Thursday, January 27, 2011

February is Heart Health Month

For the next Blog Carnival, the EtsyBloggers team is writing about heart health, since February is Heart Health Month. While it is difficult for some people to get out and exercise in the colder months of winter, there are still some outdoor options, as well as many usual indoor options to keep your heart in shape.

I keep my heart healthy in the winter by snowshoeing. Snowshoeing can burn a lot of calories and you actually stay pretty warm even in the coldest temperatures, so check your local recreational websites for snowshoe trails in your area, many of which might actually rent out snowshoes so you can try it out before buying. Remember to be respectful when snowshoeing if you are sharing the trail with cross country skiers, who do not like their groomed trails ruined by snowshoe tracks.

With proper gear, you can even hike up mountains on snowshoes. Although it can be dangerous and more difficult, in some ways winter hiking is easier than summer hiking because the rocks roots are under the snow, crampons can dig into the ice on the rocks, as opposed to wet summer rocks which can be slippery. There are also no black flies in February either! If you need to retrace your steps, you have your own tracks to follow back out.

I recently bought a pair of MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes. I haven't tried them out on much of an incline yet, but they seem to have amazing traction and are much lighter than my former pair. When shopping for a new pair, I was looking for something light weight, good crampons, and a heel lift. My dystonia has left me with a weaker right ankle and I have trouble holding the tip-toed position while walking on an icy incline like you need to do at times when winter hiking. This position digs the crampons in so that you have a better footing. The heel lift on the back of these snowshoes gives the back of your foot support and something to rest on, making it easier on the calf and ankle muscles.


foxygknits said...

Never tried snowshoeing, and probably won't any time soon living here in Atlanta! But I love that it is a good way to get exercise in the winter and stay warm. Thanks for participating in the Love/Valentine's Day blog carnival.

tamdoll said...

Great post. I bought snowshoes when my girls were little - haven't been out on them in a while - maybe after tomorrow's 18" predicted snowfall would be a good idea! thanks for the timely reminder, too.

joeyandaleethea said...

I bet you're having lots of fun in that snow!!! Snowshoe around for us too, please. All we're getting is silly ol' drizzling rain. :)

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