Snow Athlete: 5 Fitness Benefits to Skiing


It might be spring time now with ski season in your rear view mirror (unless you plan on going in parts of Canada or Europe) but before you know it you'll be heading back to the mountains. Skiing is an amazing exercise for both your mind and your body whether you prefer downhill or cross-country workouts. In fact, most of the time, you will not even remember that you are working out your body as you enjoy your time spent on the sunny slopes or down the tree-lined trails. It is a great social activity and makes for an amazing vacation if you travel to the slopes of the Rockies or the Alps. However, as long as you are enjoying yourself, you might as well find out about all the amazing results that your body will enjoy from your time spent skiing. Here are the top five ways that skiing helps to improve your fitness level. 

Improves Joints and Bones 

Weight-bearing activities are needed to strengthen bones and to keep you from developing osteoporosis one day. Your bones certainly receive plenty of weight and tension as you ski while your body relishes this low-impact sport. In addition, as you turn and balance while skiing, you increase the strength of your joints, particularly your ankles and knees. This can prevent damage to the joints in the future. 

Builds Strong Legs 

What if someone told you that your legs could look like you spend five days per week working out in the gym and all you have to do is spend time skiing under the sunny skies? Really, skiing is a bit of a full-body exercise because you will be using your arms and upper body along with your legs. However, your legs will see the brunt of your workout. In downhill skiing, your legs stay in a squatting position most of the time and work to turn you down the hill. In cross-country skiing, your quads and calves are actively used to propel you down the trail while carrying along the heavy skis. If you have not skied for a while, you will definitely feel your legs the next day. 

Builds Core Strength 

The next biggest group of muscles that will see the results of your skiing is the core. Your core does encompass your abdominals but also include the muscles of your mid and lower back. Your core is activated as you use your quads and glutes to propel yourself. It is also actively used to keep your balance. Building a strong core can help keep you toned as well as protect your spine.

Improves Heart Health 

As an aerobic exercise combined with high intensity interval training (HIIT), skiing strengthens your heart and lungs and increases the amount of oxygen going into your bloodstream. Moreover, since a majority of skiing is done in the mountains, you will find that the increased elevation further strengths your heart by increasing your heart rate and by increasing the demands put on this important muscle. Your heart will become stronger, your circulation will increase throughout your body and you will burn around 400 calories per hour while skiing. 

Boosts Mood 

Skiing has been shown to reduce your perception of stress as well as your anxiety levels, helping you more successfully deal with any difficulties in your life. Plus, as you spend time outdoors in the fresh air and sun, you will feel your mood improving. In fact, skiing can help prevent depression naturally if you perform this activity frequently. 

No matter what age you are or how much time you have spent on the slopes or cross-country trails, your body is sure to get an amazing workout when you strap on your ski boots. Even as a beginner, you will discover muscles that you did not even know you had and will find that the longer you ski, the more endurance you have. You might want to consider getting a jump start on ski season by signing up your child for ski school in Park City and giving them a head start on this great sport.

And in the meantime there's always water-skiing or cross-training ski workouts in the weight room or home gym!

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