It releases a flow of endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. It eases tension and relaxes you, helping combat against stress, depression and anxiety. And when you sink like a stone into bed at the end of the day, you can be fairly sure you’re getting a nice, sound sleep which will fully recharge your batteries. What is this wonder pill? It’s skiing, of course! Our favourite sport is not only fun, it’s also a great way to stay healthy and happy. Of course, the fresh air and gorgeous scenery don’t hurt, either – so don’t forget to take a moment every now and again to enjoy the beautiful mountain views!
Skiing works your muscles and improves endurance, but that’s not all. A Korean study on the relation between skiing and positive psychology found that people reported positive emotions and increased levels of satisfaction after skiing or snowboarding. These results were still true even for people who did not often get a chance to get on the slopes. Participants did better when they were more involved, or “tuned-in”, to the sport. The study also acknowledged the role of skiing and snowboarding in raising self-esteem and strengthening social bonds. Skiing makes you happy – now you have proof!
Various studies, including a recent one by the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Salzburg, have shown that the heart rate of a downhill skier increases to a healthy range as defined by the WHO (World Health Organisation). Even on the lift, the skier’s heart rate stays in this healthy zone. This form of endurance sports helps protect against high blood pressure.
As you know if you’ve ever woken up the day after skiing hurting EVERYWHERE, skiing has a way of working what seems like every muscle in your body. Your legs, abs and back muscles get the hardest workout, and guess what: skiers have the best butts, even above footballers! Cross-country skiers have the added advantage of an upper-body workout, especially when going uphill. And that’s not to mention the obvious benefits to your balance and flexibility.
This one is obvious. Really, a sport that makes your muscles ache and your heart thump makes you burn calories? Shocking. The general consensus is that a day of skiing can help you burn around 3000 calories. It’s a pretty great alternative to the treadmill! We’ll refrain from commenting on who burns more calories, the expert skier tackling the steep moguls or the beginner skier struggling up the bunny slope.
People from rainy climates (yes, I’m looking at you) often suffer a deficiency in vitamin D. The lack of sunlight, especially during the winter months, can even cause a mild form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Getting some sun on your ski holiday can go a long way towards fighting these symptoms. Vitamin D is also instrumental in maintaining healthy bones and a strong immune system. Find a sun lounger and soak in the rays!
Studies suggest that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is associated with reduced cognitive decline and better memory in older adults. Skiing, obviously, counts as at least moderate and usually vigorous physical activity. Another reason not to hang up those skis after retirement!
We already knew skiing was the best sport in the world, and it’s hard to argue with that in light of all these additional health benefits. Whether you’re old or young, fit or getting there, there’s no better time to hit the slopes!
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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