It's s'no joke that, as soon as the winter season hits, many people choose the comfort of their sofa and slippers and leave the exercise and activity of summer behind. Some do opt for the gym to stay in shape at this time year, however, whilst a more fun, and often healthier, alternative is to hit the slopes.
Skiing, as well as being great entertainment and the ultimate winter holiday, is also incredibly good for you. While seemingly effortless in the form of sliding down a ski run, the activity is actually working a number of muscles and is very demanding on the body.
The art of snow skiing involves much balance and concentration, and this results in the use of core muscles which, in turn, work to tone your stomach and thighs. The act of trying to keep upright in the difficult conditions of moving on the slippery slope makes you unconsciously tighten your stomach muscles to keep your balance.
You will become toned in the act of turning and controlling your skis in the difficult conditions and increased flexibility is needed to compensate for impact from bumps. This is why, if you hope to be able to complete a full day's skiing, you have to prepare months in advance and train your body to be able to cope with the strain of the activity.
The legs work the hardest in skiing and, while the activity works all the major muscle groups, it is the thighs, hamstrings and buttocks which take most of the strain due to the crouching position needed when skiing. The increased use of these muscles works to tone the lower body as a result of the amplified pressure. This is why professionals in the sport have very strong legs to cope with the strain and why it is important to work on these muscle groups before you set off to ensure you are able to keep up with the demands of skiing for sustained periods of time.
Not only does skiing tone and work various muscle groups, but it is also a great cardiovascular workout. The simple act of carrying your equipment and walking up slopes in the cold conditions gets the blood pumping and improves fitness. This, in addition to the act of skiing itself, releases endorphins and adrenaline into the bloodstream which gives a sense of overall wellbeing, making skiing good for both the mind and body.
As skiing is so demanding, it is important to keep energy levels up when on the slopes, as a typical day's skiing will burn around 3,000 calories. Be sure you can carry on reaping these health benefits by making regular stops for food and drink so that you don't run out of energy.