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Understanding the health benefits of skiing

As the seasons change, so do the opportunities to engage in various activities to keep us healthy while having fun. Millions of Canadians enjoy embracing the snow and hitting the slopes every winter. Skiing is a classic cold weather sport that has an abundance of physical and mental health benefits. Before you get started, there are simple preventative measures to consider in order to maximize your experience.

Physical Benefits

Over 2.5 million Canadians enjoy skiing and snowboarding every year. In particular, skiing continues to be a popular activity that also provides a great workout. Needless to say, when you’re having fun skiing it really doesn’t feel like exercise. The more enjoyable an activity is, the more likely you are to be consistent. To reap the benefits of working out, consistency is essential. During a typical Canadian winter, you don’t have to go too far to hit the slopes and enjoy a regular fun workout.

Studies also indicate that when parents are physically active, their children naturally become active as well. Spending time together outside while getting exercise can change your family dynamic. Resist the urge to hibernate during the winter and create new memories when the season changes. Eventually, participating in winter activities together will be a part of your family’s culture.

Mental Health Benefits

Many people struggle with the effects of less daylight and long days of colder weather. It is actually normal to experience depression, especially during this time of year. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year. In addition to prolonged sad and despairing moods, other symptoms include: agitation or feeling slowed down, irritability and fatigue. Some treatments include psychotherapy or medication (depending on the individual), and being outside helps to reduce the symptoms of depression.

Skiing provides an opportunity to enjoy fresh air while working up a sweat in a fun way to increase the serotonin in your body. This hormone is responsible for improving your mood and supporting your nervous system. Skiing is a great form of exercise in the winter that will ultimately support your mental health.

Proactive Health Tips

Like all activities, skiing does come with some risks including aching feet and muscles. Here are some simple ways to stay safe while having fun this winter:

  • Warm up before you get started: cold muscles have to work harder, so do a light stretch before you begin.

  • Focus on overall body fitness: balance, coordination and agility training is important before skiing.

  • Get the right equipment: poorly