Have you tried snowshoeing yet? If not, you just might be missing out on one of the best opportunities to burn calories and get outside to explore once there is a bit too much snow on the ground for regular hiking. The great thing about snowshoeing is that it takes no special skills and is easy to learn. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Plus, it burns more calories than walking and is the perfect cure for the cabin fever that can set in once colder weather starts keeping us indoors.
Whether shoveling snow is a regular occurrence at your house or you are heading to the mountains for a winter road trip, snowshoes are a great addition to your winter sports gear and give you a cardio workout option that does not involve a treadmill in a stuffy gym. It is best to rent a pair for your first outing to make sure you enjoy it and to get a better idea of the size you need, since you will want to purchase a decent pair once you decide to invest in them.
Before you head out on your first trek, here are some tips to help you prepare.
1. Dress in layers. It might be cold out, but you are going to work up a sweat while you get an excellent lower-body workout.
2. Wear waterproof boots. Just about any type of hiking boot or winter boot will work for snowshoeing. Just make sure they are waterproof to keep your feet warm and dry.
3. Rent or buy poles. Trekking or snowshoeing poles will help you keep your balance, work your upper body and get through rougher terrain. Downhill skiing poles generally are not the ideal choice for snowshoeing. Invest in good trekking poles that can be adjusted to the most comfortable height and have large snow baskets.
4. Get a snowshoe bag. When you are ready to buy your first pair of snowshoes, make sure you also get a snowshoe bag to keep your gear organized and avoid tossing wet snowshoes into your trunk or RV. Most mid-range and higher-end snowshoes will come with a bag.
5. Pick the right shoe for you. If your snowshoeing excursions will mostly be short hikes on easy terrain, recreational snowshoes will work just fine. If you plan on running or jogging on your snowshoes, you may want to choose fitness snowshoes, which are lighter and have a tapered tail to help you maintain a more comfortable gait. If some serious backcountry trekking is in your future, snowshoes specifically designed for backpacking over rougher terrain are a necessity.
Snowshoeing is an ideal activity for winter fitness and an addictive hobby. Try out this easy-to-learn winter activity, and you may find yourself coming up with excuses to get out and play in the snow!
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