Fitness Benefits of Snowshoeing

Did you know that you can burn more calories snowshoeing than you can walking, running or cross country skiing at the same pace?


For health and fitness benefits, snowshoeing is great for you. It provides a cardio workout while also building strength, agility, balance and endurance. The best part is, you get to do it all in the beautiful outdoors!

"Snowshoeing is the best bang-for-your-buck, fat-burning workout in winter," according to Dr. Ray Browning of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado's Health Science Center and Vail Mountain Man champion. "It's an exceptional way to achieve cardiovascular fitness, expend energy and reduce your chance of heart disease; plus it's low cost, easily mastered and fun."

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, 2.4 mph packed snow, flat trail 420
Snowshoeing, 3.0 mph packed snow, flat trail 510
Snowshoeing, 3.5 mph packed snow, flat trail 740
Snowshoeing, 3.3 mph powder snow, flat trail 744 women, 984 men
Snowshoeing, 2.9 mph powder snow, hilly trail 774 women, 1046 men
Walking, 3.0 mph flat 335
Running, 5.2 mph flat 570
Running, 7.5 mph flat 890
Mountain Biking rolling 550
Nordic Skiing (3.5 mph) flat 600

Snowshoeing is a great winter fitness activity to keep marathon runners, endurance racers, hikers, cyclists or anyone else to stay fit during the winter months! Are you looking for a snowshoeing fitness program to keep you motivated this winter? Click here to view and print a detailed daily exercise schedule to keep you in peak physical condition, created by renowned adventure racer, Danelle Ballangee.