There’s something strange about this year’s trendy new winter activity: it’s thousands of years old. Forms of snowshoeing have been practiced around the world since around 4,000 years ago, when snowshoes helped people explore snowbound lands. But in recent years, as snowshoes have become lighter and smaller, snowshoeing has become a winter activity for anyone looking for a bit of adventure.
Winter can be a difficult season for some, but the best way to beat the winter blues is to stay socially and physically active. Holing up indoors can be nice on some stormy nights, but you’ll be happier overall if you try to maintain the same sort of lifestyle you have during the summer. And snowshoes can help you do that. Getting outside helps you get more light (even if it’s overcast out), and countless studies have shown the benefits the outdoors have on everything from focus to mood.
If that doesn’t convince you, and you’re on the fence about snowshoeing, check out our five reasons you should give it a try.
It’s similar to another one of your favourite activities
If snowshoeing sounds intimidating, then think of it a little differently: as walking. That’s basically what it is. But, of course, it has none of the inconveniences of regular walking in the snow. Instead of sinking in up to your ankles, you perch atop the white stuff, gracefully striding through fields and up hills. Snowshoes let you see things and go places that would be downright painful if you were wearing regular shoes. Snowshoes give you the walking and hiking experiences you usually can only get in summer. Instead of being stuck on the beaten path, you can strike out and go wherever your heart takes you.
Snowshoes have come a long way
The Indigenous people of North America were the creators of the webbed, teardrop-shaped structures we usually think of when we talk about snowshoeing. Those classic snowshoes were cutting edge in their day, but with new materials and designs, snowshoes are now smaller and easier to use than ever. They come in several different varieties, but most modern snowshoes are made of lightweight metals and plastics, and they strap on over regular shoes or boots. Getting into and out of snowshoes is easier than ever, and so is walking in them.
Snowshoeing is inexpensive
Unlike a lot of winter sports, snowshoeing doesn’t require a lot of fancy gear. Sure, there are the snowshoes themselves, but those will usually only run you around $100 to $300, and once you have them, you can use them practically forever. If you’re not sure you want to drop the cash on your own snowshoes just yet, you can also rent, often for under $20. Ski passes and snowmobiles are expensive, so the simplicity and economy of snowshoeing has a certain appeal, especially since you can spend the money you saved on a hot cocoa after your snowshoe adventure.
It’s good for you
Snowshoeing is one of those physical activities that gives you a workout without you even noticing. You’ll get an cardio workout, but you’ll probably be having too much fun to notice. Not to mention, snowshoes help you improve your coordination, balance, and agility. On the other hand, if you’re already a hardcore athlete looking for a challenge, there are ways to make snowshoeing into a more intense physical workout: head uphill, run, or find some tougher terrain. Regardless of how much you push yourself, you’ll burn more calories snowshoeing than you would running or skiing at the same rate.
Snowshoeing can be a social or solo activity
Need to get away and have some peaceful time alone this winter? Snowshoeing offers serenity and peace in a beautiful setting, and, if you choose to, you can have it all to yourself. On the other hand, if you’re a social butterfly looking for a fun activity to try with friends and family, snowshoeing will work for you too. There’s something undeniably festive about strapping into your snowshoes together (and helping one another up if any unexpected tumbles occur). Want to make new friends? Join a group hike or try a guided tour. Need to get away from the crowd? Tell someone where you’re going, and get going. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you can fulfill your social (or anti-social) needs out on the snow.
It offers a lot of photo ops
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