Try Snowshoeing for a Winter Workout

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March across that frozen tundra.

I was talking with my mother the other day about how the two of us are staying in shape. Since she lives in the northeast, there’s no shortage of snow on the ground right now, and since she was looking for an active way she could spend time with friends, she decided to take up snowshoeing. This was a great call on her part, not only because she found an excuse to get out of the house in the dead of winter, but because snowshoeing is fantastic exercise.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that snowshoeing is just walking, but in the snow. On the contrary; snowshoeing is walking’s scary older brother. One snowshoe weighs at least a good two pounds, and on top of the heavier clothes you have to wear while doing it, you’re gonna be burning a good 500 calories an hour at least. Snowshoeing is actually an aerobic exercise on par with swimming or using an elliptical, and it builds all the same muscles as a brisk run. Best of all, it’s a low-impact exercise that won’t tear up your knees and joints too badly, so it’s great for older folks looking to stay in shape without running themselves ragged.

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If you’re going snowshoeing, aside from a pair of quality snowshoes, you’ll also want a set of warm, moisture-wicking clothes and socks, preferably in multiple layers that you can easily remove when you get hot (not if, when). If you’re planning on making a day of it, make sure to bring water and healthy snacks, all packed up in a lightweight backpack. As for where you can do it, you can pretty much go anywhere there’s a long stretch of flat or hilly snow. If you happen to live near a golf course, for instance, they’re great sites for snowshoeing, and they probably won’t charge you to use them.