Snowshoes, Snowshoeing, Winter Exercise and Calorie Burn
Snowshoeing and Physical Fitness
How would you like to burn off a thousand calories or more in just one hour? Sounds good doesn’t it? If there is some white, fluffy stuff outside where you live then you’re in luck. Snowshoeing is the best calorie burner of all winter sports. According to 50 Plus Senior News, snowshoeing burns more than twice the calories as walking at the same pace. By the way, you can snowshoe in the warm south too. It just isn’t really necessary and might get you a few strange looks.
Here are some calorie burning statistics for snowshoeing. This information is from the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
If you weigh roughly 130 pounds: 472 calories burned snowshoeing per hour
If you weigh roughly 155 pounds: 563 calories burned per hour
If you weigh roughly 180 pounds: 654 calories burned per hour
If you weigh roughly 205 pounds: 745 calories burned per hour
My son and I took off for a couple of hours today and trekked through some beautiful terrain. I’ll share some of the photos with you.
Snowshoeing is Easy to Learn
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. You don’t really need anyone to show you how to do it. You will teach yourself in no time. If you’ve never snowshoed before, here are a few suggestions for the first couple of outings.
- Rent snowshoes until you know what bindings you like.
- Stay on flat terrain.
- Try to avoid obstacles such as fallen branches.
- Take it slow and easy.
- Try using ski poles or walking poles to help with balance.
- Etiquette tip: Cross country skiers appreciate it if you don’t track up their groomed trails.
If you go out for very long, you might consider taking water and a snack. You will be using a lot of energy and the calories from a healthy snack will replenish your energy. I like to take homemade Larabars or homemade trail mix.
Snowshoeing Gets You Close to Nature and Wildlife
One of the great things about snowshoeing is that you can get to places in the winter that are otherwise inaccessible. You can break your own trail into the deep woods where it is peaceful and where wildlife is sheltering from the weather. There were deer ahead of my son and me today. They kept moving as we proceeded. Finally we came to where the ground fell away to a cedar swamp and we could see the deer still running through the trees below. Sadly, they were too far away and hidden by trees for me to get a photograph.
Here are some statistics from the Outdoor Industry Foundation for the growth of the sport of snowshoeing over the last several years.
Snowshoeing increased by 17.4% from 2008 to 2009 equaling 3.4 million.
That was followed by an 11.4% increase from 2009 to 2010.
Snowshoeing is a healthy sport and something anyone can do. Get a group together, or go for a solo jaunt. You will be rewarded physically, emotionally and spiritually.
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Snowshoeing Gear and Supplies
Here are some suggestions for gear and supplies when you go for a snowshoe hike.
- SmartWool socks or equivalent.
- Firm winter boots. By firm I mean something that won't scrunch up when you pull the bindings tight.
- Gaiters. These are worn over the boots to keep snow out and to keep feet warm and dry.
- Snowshoes. Rentals should be used until you find the kind of bindings you like. Some brand names to look for are Tubbs, Atlas, Black Diamond, MSR, Columbia, Easton, Itasca, K2, Trek, Yukon and Red Feather.
- Walking poles. They should have a basket near the bottom end made for snow conditions.
- Snow pants. If these are too thick, you may have trouble getting the gaiters around them.
- Layered garments for the upper body. If you get too warm, you can take a layer off.
- Mittens. Mittens tend to keep hands warmer than gloves by trapping body heat.
- Hat or hood. Something to cover the ears is best if the temperature gets very cold.
- Compass. Take one if you think it is even remotely possible to get lost.
- Water and healthy snacks.