Friday, January 9, 2009

Fit-Event: Winter Trails Day

Photo grabbed from ann j p at

How are you spending your Saturday? If you're looking for a way to get outside for fresh air--even in the middle of winter--squeeze in some mindless exercise and maybe try a new activity, plan to take part in Winter Trails Day on January 10.

Now in its 14th year, Winter Trails Day occurs across the country at various resorts and facilities as a way for children and adults to try snowshoeing and cross country skiing for free. Local businesses and organizations offer this program in their area and create a day full of snow-filled events--and sometimes snacks and hot chocolate, too.

I'm bummed because I don't see any events listed for Illinois this year, but with our recent snowfall--and prediction for more overnight--that doesn't mean I can't go out anyway. Some places to hit up include Camp Sagawau in Lemont, Arrowhead Golf Course in Wheaton, and Morton Arboretum in Lisle. While they may not be participants in Winter Trails Day, all three facilities offer rentals and tons of trails to wander down. The Nordic Fox Ski Club offers cross country ski lessons at Arrowhead on Saturday mornings through February 14.

OK, enough of my local connection. Not sure which activity to try? Snowshoeing has the easiest learning curve: just strap your boots into the snowshoes and take off walking. But cross country skiing can offer one of the most comprehensive total body workouts.

Need more convincing? A fact from the Winter Trails Day organizing committee says that in 2006, more than 11,000 people participated in Winter Trails Day and burned a combined 5.5 million calories per hour. For an hour of exploring the trails, an average-size person can burn roughly 500 calories for each activity. Sure beats slogging away on the treadmill.

Check out the Winter Trails website to find an event near you. Posted by Kate

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