It’s winter again. The Northeast just got clobbered by, what else, a Nor’easter. My energy levels are returning to near-normal, so my husband and I decided to take a nice stroll across the street to the running trails and bring along our snowshoes. It was a balmy 20 degrees, I might add. You probably think I’m crazy. I’ve got a UC flare that’s still not quite in remission and I’m going to go snowshoeing?? Um…yup. Gotta get back on the horse sometime! To quote my mother, who is dealing with her own challenges of knee replacement surgery, “I’m sick of being told no!” And to quote the article “Fitness Benefits of Snowshoeing” (which is quoting Dr. Ray Browning), “Snowshoeing is the best bang-for-your-buck, fat-burning workout in winter. . .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.” Need more stats? “According to two independent studies conducted by Ball State University and the University of Vermont, snowshoers can burn between 420-1000 calories per hour.” How’s that for something that is, essentially, walking?
I missed all of the hiking, foliage-peeping and apple-picking activities I’d planned for Fall. I’m not missing out on winter, too, and more importantly, I’m not going to allow myself to get any more out of shape. And while the treadmill is fun and all, sometimes you just want to feel outdoorsy (and normal) again. IBDers know that running during a flare is a no-no, however with snowshoeing you can adjust your speed, your resistance (flat groomed surfaces versus uphill through powder) and of course, your distance, thereby engaging in a safe form of exercise. Combine that with the added bonus of fresh air and what errant rays of sunshine you might catch, and it’s a mighty healthy activity. The only drawback is, of course, lack of facilities. Fortunately I’m at the point where 9 times out of 10, I can predict my good days and bad days (or good hours and bad hours). A month ago there was no way I’d head out into the woods. So perhaps this winter sport is best shelved until the bowels behave themselves–or at least can wait when you ask them to.