Most sports are good for you. Even when you consider something particularly sedate such as darts or chess, you might not move that many muscles to make it physically demanding, but it’s fantastic for mental stimulation.
When it comes to skiing, there’s no doubt that most go on group skiing holidays for the fun factor, but many don’t realise just how fantastic it can be as a form of exercise. Without doubt one of the most physically demanding sports, because it’s so fun, you often don’t even realise you’re having an intensive work out!
Let’s start with the basic fact that we’re all recommended to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The minimum amount advised by the UK government, it’s said that this half hour of brisk walking (alongside a balanced diet) will keep us fit and healthy.
So now look at your skiing holiday. You’re likely to be out for at least six hours every day, which itself is twelve times longer than the minimum we’re advised to walk – and the actual activity is going to be much more intensive than a brisk walk.
You’ll be walking to and from your ski chalet to the lifts with your skis. You’ll be climbing onto the lifts (which is going to be the only time you sit down!) and soon after you’ll be skiing down the mountain for a few minutes before you repeat the process all over again.
Without looking into this any further, you can already see just how beneficial skiing can be for your health. However, if we delve a little deeper, we can pinpoint exactly how you’re going to benefit.
And the cardiovascular workout you’ll get is a perfect point to look at.
Generally speaking, cardiovascular exercises are those that get your heart pumping faster. They’re the ones that we do to lose weight and become healthier in general; walking, jogging, running, rowing and swimming, for example.
All increasing our heart rate, these are the exercises that help us to burn off calories – and skiing is one of the best cardiovascular exercises in terms of calories burned per hour.
Using an average 13 stone man as an example, by walking briskly for one hour, you’re likely to burn around 350 calories. Swimming over the same length of time will take that up to just under 500 calories. By skiing, however, you could burn up to 1,000 calories an hour – for an average day on the pistes, that’s 6,000 calories!
Another great result of regular skiing is muscle development and toning.
We all know how important it is to do even just a few little warm up stretches before heading out to ski and we’re sure everyone’s had a few tight muscles the morning after a good skiing session if they’ve forgot to stretch properly.
If you think of skiing in the same sense as a workout at the gym and, for example, do the right stretches, you’ll begin to have less muscle pain – particularly in your thighs – and more muscle toning, something that’s often most visible on your upper arms.
Skiing is one of those rare activities where it can be so much fun that you don’t want to stop, but at the same time so fantastically healthy you don’t even realise you’re working out.
Not restricted to the experienced skiers who seem to by flying down the runs, for even the most novice of skiers, you shouldn’t be surprised if you return from your group skiing holiday and have actually lost a few pounds – even if you did spend longer than first anticipated in the après-ski bars!