Can’t think of anything worse than being out in the cold? Is your favourite part of the annual ski holiday the food and drink on offer in those mountain top bars that serve up amazing views? That’s fair enough – but actually getting out on the slope for a couple of hours a day can really benefit your health. Here’s how…
Full body workout
With all that twisting and turning as you navigate your way down the mountainside, you’re going to get a good workout of your core muscles – your abdominals and pelvic floor muscles will be constantly moving as you try to stabilise yourself. Meanwhile, the pattern of movements will mean your legs and glutes will be working in tandem whether you’re snowploughing, parallel turning or carving. Your arms and neck aren’t to be forgotten - as you use your ski poles to help with turning or picking up speed you’ll pivot your shoulders to help with balance. After all that, you will definitely deserve that extra drink in the bar!
Some people may think that the pull of gravity means you won’t work your body to go much higher than your resting heart rate – forget that. Skiing is a great way to improve your cardiovascular system, even just half an hour on the slopes can make a difference. An improved CV system means you can get that oxygenated blood your muscles will be craving to them a lot faster, especially if you ditch the lifts and walk up the slope for maximum workout
Weight loss & toning
The cold weather is already helping you before you even set foot on the top of a run. Your body is forced to warm up due to the colder climate, which burns more calories already. If you’re a seasoned skier, more intense slopes will burn more calories too, with your body working harder to stay on your skis. But don’t think that you should jump straight on to those red/black runs if you’re a beginner – pushing yourself too hard will probably result in injury. Slow and steady wins the race…
You already need to have good balance to even get out on the slopes, but a week holiday can help you to improve your balance going forward. The constant changes in direction, dips and curves on the pistes and different snow cover (ice, moguls, powder) means you’ll be constantly battling to stay on your feet as you avoid those slips and falls
Promotes healthy eating
Your body is a fuel tank, you need to keep it topped up otherwise you risk running out of fuel and stop functioning. You’ll need to think about your daily diet while on the slopes to make sure you run like a well-oiled machine. Breakfast is the most important meal, and during the week you’ll realise this. Protein/carbs will help you during the day as a quick boost, so think about packing fruit/cereal bars for a quick snack while you’re on the lift back up the mountain. A break for lunch is just as important, not only will your bones and muscles relish the rest, but that fuel tank needs filling again, and pasta/chicken is the perfect mix. Carbs and protein are on the menu again at dinner, a post-workout snack/meal is the perfect time to eat, promoting a quicker recovery. The difference you’ll feel in your body during this week will make you think about your meals a bit more when you return home – through habit!
Positive mental impact
Just spending your days with great company, amazing views and good food is enough to make you forget about any woes and stresses – the mountain is the best place, especially if it’s a sunny week – then you’ll benefit from some extra vitamin D to boost your mood even more. Not only that, but the amount of physical activity you’ll be doing will help you to improve your sleep. A good night’s sleep helps to lift your mood and improves your memory and ability to learn – which is handy if you’re enrolled on the local ski school!
Skiing isn’t just a holiday - it’s a sport first and foremost, and just like in any other sport you’ll need to have done some form of preparation. Don’t just turn up on the slopes and expect to find it all a breeze. Not only stamina work, but exercises to help build the strength in your core muscles and your legs will give you a head start. That preparation could be the difference between an enjoyable week, or a week you wish was over before it’s even begun. DOMs (Delayed onset of muscle soreness) is the one to watch out for, make sure you warm up your muscles and do a cool down at the end of your day on the slopes. Hot baths (or Jacuzzi’s) will help with the pain, but don’t be afraid to have a day/morning or afternoon off skiing if you find the pain too much, you’ll probably save yourself an injury.
The risk of plunging down the side of a mountain, confident that you’re going to stay upright and in one piece is one thing - but skiing without insurance, in the hope you won’t get injured is quite another. The first is a fleeting, thigh burning exercise. The latter, well, getting rescued off the side of a mountain with no cover in place could be very expensive.
Columbus Direct can offer you great value ski travel insurance that takes the financial risk clean away, leaving you free to enjoy the view and fresh mountain air, leaving you, and your ski insurance in France, Italy, or as far as America with a clear mind – and hopefully a clear run to enjoy!