Winter is the best excuse to snuggle under our blanket with a hot cup of cocoa. Most people prefer staying in and finish reading a book or binge-watching a show on Netflix during the holiday season. As comfy as that sounds, winters don’t always have to be lazy. Did you all know that winter can be the perfect time to lose all those extra calories you consumed during Thanksgiving in the previous month?
Winter sports are not only for the Olympics. They can also be a great way to say goodbye to winter blues. They’re a fun way to help families and friends bond.
In fact, there are a lot of underrated winter sports that are extremely enjoyable. Snowshoeing is the ideal sport for people who love to hike. Whereas if you love cycling, fat biking is your winter alternative to your summer mornings.
Skiing is arguably the most popular winter sport. The best part is that it is a fantastic workout. The range of motion that your body performs during the activity is a great way to keep those muscles and joints going stiff during winters. Ten on ten recommended! If you don’t have snowy peaks in your neighborhood (lol), you can always get a ski fitness workout app and related home equipment to simulate the movement and stay healthy.
Having said that, let’s move on to some lesser-known yet fascinating health benefits of winter sports.
They Help Burn Off Calories
Sports help you burn off calories and stay in shape. Winter sports are no different. Outdoor activities in winter tend to burn off more calories than indoor activities. Thermogenesis is the process in which the human body works to maintain the average body temperature. The process increases in cold temperatures and burns more calories to maintain body heat. The number of calories an individual can burn via this process depends on one’s physique. But, throw in some winter sport activity, and you can burn as much as 400 calories per hour.
They Help Boost Your Immune System
The immune system of our body fights off deadly viruses and bacteria. An unhealthy immune system can either overwork or underwork causing various diseases. For example, if the immune system is overworking, you can have a variety of auto-immune diseases. Similarly, if it is underworked, frequent infectious diseases occur. Vitamin D is necessary for the balanced function of the immune system. And what better way is there to replenish your body’s Vitamin D requirements than by soaking in the winter sun as you perform some outdoor sports? The nutrient is also essential for maintaining healthy bones. The good part is that the sun tends to be less harsh in winters than in summers. You’ll most likely be covered in warm clothing from head to toe and wouldn’t have to worry about sunburn.
They Keep You Happy
Sports aren’t just about physical fitness. They also help to enhance one’s mental health. Our body produces endorphins, which are its natural way of coping with pain and stress. These chemicals fill our bodies with positive energy. When our stress levels are down, we sleep better. A night of good sleep helps us to concentrate and remember things better. On the other hand, insufficient sleep can lead to unhappiness and depression. And this is that last thing you would want to feel during a cold, dry season!
They Make Your Heart Stronger
Winter sports are a fun way to catch up on some cardio exercise. Cross country skiing is a perfect example of an intense cardio workout. You depend upon your strength to move forward, and it raises your heartbeat to pump oxygen to your body. As a result, your heart health and blood circulation improve. An improved cardiovascular system has numerous health benefits, including maintaining metabolic rates, weight loss, ensuring proper distribution of nutrients throughout the body, and overall well-being. This in itself is the single most important reason to engage in some health activities during winters.
However, the air does tend to be thinner at higher altitudes and has lower oxygen levels. Before you venture out, do consult with an expert in case you have an existing heart condition.
Improved Coordination and Balance
Hand to eye coordination is a vital motor skill required daily, be it reading, writing, or driving. Winter sports help us to improve coordination by stimulating our minds. Walking in the snow is not easy. It takes a lot of effort to maintain balance. A lot of exercises, for example, tai chi, focus primarily on balance and strengthening of core muscles. These exercises can sometimes be overwhelming. Snowboarding is a fun alternate for practicing balance and enhancing your motor skills.
HP Thoughts: Sports, as well as proper exercises, help the body cope with problems like weight gain and cellulite formation. Regarding the latter, we have an article that deals on how to combat this body anomaly — Simple Cellulite Exercises.
The Bottom Line
Winter sports are an enjoyable approach to spend your winters and have many benefits when done right. So what are you waiting for? Get your equipment out and make the most out of this beautiful season. Be sure to equip yourself with the proper gear; the snow and blistering cold can be quite unforgiving sometimes, and injuries take longer to heal!