Turns Out Skiing Can Improve Overall Health

  13. Exercise helps prevent depression Those who suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression will often be prescribed regular exercise by their doctor. There are many… Rina - February 4, 2020


Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Funny photo with with friends at ski resort. Snowboarders are having fun in playful poses. Shutterstock.

13. Exercise helps prevent depression

Those who suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression will often be prescribed regular exercise by their doctor. There are many reasons why exercise is good for your mental health, from the feel-good chemicals it releases in your brain, to make you feel better about yourself.

Most doctors recommend 150 minutes of exercise a week, and if you go on a ski holiday, you’ll easily fit that into a day. Researchers found that replacing sedentary behavior with just 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, like running, or an hour of moderate activity, like fast walking, reduces depression risk by 26%. That’s not just mild depression, but the more severe major depressive disorder.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Typical swiss winter season landscape. January 2011, Switzerland. Shutterstock.

14. Travel is good for you

Taking up skiing is a great excuse to see more of the world, and visiting new countries has many health benefits. Studies have shown that traveling makes you more creative, a better problem solver, and less fearful. Skiing is something you can enjoy around the world, and as you get better you’ll want to explore new places and take up new challenges, allowing you to expand your horizons.

Nothing is more fun than getting some friends together, flying to a new country, and enjoying some time on the slopes, and you’re bound to come back feeling refreshed. Heading to a ski resort makes for one of the best winter getaways and is a great way to spread out your vacations. It will also give you something to look forward to. Going on a skiing holiday is a great way to make the most of the cold conditions rather than hibernate away.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Happy Skier. Shutterstock.

15. Enhances and Improves Your Mood

Skiing can actually help to improve your mood and enhance your overall outlook. Studies have shown that people who ski come back with a greater sense of happiness and overall well-being. The brain’s production of dopamine, one of three monoamine neurotransmitters (the others being norepinephrine and serotonin), is a topic common to research on dangerous sports. Scientists typically associate dopamine with pleasure and thus reward-motivation on the one hand, and learning and memory on the other. Both kinds of experiences coincide with dopamine release in response to pleasurable activities and new situations, such as fast-uptake of metabolism- or mood-altering chemicals into the body and exposure to surprising information or occurrences.

A study led by Stanford University found that city dwellers have a 20% higher risk of depression than rural residents and a 40% increased risk of mood disorders. Since half the world’s population lives in urban areas, it’s not feasible for us all to move into a remote log cabin in search of mental wellbeing but the study also found that just spending a few days in remote areas on a ski trip can lead to better mental calmness and clarity.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
winter scene: road and forest with hoar-frost on trees. Shutterstock.

16. Just be around the trees

Of course, the landscapes at ski resorts and in the mountains are incredibly beautiful and being surrounded by this winter wonderland will create memories that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Researchers in Japan found that being around pine trees decreased hostility, depression, and stress, in particular, as a result of their scent. Going for a therapeutic walk in the woods is known as shinrin-yoku, which means “taking in the atmosphere of the forest.”  This practice has recently been studied for its ability to ease stress

In a study at Japan’s Kyoto University sent 498 healthy volunteers on two 15-minute forest strolls one day, compared to a control day when they didn’t walk. Volunteers rated their mood on a standard psychological scale. Their hostility and depression scores decreased significantly after walking. What’s more, the more stressed-out the volunteers were, to begin with, the greater the relaxation they experienced.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Spectacular jumping with skis in wintry mountains in Austria in Kleinwalsertal. Shutterstock.

17. Improves Proprioception

Proprioception is a person’s ability to feel the position of different parts of the body and the efforts that go into moving them. A study from the University of New Hampshire states: “Proprioception almost defines skiing because skiing involves quite a bit of balance and coordination. There are so many slight movements and positions of your body that you must be conscious of to ski well. The more you ski the more you strengthen your ability to be aware of the movement of your body parts.”

Proprioception is defined as one’s ability to feel the position of different body parts and the effort that goes into moving them. In other words, when you hold your hand in front of your face with your eyes closed, you still know your hand is there even though you can’t see it. Skiing involves quite a bit of balance and coordination, and you must be conscious of the many slight movements and positions of your body if you want to ski well and stay on your feet. Proprioception weakens with age, so the more you are involved in proprioceptive activities, the less it will diminish.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
People paragliding tandem above mountain in winter in Georgia ski resort. Concept of active lifestyle and extreme sport adventure. Shutterstock.

