Winter Sports That Can Help You Become Healthier and More Fit

Cold weather is an excellent time to participate in a heart-healthy activity and lose some of those extra holiday pounds. The time to act is now; there is no need to hide this winter. Grab the family and go to the snowy slopes for a heart-pounding exercise in the outdoors that provides not only stunning scenery and enjoyment but also some significant health advantages.


Dr. Stephen Olvey of the University of Miami’s Department of Neurology says cross-country skiing is an excellent way to build endurance. It’s also a lot more calorically dense than any other kind of workout.

Cross-country skiing is a strenuous sport that requires a lot of mental and physical effort. Olvey says, “Things about pounding it out over time without help from gravity.” In other words, you keep moving for an extended period while your heart continues pumping blood to your muscles and generating energy.

The muscles you build when cross-country skiing vary based on your skiing style. Forearms and triceps are more frequent than leg muscles like gluteus maximus (bottom), gastrocnemius (calf), and forearms (front and back of the upper arm).

Skiing cross-country burns between 500 and 640 calories per hour for a 150-pound person, depending on the effort. Olvey offers the following advice to help you get started:

  • Refrain from going overboard. Consider how long you want to spend skiing before making a decision.
  • Use an elliptical machine to loosen up your muscles before you go out.
  • If you’re traveling to a distant area, make sure you have enough beverages and food with you.
  • Wear several layers of clothing, such as a Descente Rogue ski jacket and pants, to be warm, enabling you to move freely.
  • Avoid letting your guard down. Your return time should be communicated to someone who knows about your travel intentions. Olvey expects that he will become hypothermic very soon.

Cross-country skiing needs longer sustained efforts, while downhill skiing necessitates shorter ones. Olvey estimates that the average ski run lasts between two and three minutes. It’s essential to have strong quadriceps and calves while downhill skiing since these muscles drive the skier forward.


Snowboarding requires the use of many muscles, including the calf, hamstring, quadriceps, and ankle, knee, and abdomen. For a 150-pound individual, it burns around 480 calories an hour this way, as well.

According to Jonathan Chang, MD of Pacific Orthopaedic Associates in Alhambra, CA, another benefit of snowboarding is that the thrill of shredding the powder is good for your mental health. Exercising outdoors, according to Chang, has been shown to enhance people’s happiness and anxiety levels in recent studies. Many snowboarders reap the health and fitness benefits of the additional time spent on the slopes after paying a lift ticket. However, for your good, don’t push yourself beyond your physical and mental limits.

Here are Chang’s leisure snowboarding suggestions:

  • Select a piece of terrain that’s appropriate for your level of expertise.
  • More complicated or steeper paths burn more calories and provide a better workout, but only if you have the skills to complete them.
  • Make sure you’re well-prepared: Wear a helmet and elbow and wrist guards.

Skating on Ice

Angela Smith, an orthopedic physician, is more than simply an ice skating enthusiast. She is also a past chairperson of the United States Figure Skating Sports Medicine Committee and earns gold in the United States Figure Skating National Showcase. Ice skating is a low-impact activity. It is excellent for developing lower-body muscles such as the hips, quadriceps, thighs, and calves (except if you perform many leaps). Jumping can help increase bone mass, according to Smith.

Skating improves balance, flexibility, speed, and agility as well. Skaters of various types develop different muscles. According to Smith, speed skaters have bigger thighs; guys who lift a companion have better upper bodies, and individuals who do much jumping have less muscular upper bodies.

Another advantage, according to Smith, is that you can burn calories even if you are a novice. If you’re a beginner skater, you can expend a lot of energy simply skating around the rink a few times. As skating gets simpler, you can slide for more extended periods, increasing your strength and endurance.

Sitting wrapped up next to a warm fire watching movies and munching popcorn all winter can seem tempting. However, it can have severe consequences, such as melancholy due to a lack of sun exposure. Weight gain from inactivity not only increases your derriere but can also lead to a slew of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. So go outdoors, try something new, and have some wintry excitement. Your mind and body will appreciate it.

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