One of the most popular Nordic sports in the winter is cross-country skiing. This sport evolves navigating difficult mountainous terrain that is covered with snow. Unlike traditional skiing that uses gravity to push the skier downhill, cross-country skiers must rely on their own strength. Because this sport requires physical strength, it provides participants with a great workout. Today we are going to take a deeper look at the health benefits of this thrilling sport. So if you have been looking for a way to make your fitness routine more exciting, cross-country skiing just might be the activity for you.
If you like skiing, you might enjoy our article about the health and fitness benefits of downhill skiing. And if you are planning a trip to the slopes, check out our article on the equipment and clothing you need for skiing.
Now that we are done with the reference section, here is the meat of the article.
Here are 15 Health Benefits from Cross-Country Skiing
Cross-country skiing requires participants to move across different types of uphill and downhill terrain. This is done under the physical power of the individual, and many different muscles are used in the process. All this moving around makes cross-country skiing the best calorie burning exercise. In fact, this form of skiing burns up to 1,122 calories per hour, more than other exercises or sports.
Many people face weight issues during their lives. But some have trouble getting rid of those unwanted pounds. As we have already explained, cross-country skiing burns tons of calories. Combine this calorie burning exercise with the right diet choices and those pounds will melt away. (You might also have interest in our article "Tips on Losing Fat from Tim Ferriss' Best-Selling Book 'The 4-Hour Body.'"
3.A Faster Metabolism
Another health benefit that is related to weight loss is a boosted metabolism. Cross-country skiing can energize the body and turn up your metabolism. This will help you burn calories more efficiently, making it much easier to keep the pounds off.
4.A Total Body Workout
When moving across the snow-covered terrain, you will use both your lower and upper body. Each muscle in these groups will have to work together giving you a true total body workout. As you push and pull your way across the landscape, you will build strength. At the end of a cross-country ski trip, you will certainly feel the burn. Even those muscles that don’t appear to be in motion are working hard to keep you balanced.
5.A Real Stress Buster
Cross-country skiing takes you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and transports you to a place of true beauty. The clean air and scenic mountain views will help reduce stress and help you relax. There is something truly special about being in the mountains surrounded by trees and animals.
6.It’s A Healthy Habit
Once you go cross-country skiing, you will be hooked. This sport is highly addictive, but in a good way. By replacing some desk or couch time with cross-country skiing, you will look better and feel better about yourself.
Cross-country skiing is considered one of the best aerobic exercises there is. Because all of the body's muscles work together, not one single muscle is overstressed. This allows participants to keep up the pace for many hours without stopping. Moving around at this pace will help maintain an elevated heart rate. This will help build cardiovascular strength, which will improve blood flow and oxygen levels.
For years, we have known that being social helps promote a better sense of self-worth and mental health. Cross-country skiing brings together people from all walks of life. No matter what your social status in the world is, when you meet on the mountain for a day of cross-country skiing, everyone is equal. This gives people a chance to meet others who they may have never run into during their everyday lives. Many new friendships have started on a beautiful mountain side.
9.Improvement of Function
Cross-country skiing helps the body move in a natural way. This improves function by teaching the body proper form. After a few cross-country skiing trips, your body will be more limber, making everyday movement much easier.
10.A Higher Level of Fitness
Cross-country skiers, as a group, tend to be extremely fit. This is likely because this form of exercise works the entire body at the same time. There are very few workouts or exercises that offer this level of efficient work.
11.A Rise in Endurance
Because cross-country skiing requires you to keep moving, often for many hours, your endurance level will greatly improve. After just a few cross-country skiing workouts, you will notice a huge increase in your endurance level. This will make other daily actives like climbing the stairs or unloading the groceries seem easier.
12.It’s a Low Impact Activity
While cross-country skiing requires good cardiovascular health and tons of endurance, it’s actually a low-impact exercise. Because you are using all of your muscle to keep properly balanced, you’re not over-stressing any part of the body. This is a great exercise for those who have difficulty doing other types of workouts that are harder on the joints and muscles.
13.An Improvement in Mental Health
As stated above, cross-country skiing can improve your mental health by simply being more social. But this exercise has other mental health benefits as well. Being outdoors has a positive effect on mental health in most people. (Taking outdoor walks has some of the same benefits). Some people have seen so much improvement in their mental health from cross-country skiing that they no longer have to take prescription medications (talk to a doctor before discontinuing any medication).
14.Improved Sports Performance
Whether you are a professional athlete or just someone that is competitive, cross-country skiing can improve your game. An excellent cross-training activity, cross-country skiing can help improve your endurance and speed.
15.Helps Reduce Lactic Acid
Lactic acid build-up in the muscles and can cause severe pain and cramping. This build-up normally occurs during strenuous physical activity. Cross-country skiing can help get the body ready for challenging tasks thus reducing the build-up of lactic acid.