18. Greater Sense of Spatial Awareness

As you judge speed, distances and where you need to position your body, your awareness of the space around your, your spatial awareness will increase. This benefits you physically too, but it starts with your mind and your brain’s ability to calculate and analyze your surroundings.

As we navigate different conditions and terrain, adjusting our speed and style, we develop our awareness through neural communication between our brain and the musculoskeletal system. Proprioception is responsible for our body’s awareness of itself in space, whether moving or not. It connects all of our senses and enables us to control our limbs quickly and without looking at them, as when skiing. What is proprioception? It’s the ability to feel the position of your body parts and the effort required to move them. With all the balance, coordination, shifting of weight and movement of muscles involved in downhill skiing your body will learn how to feel and use your different body parts. Since proprioception weakens as we get older, the more you ski the better you’ll feel as you age!

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Woman in sports clothes with snowboard sleeping on bed. Winter vacation. Shutterstock.

19. Better Sleep 

Another factor that benefits both the body and mind, getting plenty of sleep is good for you but something that many people aren’t good at. Skiing will work your body and brain hard, meaning that at the end of the day you’ll be ready a good recharge. Then it can lead to your body getting into the habit of getting good sleep. Let’s face it, after a long day of skiing you are going to feel tired, but it will be a good tired! As your body learns this new sport it will need to rest. Getting this much exercise will help you get a deeper night’s sleep.

After a day on the slopes, the countless dopamine releases we experienced culminate in a massive surge of the hormone melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is known to have medicinal qualities beyond facilitating deep or REM sleep required for proper brain, metabolic and immune function. It reduces cognitive deterioration in people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, helps to lower high blood pressure and increases levels of blood platelets in people combating cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. At the very least, dopamine-fueled melatonin production from skiing almost guarantees a great night’s rest.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
View of Mount Elbrus. The highest point in Europe, sleeping volcano in the Caucasus Mountains. Ski resort, freeride. Shutterstock.

20.The fresh air

The fresh air on mountaintops has less pollution giving your lungs the chance to breathe in oxygen that is free of gasses or air pollution. The fresh air helps respiratory problems and easier breathing for asthma.  For those of you who have allergies being up on a mountaintop is better than an antihistamine. Scientific evidence shows that life at high altitudes can lead to healthier hearts.

Being up in the mountains gives your lungs the chance to breathe in oxygen that is free of gasses or air pollution. The fresh air helps respiratory problems and easier breathing for asthma. Fresh mountain air also improves digestion, blood pressure and heart rate, strengthens your immune system and cleanses your lungs. Another thing to love about heading to the mountains during the winter is the clean and fresh air! It must be one of the best escapes from a busy city and work lifestyle. Also if you like to party you’ll find many resorts have a fantastic après-ski/party scene, where you can have a few drinks after hitting the slopes or go to various bars and clubs. And what makes this better, is that because of the clean air the next day it doesn’t take long for you to feel fresh and clear-headed!

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Couple of skiers sunbathing at top of ski slope. Shutterstock.

21. Vitamin D

After a day on the slopes, due to all of then natural light exposure, you will get a healthy dose of vitamin-D. Which is great for combating seasonal affective disorder and boosting your mood. Spending the day on a snow-covered mountain, surrounded by the natural outdoor beauty, will have you forgetting about the stresses of daily life and can contribute to a sunnier outlook. Vitamin D is also instrumental in maintaining healthy bones and a strong immune system. Find a sun lounger and soak in the rays!

When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. Even just a few minutes of sun exposure a day can help increase your levels of Vitamin D, which has been known to help fight off osteoporosis, cancer, and depression.  The lack of sunlight, especially during the winter months, can even cause a mild form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Getting some sun on your ski holiday can go a long way towards fighting these symptoms.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Skiing downhill against the mountains and the blue sky. Shutterstock.

22. Improves Concentration and Cognitive Capacity

As well as boosting our happiness, skiing can also improve mental dexterity, as snowsports are classed as is a proprioceptive activity. Also referred to as kinaesthesia, proprioception is our ability to feel the position and movement of our different body parts, and how they work together. Skiing’s reliance on good balance and coordination is the perfect sport for improving proprioception, which can otherwise weaken with age. And aerobic sports are also proven to help people think more clearly and increase cognitive capacity, meaning that skiers are likely to be better learners in other areas of life. While your body is getting a full workout your mind is too. Exercising your mind strengthens it, just like the rest of your body, by improving your concentration and cognitive capacity. 

