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May 11, 2022
Living in the northern hemisphere comes with seasons. In early fall and winter months most of Canada is covered in a blanket of snow and offers below freezing temperatures. So for those who want to stay healthy and exercise with an anaerobic activity are most often limited to doing so indoors. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. With snowshoeing being a highly accessible activity, it allows you to still get that great heart pumping full body workout in the dead of winter, as a great alternative to being in an indoor gym. In addition to improving your physical well-being, it also has the added benefit of improving your mental happiness, allowing you to be closely connected to nature. With hiking trails buried deep below the snow pack, re-experience your treasured summer trails by seeing them in a whole new light! Snowshoes also allow you to explore new trails or create your very own. So, if you enjoy getting out in the late spring or summer time hiking, you will be guaranteed to enjoy strapping on your Powder Paws and hitting your favorite trails in the cold winter months. With the snow-covered trees and crisp winter air strapping on your best snowshoes is a great way to spend a snowy day outdoors!
Burning Calories and Building Muscular Endurance
Snowshoeing is a great anaerobic activity which improves cardiovascular fitness, aiding in weight loss while allowing a high calorie burn! According to studies done by Snowsports Industries America (SIA) the average person snowshoeing burns around 600 calories per hour. This can be brought up to 1000 calories per hour with steeper terrain or a faster pace. As you can see, it is a very efficient way to exercise, setting your own pace enables you to choose your personal degree of challenge while having fun. With the use of trekking poles (which we highly recommend) makes it a true full body workout and burns even more calories all while toning your arms, shoulder and back. The trekking poles also aid in stability and permit you to have much more of a sure foot on uneven terrain.
In addition to cardiovascular benefits, muscular endurance is also greatly improved. Your quads, hamstrings and glutes are continuously activated and the use of trekking poles activates your upper body, including your core. This will help prepare you for hiking season once the snow melts.
Is Snowshoeing recommended for elderly?
Snowshoeing is a great sport that can be apart of your life well into your retirement and senior years. If you can still walk you can snowshoe! People that suffer with knee and hip problems where higher impact activities are no longer recommended (such as skiing and running) will find snowshoeing is a great alternative as its considered low impact. The compressing of the snow as you walk acts a giant cushion on your joints. Because of this low impact you can carry on this sport much later in life. We sell a lot of men's snowshoes and women's snowshoes to customers in their 70’s and 80’s!
Mental Health Benefits
As we mentioned previously, snowshoeing does not only have physical benefits but mental health benefits as well. Snowshoeing has been proven to boost your mood and confidence. It also wipes out seasonal depression during winter months. ‘Winter Blues’ can set in due to dark and cold weather, this is also known as Season Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder). This affects millions of Canadians a year and is caused from a lack of natural sunlight from the short winter days and being indoors for months at a time. Getting out of the house and exposing yourself to the sun will encourage the production of vitamin D in your body. You only require an hour of sunlight a day to meet this daily vitamin D requirement. Making snowshoeing an immense therapy in the prevention of seasonal depression.
In addition to supporting the prevention of seasonal depression, snowshoeing contributes as well to a better nights sleep. As the muscles work all day to propel you through your favorite trails, at night, the body will have higher doses of melatonin present. If you do not already know, Melatonin is a hormone made in the body that regulates your sleep-wake cycles thus higher doses from the body will allow you to achieve a better nights sleep.
Strapping on your Powder Paws Men's Snowshoes or Women's Snowshoes and hitting trails is a great way to reduce stress! Snowshoeing offers you a chance to socialize with friends and family. This social bonding experience does not only take away your daily troubles but it can also put your brain at ease. There is considerable research confirming that the social connections we make in our day to day lives are vital for brain health and are directly related to life fulfillment and happiness.