If you’re usually active during the warmer months, you may be looking for something to do during the winter months to keep you active. Have you considered the benefits of skiing - not only as an activity to enjoy, but also as a means to keep you in shape during cooler weather?
One of the biggest benefits of skiing is that it is a full-body exercise. You will work out every major muscle group from head to toe. It gives you an excellent cardiovascular workout while strengthening your heart. Skiing also improves the circulatory system and releases oxygen to the muscles.
Did you know skiing can help regulate your cholesterol levels? It sure can! Exercise helps a skier burn fat and lose weight, and that has to have a positive effect on cholesterol. In fact, skiing helps regulate the HDL (good) cholesterol which affects the LDL (bad) cholesterol.
As with any exercise, taking time to properly warm up will keep you from getting injured. You’ll also want to stretch all of your muscles before skiing since all of them will be in use. Pay particular attention to the leg muscles as they will take the brunt of the activity. Proper warming up and stretching may help you avoid tearing a ligament or spraining something. Don’t forget to stretch after you’ve finished skiing to help minimize any pain you might feel.
If you normally live closer to sea level, you’ll want to be aware of the danger of developing ski sickness, also called altitude sickness. Symptoms include having headaches, being nauseated, fatigued, not having an appetite, not being able to sleep, and vomiting. It is caused by climbing to an elevation without giving your body the opportunity to adjust. The quicker you ascend a mountain, the worse the symptoms may be. It’s best to take your time reaching your skiing destination, particularly if you’re new to the sport.
It doesn’t matter if you’re skiing the slopes or cross country skiing. Both activities will get you out of doors and help tone your entire body. People who have had prior knee injuries may want to give cross country, or Nordic, skiing a try first. This is non-jarring and less taxing on the knees. The important thing to remember is that if you’ve never skied before, neither activity is one to rush into.
All of the benefits of skiing aren’t physical, although they are some of the most compelling. What about the benefit of being outdoors instead of cooped up indoors? There’s no reason anyone should have to stay indoors when the temperatures dip. Bundle up, get the skis ready, go outside and enjoy the crisp clean air. Then hit the slopes or the cross country ski trail and enjoy the beauty of the snow upon the trees.