Whether you take winter vacations to the snow-covered mountains or live near an area where you can easily hit the slopes, you can always get some exercise during the cold winter months with skiing. All ages and skill levels can benefit from a day out on the snow, as skiing can be considered both good for the body and good for the mind.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Improves proprioception. Proprioception is defined as one’s ability to feel the position of different body parts and the effort that goes into moving them. In other words, when you hold your hand in front of your face with your eyes closed, you still know your hand is there even though you can’t see it. Skiing involves quite a bit of balance and coordination, and you must be conscious of the many slight movements and positions of your body if you want to ski well and stay on your feet. Proprioception weakens with age, so the more you are involved in proprioceptive activities, the less it will diminish.
- Strengthens bones and joints. Your knees must endure the tension and weight from your body as you turn and move quickly downhill, so they are being strengthened when you ski. In addition to strengthening your knees, your bones become stronger due to the weight-bearing impact on your legs. So not only are you having a fantastic time gliding down the slopes, but you are preventing knee damage, osteoporosis and increasing your proprioceptive strength.
- Boosts your mood. Skiing not only boosts overall happiness and well-being, but it is beneficial to an individual’s physical and mental health, despite the frequency or duration of the activity.
- Increases cardiovascular endurance. As an aerobic endurance activity, skiing can help an individual burn calories and lose weight. Beginners also can get a good cardiovascular exercise by working the heart and lungs from walking up the slope rather than using the ski lift.
- Strengthens lower body muscles. Because skiing puts you in a constant squat position, it works your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings, quads and glutes. You will be too distracted by the surrounding beauty or too focused on the slope in front of you to notice your legs burning, but we promise—you will definitely feel results the next day.
- Improves balance and core strength. Because you are constantly working to stay balanced while skiing, you core is engaged at all times. Plus, skiing challenges your balance and agility, helping you fend off slips and falls as you age.
- Promotes deep sleep. You will feel exhausted in the best way after trying a new sport, especially one that engages your entire body. After hitting the slopes, we guarantee there will be no scrolling the Internet before bed or staying up late—you will hit the pillow and enjoy a good night of restful sleep.
- Improves flexibility. A flexible body is going to be a huge benefit when skiing. By building flexibility, you can avoid muscle strains and sprains. A thorough, regular stretching routine that focuses on the core muscle groups will strengthen the abdominals, obliques and hips that are used in downhill skiing.
- Promotes healthy eating habits. When you wake up before a long day of skiing, you have to power up. At lunchtime you need to refuel, and at dinnertime you need a recovery meal. You will naturally be more conscious of your eating: more protein, healthy fats, less sugar, more fruits and vegetables, etc.
- Skiing can contribute to a sunnier outlook. Spending the day on a snow-covered hill or mountain, surrounded by natural outdoor beauty, will have you forgetting about the stresses of daily life. You’ll also benefit from the vitamin D exposure, which helps ward off seasonal affective disorder and boosts your mood.