Winter can be a hard time to stick to your regular exercise routine. There’s an excuse for everything: it’s too slippery/snowy/dark outdoors to run; the roads are too dangerous to drive to the gym; it’s too cold out and you’d rather snuggle up with a blanket, hot cocoa and a holiday movie. If you’re feeling like this – it’s time to try something new and take advantage of what winter has to offer, more specifically cross-country skiing.
Cross-country skiing is one of the best calorie-burning, heart-pumping exercises of all time on par with running. It targets all the major muscle groups including the arms, legs, butt, abs and back for a full-body workout. You will feel your triceps, tummy and quadriceps burning after a good, long session. A low-impact exercise, skiing is a great alternative for people who can’t tolerate high-impact exercises such as running. It’s gentle on the joints while building your aerobic endurance and stamina.
But, even more alluring than that, is the fact that cross-country skiing is done outdoors in nature’s playground, the woods. Being out in nature is great for the body and the mind, aiding in stress reduction and gaining calmness and clarity. Nordic skiing teaches you to stay in the moment because if you’re mind is off somewhere else or distracted, you won’t be as efficient and will likely start slipping or falling.
If you’re worried about the cold, check out what to wear for winter running. Dressing for cross-country skiing is very similar except you may want to add an additional thermal jacket and snow-pants on colder days or if you’re planning on casually touring.
Cross-country skiing is also a fantastic family activity and outing. You can spend an afternoon, day or weekend on the trails with stops to clubhouses or at the ski chalet to fuel up on soup, sandwiches and hot chocolate. Kids can also get involved in jackrabbit or ski bunny programs tailored to teaching kids how to ski and have fun while adults can seek out adult lessons from a local club. Most local clubs also have skis, poles and boots to rent or even borrow for rent.
So, try something different this winter and get outdoors for some fun and fitness in the snow!