Snowshoeing Health & Fitness Facts ©SIA 2007-8
Did You Know…
- 46% of snowshoers are women
- 12% of snowshoers are children aged 7-17
- 55% of snowshoers are under the age of 45
- 1.4 million people identify themselves as snowshoers, a 60% increase in the last decade
- You burn 45% more calories snowshoeing than walking or running at the same speed
Fitness Benefits and/or Muscles Used
- Snowshoeing is a cross-training conditioning sport, offering a low-impact, safe form of exercise. It is ideal for anyone interested in an aerobic workout combined with strength training and muscle endurance.
- Snowshoeing is a great aerobic exercise that will improve or maintain cardiovascular fitness as well as burn calories.
- Snowshoeing uses every major muscle group at relatively high intensity for extended periods of time, thus requiring high caloric expenditure.
- Research has shown that individuals who substitute snowshoeing for running during the winter actually improve their running fitness over those who chose to run as their primary source of winter training.
- The physical demands of snowshoeing can build up endurance levels and strengthen quadriceps for runners.
- Muscles used are similar to those used in walking and hiking hilly terrain. Hip flexors may receive more of a workout and quads may get more exercise than usual in walking due to the lifting motion of each step.
- Climbing in snowshoes works the hip flexors and extensors, crucial muscles for cyclists.
- The use of poles while snowshoeing gets the upper body moving and helps condition arms, shoulders and back muscles.
**calculations are estimates based on consultation with American College of Sports Medicine
- Snowshoeing can accommodate a variety of activities—a casual hike in the woods, an overnight backpacking trip or an alpine climb.
- Snowshoeing is a very inexpensive way to spend time with the entire family.
- With a nearly immediate learning curve, snowshoeing provides hours of fun for adults and children of all ages.
- Simplicity is perhaps one of the biggest draws to this sport. Snowshoes can be used in various types of snow conditions so, no matter what the weather, everyone can enjoy the great outdoors.
Even More Good News
- Snowshoes have been in use for 6000 years and were one of the earliest forms of transportation.
- Anyone can snowshoe—It is as simple as walking.
- Snowshoes are easy to put on and take off, just like putting on another pair of shoes.
- Snowshoeing requires modest physical effort with no fancy techniques or theories to learn. Learning curve is immediate.
- Snowshoes are highly maneuverable so, outdoor enthusiasts can go where cross country skiers and snowmobiles cannot.
- Snowshoeing offers participants the peaceful, quiet serenity of a snow-covered landscape –a great activity for the body and soul.
The American Hiking Society
National Sporting Goods Association 2004 Sports Participation Study