agency of Canada Healthy Living Unit http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/pau-uap/fitness/
Cold Weather Sports. Teens Health from Nemours website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/food%5Ffitness/sports/winter%5Fsports.htmlUpdated February 2011. Accessed November 15, 2012.
Staying Fit During the Winter Months. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/fit-society-page/2011winterfspn%5Fwinterhealth%5Flinked.pdf. Accessed November 15, 2012.
Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing. Backpacking website. Available at: http://www.backpacking.net/winter.html#snowshoeing. Accessed November 15, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012
- Update Date: 11/15/2012