Shredding the slopes with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, downhill skiing certainly feels healthy – but is skiing good cardio? Does skiing build muscle? Can you lose weight via the sport? For anyone who has spent any length of time at a ski resort, it will come as little surprise to learn that the answer to all three questions is a resounding yes.
In fact, the diverse range of health benefits of downhill skiing mean that it’s one of the best forms of activity you can engage in to maintain a fit and healthy body. Here are just a few of the areas in which alpine skiing can positively impact your wellbeing.
With regards to the strain skiing places on your heart and lungs, it’s roughly equivalent to rowing or cycling, which means it’s a great form of cardio. What’s more, skiing involves interval training; your body is worked hard as you navigate the slope, then you have a welcome period of respite as you make your way back to the summit. Interval training is held in high regard by fitness professionals the world over and is thought to offer a major boost to your fitness levels.
Traversing a slope – whether that be a simple slalom or a more complicated descent through deep powder – is sure to work the muscles of your lower body, with your hips, thighs and knees in particular given the run around. This is vital in improving your range of motion and reducing the chance of incurring repetitive strains and injuries, as well as increasing your balance and stability.
The number of calories you burn while skiing while depend entirely on the intensity of your run, how long you spend on the slopes and your own personal body size and shape. However, the Harvard Medical School has compiled a rough guide to what you can expect, which shows that a 9-stone skier will burn 360 calories in one hour of activity. The heavier the person, the more calories burned; an 11-stone athlete can expect to burn 446 calories in an hour, while a 13-stone individual will work off as many as 532 in the same time.
Finally, the advantages of taking your exercise against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountains and lush forests over being cooped up inside a stuffy and sweaty gym should not be underestimated. There are plenty of scientific studies which suggest that reconnecting with Mother Nature can boost your mental health, so if you’re toning your body while soothing your mind, it’s a win-win situation all-round.
What are you waiting for?
With so many incredible health benefits on offer, you can hardly afford not to indulge in this most exhilarating and exhausting of pastimes! The next ski season is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to book your place on the slopes now. Not only will you have the time of your life, but you’ll get the perfect beach body in time for summer 2019, as well.