The holiday cheer is long gone, and the decorations have been packed away, the only lingering reminder of the season is the extra ten pounds around the middle. Sound familiar? The time to take action is now, no need to hibernate this winter. Grab the family and head to the local Midwest slopes for a heart-pounding workout in the great outdoors that not only offers beautiful scenery and fun but some serious health benefits, too.
Amy Reents, executive director of the Midwest Ski Areas Association, shares her Top 5 Favorite Health Benefits of Skiing and Snowboarding:
Skiing and snowboarding is a great cardiovascular exercise that can help families burn some serious calories and lose weight. The ultimate number burned per hour is based on weight and proficiency, but according to Harvard Medical School, someone who is 185 pounds burns 266 calories in 30 minutes of downhill skiing. Beginners can get an extra calorie burn by walking up the slope rather than using the ski lift. And, for the advanced skiers, the steeper the slope, the more calories burned because the body has to work harder to keep balanced. Believe it or not, the cold weather also contributes to added calorie burn, since the body is forced to work harder to raise its body temperature.
Strengthens Lower Body Muscles
Take the gym workout to the slopes this winter. Skiing and snowboarding heavily target the lower body muscles. Skiing naturally keeps the body in the squat position, which strengthens the quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes. Snowboarding also works some muscles that may not be used as often as the ankles and feet, which are engaged to help steer the board and maintain balance.
The very art of balancing and engaging the core and key muscle groups during skiing and snowboarding makes the body more flexible. It also helps to reduce muscle strains and sprains. Snowboarding especially improves flexibility tremendously as it requires the body to change directions frequently and swiftly. Just like any sport, it is recommended that families develop a stretching routine both before their day on the slopes and after to reduce a chance of injury.
Engages Core Muscles
Keeping the body upright on skis or a snowboard requires some serious balancing skills and focus. It is not easy to stay steady on a slippery slope while weaving down the trail. By having to stay balanced, it forces the core muscles to work hard at engaging, which improves muscle tone in the abdomen and overall core strength.
Getting outdoors and exercising promotes increased production of endorphins, which creates feelings of relief and happiness. Families can also benefit from the added boost of vitamin D exposure from the sun, which is especially important in the winter when days are shorter.January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. It’s the perfect time to get the kids off the couch and enjoying a fun-filled family weekend together on the Midwest slopes. Many of the area resorts are offering “Learn to Ski and Snowboard” specials all month long.
For more information on the ski and snowboard resorts and special offerings near you, visit www.snowplaces.com.