Nobody can deny that skiing and snowboarding are wonderful activities to partake in, and incredibly healthy to boot. But, of course, when you’re on top of a snow-topped mountain and traveling on skis at great speeds, there are some inherent dangers, too. With this in mind, we thought we would reveal some of the health pros – and cons – of skiing and snowboarding. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know.
Pro: great cardio
Skiing and snowboarding are both fantastic aerobic endurance activities. You can burn a lot of calories – and a lot of fat – through both activities, and it’s a great exercise for the heart and lungs. For extra effect, walk up the mountains wherever possible rather than taking the ski lift.
Con: head injuries
While injuries to the head while skiing and snowboarding are, thankfully, rare, they are also the most frequent cause of severe disability and death. Skiers and snowboarders should always wear helmets, of course, but it may not be enough to protect you, as it can only take a small bump in the wrong place to cause critical conditions.
Pro: improve core strength
Your core strength is, perhaps, the most important aspect of your fitness of all. And, because snowboarding and skiing require you to stay balanced at all times, it means you are working that central part of the body at all times. From the top of your thighs and the bottom of your glutes to your midriff and stomach muscles; it all gets a thorough workout every time you hit the slopes.
Con: remote risks
When you are involved in a nasty accident in most other sports, you are often only a few minutes wait away from an ambulance arriving. It’s different on the slopes, of course. An air ambulance company could still get to you quickly, but they also have to find you first, which can prove tricky when you have fallen somewhere and are hidden from view. And the longer you wait, the colder you will get – which is an obvious risk to your health.
Pro: strengthens joints and bones
Skiing and snowboarding also strengthen the joints in your knees, which are always working hard as you travel around the mountains. Your bones will also get stronger, and both activities are renowned for their help in preventing conditions like osteoporosis and knee ligament damage.
Con: skin cancer
It’s important to wear sunscreen while skiing, as the sun can do a lot of damage to your skin while you’re on the slopes. Sure, it might be cold, but due to the mountain landscape there is often zero protection from the clouds – and you need to protect your skin.
Pro: great for the soul
All risks aside, both skiing and snowboarding are, ultimately, fantastic sports for improving fitness. But they are also great for the soul. Evidence suggests that snow-based sports like snowboarding have an excellent benefit on mental health, even when you only go once or twice a year.
Do you live for skiing or snowboarding? Let us know about your experiences below!