Too often winter means hibernating, indulging in comfort foods and nixing anything to do with the outdoors. Instead of dreading the cold season, hit the ski slopes and watch your winter blues disappear for good. Snow skiing not only improves your overall fitness, but also impacts your mood and sleeping and eating habits. So, bring on the fresh pow!
Gym Legs—Without the Gym
It can be difficult to haul yourself to the gym to work on those leg muscles when they are happily cuddled under a blanket by the fire. Luckily, you can sculpt strong, sexy legs without the squat rack. Because skiing puts you in a constant crouching 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 promise—you will definitely feel results the next day.
Skiing strengthens your knees and joints for long-term health, preventing knee damage and osteoporosis. In order to prevent injuries and maximize your time on the mountain, it is vital that you stretch before and after skiing.
A Killer Core
Because you are constantly working to stay balanced while skiing, you core is engaged throughout the entire activity. Plus, skiing challenges your balance and agility, helping you fend off slips and falls as you age.
The combination of high altitude and an elevated heart rate will improve the health of your cardiovascular system. With an elevated heart rate, your body will have an increase in blood circulation, which will cause your muscles to draw in more blood and oxygen, allowing the muscles to expand and burn more calories at a faster rate. On average, skiing burns on average more than 400 calories per hour. Consider that an excuse to warm up with some hot cocoa afterward!
You’ll Have the Time of Your Life…Literally
Skiing can contribute to a sunnier outlook. Spending the day on a snow-covered hill or mountain, surrounded by natural outdoor beauty, will have you forgetting all of the stresses of daily life. You’ll also benefit from the vitamin D exposure, which helps ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Colorado, for example, boasts 300 days of summer, meaning the sun is almost always shining on the mountains. So when the gym can feel like a chore, hit the slopes on a bluebird day for maximum health benefits.
Tighter Bonds with Friends and Family
Skiing with friends and family is far more a community sport than individual. You conquer getting on and off the chairlifts together, you collectively indulge in the joy of taking off your boots at lunchtime and ordering a drink, and you spend your time off the slopes laughing at the day’s adventures. These experiences will be shared memories that you have for your whole life.
There is nothing quite like a rigorous day of exercise to put you straight to sleep, perhaps even at 7 p.m. You will feel exhausted in the best way after trying a new sport, especially one that engages your entire body. After hitting the slopes, we guarantee there will be no scrolling the Internet before bed or staying up late—you will hit the pillow and enjoy one of the best nights of sleep to date.
You Won’t Think Twice About H20
Higher altitudes means something as simple as getting out of the car will have you breathing heavy. It only takes a bit of time to adjust to the altitude, but in order to stay on top of the conditions, you will have to gulp down about three times as much water as usual. As you spend the trip trying to drink as much water as you can, it will be much easier to carry this healthy habit with you after your vacation.
When you wake up before a long day of skiing, you have to power up. At lunchtime you need to refuel, and at dinnertime you need a recovery meal. You will naturally be more conscious of your eating: more protein, healthy fats, less sugar, more fruits and vegetables, etc. Just like the hydration habit, this athlete-minded eating will be easy to continue even after your ski trip has ended.