When the weather gets cold and nasty and there's 3 feet of snow on the ground, it's easy to come up with excuses for not continuing your running program. Snowshoe running can help you continue your fitness program all year round. Snowshoe running offers the same benefits of walking and jogging and can help you control your weight, maintain muscular strength and reduce your risk for heart disease.
The key to maintaining your optimal weight is continuing your aerobic exercise program all year round. Snowshoe running is on the American Heart Association's list of approved aerobic activities. It is similar to jogging and can be done just about anywhere while exercising within your target heart rate range. Depending on how much you weigh, you can burn approximately 11 calories per minute while snowshoe running. That's over 600 calories an hour!
Maintaining Muscle Strength
Snowshoe running uses all of the same muscles as running on dry land: the quads, hamstrings, calf muscles and the smaller muscle groups of the feet and ankles. If you're feeling adventurous and want to venture onto wilderness trails during the winter, you'll also gain the added benefits of developing "negative" strength, or muscle strength that's required to work against the forces of gravity. Negative strength (also called "eccentric" muscle contraction) is helpful in sports like alpine skiing and tennis.
Reducing the Risk for Heart Disease
Snowshoe running is a great way to reduce your risk for heart disease. According to the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for maintaining health and fitness, adults should get at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise within their target heart rate range most days of the week. Snowshoe running fits into the ACSM's definition of aerobic exercise activities and helps with lowering the bad type of cholesterol while raising the good type. Snowshoe running can also help manage your stress and blood pressure levels.
Article Written By Allen Smith
Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.