[dropcap]A[/dropcap] major component of a healthy lifestyle is engaging in activities that help us feel alive and strong. People often associate physical activity with going to the gym or running…and more often than not, people hate at least one of those activities. How we enjoy moving our bodies is a very individualized choice, so I encourage everyone to not give up on physical activity if the ‘typical’ types of exercise don’t suit your personal preferences!
Last year, I discovered that I really love using my own bodyweight to stay active. Pushups, burpees, mountain climbers, tricep dips, step-ups, lunges, squats, and ab exercises helped me put on a significant amount of muscle (and weight!), but I am feeling stronger than ever before. Lean muscle mass speeds up our metabolism, and it wasn’t until I witnessed my own physical changes over the last 6 months that I finally understood why weight lifting is recommended for toning. I always assumed I would get bulky, but that’s certainly not the case!
In addition to bodyweight exercises, I love escaping into the mountains to hike (or snowshoe in the winter!) Snowshoeing is a great form of cardio, and will also work your legs, glutes, upper back, and arms. Even if getting in a sweaty workout isn’t your primary objective, nothing clears the head like clean mountain air and a fresh dusting of powder.
- Snowshoes (3-day rentals are $22 at REI for members). Unfortunately, they don’t offer 1-day rentals.
- Poles (not required, but ideal. I’m prone to falling, so I find them essential 🙂 )
- Layers (I usually wear long underwear (top and bottom), a fleece, vest, and puffy jacket. I wore snow pants in the photos above, but later realized they were much too warm…so I recommend just wearing long underwear under some winter running tights.)
- Shoes/socks: WARM wool socks, and waterproof winter hiking boots
- Hands/neck/head: a neck gator/scarf; warm, waterproof winter gloves; and an ear band/winter hat. I kept taking my hat off because it was too warm, but then my head kept getting cold when we stopped for photos or lunch. Can’t win, sometimes 🙂
- Equipment: water, snacks, hand warmers, first aid kit, and a water proof phone case (if you’re accident prone like me!)
Pratt Lake Details
- About a 45-60 minute drive from Seattle
- If you have a 2W drive car, I recommend snow tires or chains (or find a friend with a 4W drive car!)
- Parking is limited, so arrive early or you’ll have to park on the entry road leading to the start of the hike
- Requires a National Forest Pass
- The trail continues for miles, so we just calculated how far we wanted to go each way and turned around in order to make it back to the car before it got dark
- The trail was moderately intense – most of it uphill at the start, and downhill on the way back. The terrain was pretty varied, which I love! I tend to get bored on flat ground, so this was perfect.
If you have question about this trail or shoeshoeing in general, let me know! I would also love to hear your recommendations for other trails to check out in the area since my parents bought me a refurbished pair of snowshoes for Christmas this year!
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tay tuned for a bonus post tomorrow on my reflections of my first week in my Clinical Rotation as a Dietetic Intern!
- Have you been snowshoeing?
- What is your favorite winter activity?