Skiing isn’t just a fun winter sport that can make the short days, long nights, and cold temperatures feel a little more tolerable, it’s also a great way to stay in shape in the winter. Yes, it can keep you moving and help you stay active during a season where you’d probably rather just be binging Netflix, but skiing has some surprising health benefits.
Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of this favorite winter pastime.
Downhill Skiing and Your Heart
Skiing is a great aerobic activity and aerobic activities are great for your cardiovascular health (your heart!). So you might love skiing, but so does your heart! Cardio workouts, like skiing;
- Raise good cholesterol
- Strengthen the heart
- Make the lungs more efficient
- Improve your metabolism and keep your weight down
Adults should work cardio into their exercise routine several times a week but this might be challenging in the winter if you usually jog or run outside. Skiing is a great way to get your cardio in and, since you are outside and breathing fresh air, it will bring fresh oxygen into the body and the brain. Since it boosts your metabolism, it will help you lose weight and burn hundreds of calories in an hour! This calorie burn is increased due to the fact that you’re outside in the cold and the body has to work harder to raise its temperature. Whoa.
Mogul Skiing is a Whole Body Workout
Mogul skiing, a type of skiing where skiers have to traverse and maneuver around and over moguls (bumps formed in the snow), adds to the general cardio of downhill skiing. Mogul skiing uses more muscles to complete a course.
Mogul skiing works out your core, torso, and thigh muscles but also requires a high level of flexibility both mentally and physically. Training and warming up is important because mogul skiing is demanding for your muscles and joints.
Mogul skiing will not only work your body, but since you need to be able to anticipate coming obstacles, be ready move and change direction, and always be alert, it will strengthen your mind and ability to stay calm and focused.
Skiing as a Whole Body Workout
TIME Magazine called skiing a “Ridiculously Good Workout.”
Dr. Josef Niebauer, a professor of sports medicine and cardiology and director of the Institute for Molecular Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine at Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria says that skiing is equal to a cycling or rowing workout, but it also depends on the type of skiing you do and how hard you push yourself. It also counts as interval training since you push yourself for up to 15 minutes during a run and then get a rest as you go back up the hill. Research is showing that interval training, working hard for a few minutes then taking a break, can not only improve your fitness levels but also extend your life.
Skiing can help improve your mood and mental health since you are outside and getting fresh air but it also;
- Engages the core muscles
- Improve balance and focus
- Improves flexibility
- Strengthens the quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes
- Works the ankles and feet
Stay Safe When Skiing
So skiing will boost your mood and is great for your overall health. But, to make sure you’re supported while you improve both your body and mind, make sure to follow these health tips.
- Stretch before and after
- Wear the right gear, including a helmet
- Wear goggles to protect your eyes from snow and sun
- Wear sunscreen on exposed skin (yes, you can sunburn in winter!)
- Make sure your boots fit properly
- If you need extra support in your ski boots, a supportive insole designed to post the medial arch can help your weight distribution and improve your performance by reducing foot motion within the ski boot. Grab an Orange insole before your next ski trip!
If you don’t have equipment, you can always rent from ski resorts or buy it at a used sporting goods store so you can make sure you love it before you invest in equipment.
So don’t dread the winter. Hit the slopes and ski your way to a better mood and better health!