For some, the first sign of snow means it is time to dig out the wool socks and blankets and go into hibernation. For others, though, it means time to wax those skis and hit the slopes!
Skiing is an incredible sport that involves physical, mental, social and emotional aspects of wellness. Often times winter can bring people into a depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Skiing combines the great outdoor air with physical activity and some sunshine exposure that many people forget about.
If you've already booked a skiing holiday this year, you are probably looking forward to perfecting your snow bunny look so you can look fabulous while perfecting your technique. Â Plus who doesn't love a little gloating to their friends; "Yeah I carved up those mountains in Whistler like nobody else." (Just don't show them the video of your epic yardsale).
While you could be flaked out in your cute little swim shorts sipping mai tais with Xavier pool side in Cuba,Â soaking in those melanoma inducing rays... no... you'd far prefer to be ripping it up, flying down a mountain at top speed, dodging every bailed snowboarder and those tiny little specs called "kids" that you apparently aren't allowed to just plow through... because it's good for your health!! (ok fine, because it's wicked fun, the health benefits are just a cool bonus... also... you still get to sport that cute little swimsuit during your post ski hot tub time).
HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT
According to fitness experts, you can lose up to five pounds during a week's skiing holiday. This is because a typical day's skiing can burn up to 3,000 calories - far more than a session at the gym.
Not only that, but being exposed to sub zero temperatures means your body is forced to raise its own body temperature and it does this by burning off even more calories! Â So even if you're a chalet bunny, and only come out to play at the tubing park, or go skating, or just walking to the spa... you'll be burning more calories than lounging pool side in Porto Rico.
Whats even better?Â All thatÂ hot chocolate, pastries and booze thatÂ goes hand-in-hand with skiing holidays will work itself off... though avoiding them will help you lose weight even faster.
GIVES YOU A 6-PACK
Ok... well maybe that claim is a bit excessive, though if you ski enough it will happen. Â Have you seen Gus Kenworthy's stomach lately?
The trick to skiing is, of course, to keep yourself balanced on a slippery slope. Engaging your stomach muscles this way boosts core stability and compresses the lower abdomen (which means a flatter tummy.. ski enough you might exchange that beer keg for a 6 pack... though us Canadian boys prefer a two-four... wait... we were talking about stomachs, not beer...).
Plus, it promotes overall flexibility and coordination. Your leg muscles will also thank you: the general stance of a skier is a slight crouch which strengthens the large quadriceps and glutes muscle groups.
On the subject of beer though... whileÂ hard liquor is often lauded as the low-carb alternative to having a brew with your buddies, beer and wine are healthier options. Â TheyÂ also delivers major cardio benefits. Research published in the American Heart Association Journal found that alcohol increases levels of good cholesterol when consumed in moderation. Lower your risk of heart disease by 30 percent and keep your heart in marathon shape with your favorite brew.
GIVES YOU PORN LEGS
Because skiing puts you in a constant squat position, it works your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings, quads and glutes. You will be too distracted by the surrounding beauty or too focused on the slope in front of you to notice your legs burning, but we promiseâ€”you will definitely feel results the next day.
IMPROVES YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM
Whether you're a beginner or an advanced skier, you will be giving your cardiovascular system a good workout.
Improving your cardiovascular system means elevating your heart rate which increases blood circulation, bringing more nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and helping to remove waste from the body more quickly.
Working out in this way also means your muscles are able to draw in more oxygen and blood which produces more capillaries and allows your muscles to expand, and, in turn, burn up calories more quickly.
Is that english? No... it's medical... but it's still important. Â Proprioception is defined as oneâ€™s ability to feel the position of different body parts and the effort that goes into moving them. In other words, when you hold your hand in front of your face with your eyes closed, you still know your hand is there even though you canâ€™t see it.
Skiing involves quite a bit of balance and coordination, and you must be conscious of the many slight movements and positions of your body if you want to ski well and stay on your feet.
Proprioception weakens with age, so the more you are involved in proprioceptive activities, the less it will diminish.
Because you are constantly working to stay balanced while skiing, you core is engaged at all times. Â Those strengthened muscles in your tummy and legs help your body naturally stay better balanced.
Plus, skiing challenges your balance and agility, this goes with you off the slopes as well, helping you fend off slips and falls as you age, or just as you're walking across the parking lot to work and hit a patch of ice.
PROMOTES DEEP SLEEP
You know what's fantastic exercise, burns a ton of calories, and puts you right off to sleep (at least if you're a guy)? SEX. Â But next to that; Skiing. Â You will feel exhausted in the best way after trying a new sport, especially one that engages your entire body. After hitting the slopes and gulping in fresh outdoor (hopefully mountain) air all day, we guarantee there will be no scrolling the Internet before bed or staying up lateâ€”you will hit the pillow and enjoy a good night of restful sleep.
Do get the sex in still too though, or at least a good old fashioned wank sesh. Â Beyond being super fun and feeling good, there's all sorts of research out there that promotes regular ejaculation as being beneficial to helping stave off testicular cancer. Â Would be a shame to live a long happy life of skiing only to wind up with cancer balls. Â So give them a good workout for your heath as well. Â Just keep it off your hotel bed spread... nobody wants to walk in after you with a black light and see that...
STRENGTHENS BONES AND JOINTS
Your knees must endure the tension and weight from your body as you turn and move quickly downhill, so they are being strengthened when you ski. In addition to strengthening your knees, your bones become stronger due to the weight-bearing impact on your legs. So not only are you having a fantastic time gliding down the slopes, but you are preventing knee damage, and osteoporosis.
There is a key to this though; don't over-do it. Â Skiing beyond your body's training and skill puts too much strain on these same areas and can wind up injuring you... so work up to that big jump... or just stick to mountain skiing and avoid the parks... also avoid trees. Â Trees hurt. Â Everything. Â Trails are marked for a reason... to keep you away from hurtful trees.
IMPROVES MENTAL HEALTH
So often ignored in talks about overall health, mental health is a huge topic, and one that could probably have its entire own post (and maybe someday will).
Exercise is a powerful depression, anxiety and stress fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.
Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, spending the day on a snow-covered hill or mountain, surrounded by natural outdoor beauty, will have you forgetting about the stresses of daily life, and break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Mental health is proven to have a significant impact, not only on our mental health (gee, thanks captain obvious), but also has significant impact on our physical health as well. Â The body is healthier when then mind is healthier.
Youâ€™ll also benefit from the vitamin D exposure, which helps ward off seasonal affective disorder and boosts your mood. Â It's also been found to significantly reduce your chances of developing most forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Basically daylight ( or at least the natural vitamin D you get from daylight) is an often overlooked wonder drug that too many of us don't get nearly enough of. Â You certainly won't get it hibernating all winter long.
So in short; Netflix gives you cancer, Skiing is the antidote.
BEING SOCIALLY ACTIVE
For an individual sport, skiing is an incredibly social activity. Â Whether it's in the lift line, sharing a chair, getting turnt at aprÃ¨s, sharing the hotel hot tub, or just bunking down with your buds, you're naturally forced into a social atmosphere. Â One that somehow is not intimidating, even for those more socially phobic. Â That lift ride up the mountain is a great and natural ice breaker.
And being social is critical to our health in so many ways. Mostly is its contribution to improved mental health, but also the built-in enticement to be physical and keep going.
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