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Discover Your Winter Wonderland by Snowshoe

December 3, 2015 by Normand Richard, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Snowshoeing is great exercise

Taking your physical activity to the great outdoors during winter is a great way to maintain your activity level and have fun in your community. Picture this: snow covered pine trees drooping gracefully, the sun reflecting off icy surfaces, and a blanket of untouched snow on the ground creating breathtaking views. This could be the scene you enjoy on a day of snowshoeing! 

Snowshoeing is an excellent winter physical activity that was developed out of necessity. First Nations needed a way to efficiently move around in winter when deep snow made walking too difficult. Originally snowshoes where made of sapling bent in an oval or teardrop shape with leather webbing and binding. Snow shoes now come in different types – some made specifically for running, some for tackling steeper slopes – and this snow sport has become a popular way to stay active in the colder months.  

Why it’s Good Exercise 

Snowshoeing is great for developing and maintaining your aerobic fitness. This kind of exercise keeps your heart healthy and your legs strong. If you compete in a sport year-round, it’s also a great cross training activity to refresh your mind and keep things fun in the off-season. 

Technique 

These tips can make your snowshoe outing more enjoyable: 

  • Keep your feet slightly wider than you would with “regular” walking to avoid stepping on your other snowshoe.
  • Focus on lifting your snowshoe off the ground so that the tip doesn’t get caught in the snow. Like your mom said, don’t drag your feet!
  • I advise using poles for extra balance. Poles can also make it a harder workout.
  • The right clothing will also make your experience much more enjoyable – read more on attire here.

Where to Go

Most hiking trails can be snowshoed in the winter when there’s snow covering the ground. Find trails here. You can also snowshoe at most ski and snowboard hills where they also offer snow shoe rentals.

Our Challenge to You 

Take out your holiday calendar, a pen, and your phone. Call a few friends and choose a date this winter to go snowshoeing! Get a re-Tweet from @HealthyFamilyBC and @TeamPAL if you tweet us a picture. 


Related blogs:
Hiking: Your Route to Adventure and Health
Tips to Prevent Winter Sport Injuries

Recommended resources:
Trails BC: Loops and Journeys
World Snowshoe Federation: Snowshoe running   

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