One of the best parts about winter is that it is finally cold enough to snow. Which means that you can head up into the mountains and go skiing or snowboarding. Not only are these winter activities fun but they also burn a lot of calories and have many health benefits!
Cross Country Skiing:
The benefit to cross-country skiers is that they are simultaneously engaging every major muscle group to propel forwards, which burns a lot of energy , up to 500 calories per hour, and it increases aerobic fitness. The best part about this type of skiing is that not a single muscle group is overstressed which allows that movement to be sustained for hours. Even with all this muscle use cross-country skiing does not shock the knees and it entails a low risk of pulling a muscle or tearing ligaments.
Due to all the strenuous activities on your muscles most people would think that they would be sore the next day but there are ways to prepare your muscles so you do not get these aches and pains.
- Do one to two sets of twelve chair stands daily one month prior to the snowy adventure.
- Do one to two sets of twelve seated leg extensions
The most important step to remember is after skiing your muscles will be very tight and rigid so stretching is a must!
Snowboarding is also an aerobic exercise that offers an intense cardio workout which helps burn up to 450 calories per hour plus it increases your endurance. Snowboarding not only works all the muscle groups like skiing does but it also works muscle that are not used often, like the ones in your feet and ankles. All muscle groups are used for a different part of snowboarding. For example, you will use your quads, hamstrings, and calves to ride the board, the muscles in your feet and ankles will help you steer, and your arms and shoulders are used for balance but also to pick you up when you fall (so those will be getting a nice workout). With all of this new-found balance you will need to stay on the board your flexibility is likely to improve which means it will start to become easier to move around the in the snow with your board.
No matter the activity you choose both options have health benefits but the most important one is that you are being active in winter. Being outdoors helps reduce anxiety and can also help with your mental health. So do the right thing and get active over winter break by going to Steamboat, Co December 15-20 with SIUE Outdoor Recreation and hit the slopes! See http://ow.ly/i/3uSMG for more information about the trip!
To check out what the resort has to offer check them out at: http://www.steamboat.com/
written by Jessica Koonce