From the fresh mountain air to the full-body workout, it’s not surprising that a trip to the mountains can boost your health and wellbeing. Here are our top reasons why we think a ski holiday is just what the doctor ordered.
Skiing can strengthen your muscles
A session on the slopes will exercise muscles you might never have known you had. Your thighs do lots of the work, but you’ll also be toning up your hamstrings and glutes as you swoosh down the piste. It’s not just about your legs either – to stay balanced, you’ll need to engage your core stomach muscles too. And having a strong core can help with everything from posture to breathing.
It can help keep your joints healthy
When you ski, you’re always adjusting your body position, using muscle combinations you wouldn’t use in other sports. The actions involved in skidding, carving and jumping might feel weird at first, but these ski-specific movements help to strengthen the smaller support muscles around your joints – great news for your lower-body, as it’ll improve your stability and can help prevent joint and repetitive-motion injuries.
It’s great for your heart
Skiing is a form of cardio, which means it increases your heart rate – just like rowing or cycling. And as your muscles work harder, your heart pumps faster to keep them supplied with oxygen-rich blood. It’s important to give your heart a regular workout, as pumping all that extra blood around the body keeps your arteries healthy and lowers your blood pressure.
You’ll develop better balance and coordination
To ski safely, and with style, you’ll need to stay aware of every slight change in your body position. This ability to feel where your different body parts are and how to move them – like knowing how close your hand is to your face, even when your eyes are closed – is called proprioception. The skill weakens as you get older, but the more you do activities like skiing, the less it’ll diminish.
You can burn heaps of calories
Hopping on a treadmill is one way to burn some calories, but when it comes to fun workouts, skiing’s hard to beat. An hour spent cruising the slopes burns around 400 calories for women and 600 for men – that’s roughly equal to two regular cheeseburgers. However, to keep your energy levels topped up all day long, it’s important to fuel up with the right food. A breakfast like porridge will fill you up for longer, and snacking on nuts and seeds won’t give you the sugar crash you get from chocolate.
It’s a form of interval training
Pushing your body on the run down, then getting a break while you ride the lift back up, is a familiar pattern for any skier. And it’s also similar to the on-off style of training used by athletes. Evidence has shown that limiting hard exercise to a few minutes and then giving yourself a rest can help maintain your health into old age, as well as improving overall fitness.
Being in the mountains can improve your mood
Lots of research shows that being in a natural environment can improve your mental wellbeing. And doing a sport like skiing releases lots of ‘feel-good chemicals’ called endorphins, which leave you feeling satisfied and happy. After a day of exercise and fresh air, you’ll probably sleep well too – another positive boost for your mental health.
It’s a great way to bring people together
Everyone loves to reminisce about their holidays, and it’s even better when you get to share those memories with other people who were there. A group ski holiday is a great way to connect with friends and family, away from the stress of work or home life. So whether it’s taking in mountaintop views together, telling jokes on the lift or sharing ski school stories at dinner, there’s bound to be smiles all round.
Don’t just take our word for it. Treat yourself to a spot of wintertime wellbeing and start planning your next ski adventure with us.