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Fitness > Give the Gift of Health and Fitness this Winter.

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(ARA) - In many parts of the country, when the temperature drops, so does our activity level. When the snow falls it is often hard to participate in favorite activities like hiking, biking and swimming -- so a lot of people cocoon.

Inactivity often leads to weight gain and the winter ?blahs,? but there is something you can do to brighten the outlook for yourself, your friends and family. ?Give a gift that promotes health and fitness this winter,? says Karen Righthand, director of marketing at Atlas Snow-Shoe Company. ?Pick up a pair of snowshoes for someone you love for a season filled with healthy fun.?

Since anyone who lives in a cold climate can participate in the sport daily, snowshoeing has steadily been gaining in popularity with nearly six million participants in the U.S. ?It?s like hiking, only you can go places you never dreamed possible in your hiking boots,? says Righthand.

And while hiking will only burn about 340 calories per hour for the average person, snowshoeing will burn twice that: 680 calories. ?Snowshoeing is the best bang-for-your-buck fat burning workout you can get in the winter time,? says Cathy Sassin, a world-class adventure racer, personal trainer and nutrition consultant who cross-trains year round.

Not only do you burn calories, you improve your core body strength and balance, and get an aerobic workout. Snowshoeing raises your heart rate and compares favorably with activities such as running, swimming, cross-country skiing and bicycling. In fact, many cyclists, mountain bikers, trail runners and adventure racers snowshoe as a way to cross-train and improve their cardio fitness during the winter months.

Snowshoeing can be done anywhere there are a few inches of snow on the ground. Backyards, local golf courses, hiking trail systems, national parks and forests are all accessible to people with snowshoes.

?One of the great things about this sport is its affordability,? says Righthand. ?You don't have to pay a lift-fee each time you want to go down a hill, just strap on your snowshoes, grab your poles and get out there.? An added bonus, there are no limitations. Snowshoes can go anywhere your feet can take you -- where there is snow.

So, this winter, give a gift that will be remembered and enjoyed for seasons to come. The revitalizing outdoor experience and fitness benefits of snowshoeing are guaranteed to provide the healthiest present of all for mind, body and soul. For more information, visit or call (888) 48-ATLAS.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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