Happy 2019, Neighbors!
It's that time of year again when the holidays are over, the days are short on sunlight, and we are all feeling a little blah. Even though it's cold and dreary and spring is still months away, there's so much you can do to lift your spirits and get your blood moving. When we get snow at WPNR the first thing we think of is snowshoeing. If you haven't already heard, we have lots of snowshoeing equipment for you to borrow anytime the barn is open. And never fear, there are sizes for the little ones all the way up to adults. Just stop by and ask!
Snowshoeing is a great workout. According to two independent studies conducted by Ball State University and the University of Vermont, snowshoers can burn between 420-1000 calories per hour. "Snowshoeing is an effective, low impact, and safe form of exercise to change body composition. It burns up to twice the number of calories as walking at the same speed," says Dr. Declan Connolly of the University of Vermont's exercise physiology department. According to Connolly, snowshoers can vary the intensity of their workout, burning fewer calories by taking an easy walk on flat packed terrain, or getting a more intense workout (more than 1,000 calories burned per hour) with an activity like snowshoeing in powder on hilly terrain at a pace of three miles per hour. "Snowshoeing utilizes major muscle groups which, when combined with a higher metabolic rate in cold weather and the added resistance of moving through snow, results in a high-energy activity," says Connolly.
Snowshoeing is easy and fun. Just be sure to dress for the elements in clothing that you can move in. Layers are a good idea since you can get warm as you move. The snowshoes go right over your boots and you need two poles that adjust to your height. Once you're geared up, you just pick a trail and go for it! It's as simple as walking and gliding your feet across the snow and using the poles to navigate any uneven terrain. If you can hike, you can snowshoe.
Not only is snowshoeing good for your body, it's good for your mental wellbeing too. There are so many amazing things to see out on our trails. Look for tracks in the snow, snap some photos of the winter scenery, or stop at the pond to marvel at the wonders of a winter biome. After you've explored the trails, stop at the barn and warm up in our library. Bring your packed lunch and a thermos of tea and spend the afternoon reading. We have so many books about nature and you are welcome to check them out anytime. Bring your kids, bring some friends, or just bring yourself. All that matters is that you get outside!
The Walzer Way Blog is maintained by WPNR staff with contributions from Saint Vincent College students and staff, volunteers, community members, and more. If you are interested in contributing to The Walzer Way Blog, contact the Learning Barn.