We all know that exercise is good for us, but some forms are more fun than others. Skiing is one of those wintertime activities that’s a blast as well as providing some important benefits to your health in a variety of ways. This is a great thing for winter fitness, since it can be harder to find different ways to exercise when it’s raining or too cold to do so outside.
Instead of pulling out the thick blankets and hot cocoa and going into hibernation at the first sign of snow, pull out your skis and hit the slopes! Skiing doesn’t just provide physical benefits from the exercise, it also affects your mental and emotional wellness in positive ways. There are some wonderful benefits of skiing for older adults. Skiing:
- Strengthens lower body muscles, joints and bones. The nature of skiing requires your body to constantly work to stay balanced, engaging your core at all times and working your leg muscles. As you use your knees to control your direction and speed downhill, the tension caused by the movement and support of your body weight helps to strengthen the muscles, joints and bones of your lower body. The weight-bearing impact of the act of skiing results in stronger knees and legs that are less prone to damage or injury. Your whole body gets a good workout when you ski, and rumor has it that skiers have the best butts so you can look forward to that unforeseen benefit as well!
- Improves balance and coordination. As you age, it’s more and more important to improve your balance, since this is an area that tends to deteriorate and leads to more slips and falls. The activity of skiing requires a constant state of balance, strengthening your core and improving your overall balance to reduce your risk of slipping and falling. Skiing also helps improve your coordination and what’s known as proprioception, which is your ability to feel the positioning of your body parts. This naturally weakens with age, so skiing can prevent or postpone your proprioception from diminishing.
- Increases cardiovascular endurance. Skiing is an aerobic activity that requires endurance. As you ski, your heart rate will likely be increased and the longer and more frequently you’re exerting yourself, the better the workout will be for increasing your cardiovascular endurance. Studies show that your heart rate will even stay in the healthy zone while on the lift, helping to prevent or combat high blood pressure.
- Helps you lose weight. From extended periods of time with your heart pumping at exercise rate, to the full-body movement that skiing requires, you’ll burn approximately 3,000 calories with a full day of skiing! This is a lot more fun of a way to lose weight than jogging on the treadmill.
- Boosts your mood. Skiing is fun! Maybe the best benefit you can get out of skiing is the enjoyment of the activity. Gliding down the mountainside at exhilarating speeds, feeling the blood pump through your muscles, enjoying the beauty of the winter wonderland setting… it’s all part of the experience. According to studies, skiing has been found to boost your happiness and well-being, leading to better mental health as well as physical health. You can also increase your happiness quotient by skiing with your grandkids. Additionally, spending a day on the reflective white slopes will give you some beneficial exposure to Vitamin D, boosting your mood even more!
Skiing is a highly vigorous physical activity in most cases, and at very least it’s a moderately vigorous exercise. Since regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity has been linked to better memory and reduced cognitive decline in adults, you can enjoy both physical and mental benefits from engaging in this fun activity this winter.