Making Fitness Strides with Snowshoes
“Even if you snowshoe slowly—about two miles per hour—your caloric expenditure will be about eight calories per minute, or 480 calories per hour,” says Declan Connolly, PhD, director of the human performance laboratory at the University of Vermont. If you step up the pace to three miles per hour, Connolly says, you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour. Caloric consumption, however, is not the only benefit of snowshoeing.
Connolly and his colleagues have conducted a number of studies in the past few years to test the effects of a snowshoe workout. In addition to burning a ton of calories, they found that snowshoeing leads to significant improvements in workout time to exhaustion and VO2 Max (maximum lung capacity). In fact, athletes completing a snowshoe training program showed greater improvement in VO2 Max than athletes who completed a similar running program.
So what does this mean to you? Bottom line: If you strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit the trails, you are going to get a killer workout.
Anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, can strap on a pair of snowshoes and go for a low-stress, low-impact walk or run through snow. Much less expensive than cross-country ski equipment, snowshoeing is easy to learn and provides access to tranquil undeveloped places where the environment and nature produce a feeling of wholeness and peace of mind.
A quiet meander through open snowy fields will do as much for your head as it does for your body. However, snowshoeing can also be the ultimate winter cardio treat. Moving through the resistance created by snow causes the body to expend more energy even at slower paces. You’ll develop leg strength and endurance without jarring of impact on a hard surface. For every step, expect to sink a few inches depending on snow condition. The more sinking the better because resistance from the snow adds intensity to your workout.
Here at Premier Fitness Camp we make this a regular part of our Winter Workout Routine. We have a great time snowshoeing up and around the mountain. This a great workout for all fitness levels from beginner to advanced!