How Does Snowshoeing Affect The Body?


There is one challenging thing to do during winter: stay in shape. Fortunately, the winter season offers recreational activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The good news is that snowshoeing is a growing winter activity that most people can do. But how does snowshoeing affect our bodies?

Snowshoeing affects the body in a way that is beneficial to our health. The impact of this activity on the body has positive repercussions on our physical health and our psychological and social well-being. These advantages are what make it gain more and more popularity every day.

Many people take up snowshoeing to get a complete body workout to keep their bodies in shape. Snowshoeing can perfectly serve people looking for healthy fitness. We invite you to join us in this article to learn more about how snowshoeing can affect our bodies.

How Does Snowshoeing Impact The Body?

We have already established that the way snowshoeing affects the body is mostly beneficial. However, this fact does not mean that snowshoeing does not have some risks. But, our body will get more advantages and positive contributions if we do this activity correctly. Here we will study some of the benefits of snowshoeing on the body.

The Body Will Burn Calories

Snowshoeing causes the body to burn up to 1000 calories per hour. This fact is why many people interested in losing weight are so interested in this activity. When we walk on any terrain for an hour, we can burn up to 369 calories. But if we walk the same amount of time in snowshoes on a path covered with packed snow, we will burn 450 calories.

These results are higher if the person increases speed and the terrain is uneven. If the snow-covered terrain is hilly, we can burn up to 800 calories. These calories burnt are the reason why snowshoeing is a great way to burn calories and build endurance.

The Body Builds Low-impact Muscle

A very effective way to train and develop the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves is snowshoeing. If we add the poles to our practice, we will also be exercising our arms, back, and shoulders. If you have knee problems, the snow works as a cushion, making snowshoeing a low-impact activity.

The Body Breathes Fresh Air

All the outdoor and natural smells help reduce stress. Being outdoors in the winter is much more critical than in the summer, but at the same time, it is more difficult because of the weather. If we exercise indoors or in a gym, we will not get the fresh air our body needs.

Scientists have been able to prove that natural fresh air has positive effects on the body. Some of them are lowering stress levels and increasing the ability to relax.

The Body Gets A Total Workout

Snowshoeing is an activity that exercises the whole body, even down to the micro-muscles. Since you cannot distinguish the irregularities of the terrain with the naked eye in the snow, snowshoeing increases your sense of balance and conditions your muscles to work harder.

When ascending, the body exercises the quadriceps, and when descending, the body exercises the hamstrings. While along the way, the abductors and adductors are the muscles we train.

The Body Improves Its Cardiovascular Health

Snowshoeing is an anaerobic activity that gets the heart pumping, and blood flow to the muscles and lungs is accelerated. Increased blood flow, in turn, means increased oxygen production and increased efficiency of the body. The fabulous conclusion is that cardiovascular fitness reduces the chances of heart disease.

Is Snowshoeing Dangerous?

As with any outdoor activity, we must say that there are always dangers present. Although snowshoeing is a beneficial activity for the body and easy to practice, the hazards that we can find depend on external factors. Below we will list the most common dangers that we could face when practicing snowshoeing.

1- Avalanches

When snowshoeing in mountainous terrain, avalanches will always be a latent danger that people will have to face. Sometimes these snow slides descend much faster than the speed at which we can run. Avalanches move with breathtaking speed and have so much force that they can shatter trees and collapsed buildings. Although avalanches are more likely on 35 and 45-degree slopes, they can also occur on steep slopes.

2- Getting Lost While Hiking

The cold of winter can cause us to get lost in the middle of nature, and this can put your life at risk. It is effortless to lose orientation when there is snowfall, and it is cloudy or dark. Some explorers like to hike cross-country, and this increases the chance of getting lost. With this danger, the ability to know how to move with a map and understand the compass’s sense becomes essential.

3- Bad Weather

We must take bad weather into account in any winter activity that we are going to do. It is always possible that the weather conditions will worsen drastically, so the continuous monitoring of its signals is fundamental. If you enjoy long runs in your snowshoes, you could be in a severe predicament as the weather is unpredictable.

4- Injuries

Snowshoeing is one of the winter sports with the least risk of injury for people who practice it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Snowshoeing involves a tremendous strain on the feet, ankles, knees, and leg muscles in general.

If we want to do too much without being physically prepared, it can have consequences. The best thing to do when starting a sport like snowshoeing is to take baby steps. We cannot set very ambitious goals without first being physically prepared. The use of snow poles helps to relieve pressure on the feet.

Is Snowshoeing Bad For Your Back?

To answer this question, we must say yes and no. If you prepare properly, your back should not suffer any damage. Still, snowshoeing could be detrimental to your lower back health if you did not train or prepare consciously. To do a proper practice of snowshoeing that does not affect the back; we must follow the following guidelines:

  • Do stretching exercises for the back before snowshoeing.
  • Maintain an upright body posture.
  • If we are going to carry a backpack, we must take the time to look for the right accessory. You can get professional advice in stores specializing in winter sports.
  • Use snow poles.

Is Snowshoeing Bad For Your Knees?

When we fall or slip downhill in snowshoes, we can injure our knees due to the torsional forces applied to the joint. When trying to move backward in snowshoes, it is also not a good idea because the tail of the snowshoe can get stuck in the snow.

It is also not advisable for one snowshoe to accidentally step on the backside of the other snowshoe because, firstly, we can fall. Secondly, we can cause an atypical movement in the knee.

The way to prevent knee injuries and knee pain is to strengthen the legs with exercise. These exercises keep the legs and ligaments strong and help minimize damage.

A Final Thought On The Impact Of Snowshoeing On The Body

It is a reality that snowshoeing is a great sporting activity for hikers, explorers, runners, bikers, swimmers, and people in general.

Snowshoeing has many benefits in everything related to muscle development, endurance, relaxation, and connection with nature. Among winter sports and activities, snowshoeing is a practice that is relatively easy to do with the whole family.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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