With Juno in our rearview mirror, and snow all around us, our thoughts may begin to turn to the slopes. And just in time, too—the World Skiing Championships are right around the corner. I’m here to tell you that skiing is not just fun, but healthy too! So get your boots and poles out of storage and head on up to the slopes, keeping a few things in mind.
Make sure you stretch first! Skiing and snowboarding is a high-intensity cardiovascular activity—the average adult burns up to 400 calories per hour while skiing. But you spend most of your time hunched over in a constricted, crunch-like position. This works your core, legs, and arms, but all in a constrictive manner, and can leave your body unbalanced. A good stretch is to lie on the ground (on your belly) and stretch your arms out in front of you. Then reach to the sky, while looking up, and bring you legs up as far as you can so that you create a sort of “U” shape with your body. This will counteract the normal contractions that the body undergoes while skiing and will increase your overall flexibility. But don’t forget to warm and loosen up your quads, calves, and ankles with simple stretches and rotations beforehand.
Skiing (and snowboarding) is great strength training, but also takes great strength. Your body uses similar muscles as it does when you do squats, so a day on the slopes is at least as good as working on your legs at the gym. But adequate strength is necessary to fully enjoy your time on the mountain. Make sure you do some squats at home or in the gym a few times before you hit the snow, so that your body is prepared for the stress it is about to endure.
Exercising in cold weather carries with it some inherent benefits. Being in the cold requires our bodies to work harder in order to maintain our proper core temperature, so you end up burning more calories than you would in 72 degrees. Cold weather can also help to reduce overall pain and inflammation, so those bumps and bruises you get from falling down won’t be as noticeable! Finally, cold weather increases bloodflow and activity to the surface of the skin, making for beautiful rosy cheeks!
However you enjoy spending your time in the snow—skiing, snowboarding, or sledding, be sure to take proper precautions and wear the right gear. While skiing is usually all fun and games, it can be dangerous and even deadly. Helmets, wrist-guards, and proper training can all help to reduce the risk of broken bones, cracked skulls, and other injuries. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the snow!
January 30th 2015 by Hunter Ellis for bodono