Top 10 Health Benefits of Cross-Country Skiing


As one of the top Nordic sports, cross-country skiing involves the navigation of mountainous snow-covered terrain, most of which relies solely on your body’s own strength and stride rather than the gravity used when going downhill. For this reason, as well as a few others, cross-country skiing can be an excellent form of physical fitness.

Here are the Top 10 Health Benefits of Cross-Country Skiing:

  • You get a full-body workout. Nordic skiing combines both a lower body and upper body workout, while simultaneously working both the “pulling” and “pushing” muscles of each region. The workout comes in the fact that you use your own locomotion to move through the terrain. Even muscles that don’t seem to be in use are actively involved to balance and coordinate the entire body.
  • Burns lots of calories. Nordic skiing burns more calories than any other form of exercise or sport — up to 1,122 calories per hour for vigorous mountaineering!
  • Improves cardiovascular endurance and health. Cross-country skiing is an excellent aerobic workout, and because no single muscle group is overstressed, the activity can be sustained for hours on end. Maintaining an elevated heart rate during exercise can strengthen and improve your heart’s capacity to pump blood efficiently and effectively.
  • You have a higher level of physical fitness. Skiers are about 40 percent fitter than physically fit individuals, suggesting that the full-body workout provided by cross-country skiing is uniquely effective.
  • It promotes social engagement. As cross-country skiing is easy to take-up and can be learned from a young age, it’s an ideal sport for family and friends to enjoy together.
  • It helps relieve stress. Escaping town to the pine forested wild provides you with some very therapeutic thinking time. The peace and tranquility that comes with snowfall is relaxing, helping you leave your stress behind and give you a renewed sense of calm so you return home feeling refreshed.
  • It’s highly functional. When you cross-country ski, you’re training your body to move in a way that it was designed to move. You’re teaching it to improve the process that makes you more capable in daily movements.
  • It improves endurance. Forget energy drinks. Doing long-distance endurance sports like cross country skiing help improve your aerobic fitness as well as running does, while making you feel ready to burst out of your skin with energy!
  • Excellent form of cross-training. Cross-country skiing is a great way to prepare for summer sports; after cross-country skiing, muscles will be better prepared to manage the lactic acid they produce when they are used.
  • Allows you to connect with nature. Cross-country skiing is a very pleasant way to enjoy the great outdoors on a sunny winter’s day and see the sights with friends — all while getting a good workout.

To see more of our Top 10 lists, click here.

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