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Milwaukee hikers turn to snowshoeing during the winter months

Photography by Trisha Comardo

Snowshoeing is a great way to keep active during the snowy winter months in and around Milwaukee. There are many hiking trails that become snowshoe trails when snow has covered them with a winter blanket. Snowshoers often will make their own trail of adventures through their private woods, across plowed up farm fields where permission has been given or in their own backyard. It provides a nice low impact, cardiovascular activity to get outdoor enthusiasts out into the fresh air that they long for during the colder winter months.

Snowshoeing is an excellent cross training activity for bicyclists and runners. Every major muscle group will be utilized during a snowshoeing adventure. Research has indicated that snowshoeing can actually increase fitness of runners by building up endurance levels and strengthening quadriceps. Hip flexors and quads will get more use since snowshoeing is similar to walking up hilly terrain. Climbing in snowshoes will strengthen the hip flexors as well as the extensors which are vital muscles for cyclists. The upper body will also get a workout for snowshoers that utilize the walking poles.

Individuals can burn up to 45% more calories snowshoeing than when walking or running at the same speed. An average of 400 to 1000 calories will be burned depending on the condition of the snow, the distance that you are going and, as with all other outdoor activities, whether you are doing leisurely or fast paced, running activities while snowshoeing.

Snowshoes were one of the first forms of transportation and have been in use since for over 6000 years. Snowshoeing is a great winter family activity. Approximately 46% of snowshoers are women, 12% are children under the age of 17 and 55% are under the age of 45. There is a very short learning curve for snowshoeing as it is basically like walking with no fancy techniques to learn as there is with skiing and cross country skiing.

If you are uncertain of how often you will go snowshoeing or just not fully sure it is something you want to enjoy during winter months, there are many outdoor recreation stores that will rent snowshoes so you can determine whether it is the winter activity for you. Some of the nature centers will rent them out also for your daily hiking needs. This gives you an opportunity to understand how to use them, and provides a chance to try out different ones.

Subscribe at the top of this article to get updates by Trisha on upcoming guided and sponsored day and night snowshoe hikes throughout the Milwaukee area as well as other Milwaukee hiking activities. Other articles by Trisha Comardo can be found at Milwaukee Nature Examiner and Milwaukee Photography Examiner.

Resources include REI and Snowshoeing Magazine.


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