A recent study by the US Centre of Disease Control has found that “skiing forces us to make strategic decisions as we go along, choosing the best route and remaining aware of other moving objects around us. This combination is thought to help people think more clearly, and can even increase cognitive capacity, meaning that skiers are likely to be better learners in other areas of life, while also having less chance of suffering from mental decline in old age.”

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Make the most of the chilly season by safeguarding your health. Pixabay

23. Helps to improve memory

Skiing is a sport that might even be able to improve your memory as well. The less time we have to process unfamiliar or changing circumstances, the faster and more abundantly we produce dopamine. Research suggests that because dopamine activates memory, we produce it quickly as a reaction to foreignness and complexity so that we are alert in the present and better prepared for similar situations in the future.

This learning and awareness enable us to rapidly discriminate between beneficial and harmful situations, and, therefore, minimize suffering and maximize pleasure. Skiing not only boosts overall happiness and well-being, but it is beneficial to an individual’s physical and mental health, despite the frequency or duration of the activity.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Child skiing in the mountains. Kids in ski school. Winter sport for kids. Family Christmas vacation in the Alps. Children learn downhill skiing. Alpine ski lesson for boy and girl. Outdoor snow fun. Shutterstock.

24. A Workout for the Whole Family

It can sometimes be difficult to get young children or teenagers to exercise. Yet it is good for the kids to stay active from a young age. Skiing is an activity the whole family can enjoy together, and most children enjoy learning to ski. Skiing is even good for the older members of the family. Studies on skiers over 60 showed that they developed increased strength, aerobic capacity, and balance.

Strong muscles, a healthy heart, and better overall fitness are only a few benefits of downhill skiing. To make the most of any skiing session remember to stretch well afterward. A good stretch will help to make the most of the benefits of skiing and will prepare your muscles for the next day’s ski sessions.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
A group of happy friends enjoy the top mountain of the beautiful view. Shutterstock.

25. Catching up with old friends

Après ski – a French phrase which literally means “after ski,” and it’s a general phrase to describe the social activities that take place after a day spent hitting the slopes.  Skiing is really a social activity, while also being an independent activity. Just like any other exercise that has the ability to lift your spirit and your mood, skiing can really get you outside in the fresh air.

Unlike exercises that are typically performed indoors, being outside can really improve the connection between you and nature, and it can make you feel good in general as well. Being in the same office every single day can really make you feel like you want to jump out of your skin. You can get so sick and tired of it that you just don’t know what to do anymore! That being said, not only does skiing get you moving, but it also takes you outside. It’s a great way to spend time with friends while

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Swiss dinner – family skiers enjoying a break for lunch, mountain view Matterhorn, Switzerland. Shutterstock.

26.  Promotes healthy eating habits.

When you wake up before a long day of skiing, you have to power up. At lunchtime, you need to refuel, and at dinnertime, you need a recovery meal. You will naturally be more conscious of your eating: more protein, healthy fats, less sugar, more fruits, and vegetables, etc. Fresh air increases the flow of oxygen helping you digest food more effectively so this will particularly help if you are trying to lose weight

Fresh air has been shown to help digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate, and strengthen the immune system.  It has also been shown to help digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate, and strengthen the immune system. You’ll be burning a lot of calories during a day of downhill skiing, so you’ll have to give your body the proper fuel it will need. Make sure your meals include protein, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and less sugary foods.

Find out skiing can improve overall health.
Augmented reality in ski goggles. Information about speed, places, and slopes is displayed inside glasses. Concept of skiing in AR. Shutterstock.

27. Not interested in being outdoors in the winter?

Now you can ski inside. An indoor ski resort has opened up, making the enjoyment of skiing available even in the desert. In the22,500 square meters of indoor skiing. The park maintains a temperature of -1 degree to 2 degrees Celsius throughout the year. It is a part of the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Skiing even inside is known to burns calories, be a great cardiovascular exercise, strengthen your lower body muscles. improve flexibility, engage all of your core muscles, and boosts your mood.

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources: