Sunday, Feb 6, 2011
So what have you been doing for exercise this winter? Shoveling snow for sure. Everyone agrees that Maine has beautiful summers, but Maine also has a reputation for outdoor recreation in the winter. Mainers have three choices in winter: shovel snow and travel south for a warm vacation, shovel snow then sit around and brood about the nasty, long winter, or shovel snow then stay outdoors to enjoy activities only available in snow country. The third choice is the best for your physical and mental health, and the natural choice for native Mainers.
Downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating are very popular healthy, physical activities for families and individuals of all ages. I am lucky to have many fields and woods in my back yard perfect for snowshoeing, though I found that the snow is now a little deep, making snowshoeing rather difficult and very hard work, but giving me a vigorous workout.
Downhill skiing is very popular, and the big ski slopes are well known. A friend who regularly works out at the Portland Y and has very strong legs, recently tried downhill skiing for the first time in many years. She had a great time, but was surprised to find her legs were very sore for a few days after skiing. Though she does rigorous leg work during her Y workouts, the hours of constant quad use one day on the slopes was way beyond what she could do in a regular gym workout. Many days on the slopes are necessary to really build your quads for skiing.
Cross country skiing is easier on the quads, but is a great full body workout. With the deep snow we now have, where can you find a place to cross country ski? Two local places I know that groom trails for cross country skiing are Smiling Hill Farm, Westbrook, and North Meadow Trail, Falmouth. There are two online sites, www.trails.com and www.meliving.com, that provide cross country skiing locations in Maine. Ask around. There may be smaller locations that people may know about.
Ice skating may be a little difficult with the deep snow on ponds, but Deering Oaks has always been a popular skating pond for Portlanders.
With the above average snowfall so far this winter, Maine should have a late spring. Take advantage of all the winter recreation that the Maine winter has to offer. In February the winter sun is now much warmer and brighter. The days are noticeably longer. There is little much more beautiful than the snowy fields and woods in Maine.