Ski Yourself Healthy

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Looking to kick start your fitness regime, weight loss programme or just want a holiday that will help you to stay healthy? Then there really is no better choice than skiing. In this feature the ski experts at Neilson explore the various benefits of skiing from losing weight to improving sleep!   

Weight Loss

Skiing is an extremely physical sport and therefore an excellent fat-burning workout because it forces you to use a large number of muscle groups. On an average one week ski trip it’s estimated that you can lose up to five pounds. This is because a typical day’s skiing can burn up to 3,000 calories – far more than any session at the gym! What’s more, if the temperatures are sub-zero, you’re likely to burn even more. Your body burns calories to raise your body temperature and help keep you warm. More experienced skiers are likely to burn off even more calories as steeper slopes mean the body has to work harder to keep balanced. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of the food and drinks available on the slopes can be high in fat and calories, so to maximise the benefits stay clear of alcohol, hot chocolate and hot dogs as far as possible!


Skiing is known as a ‘proprioceptive’ activity. Proprioceptive activities are those that allow you to feel and become aware of the effort that goes into moving the different parts of your body. For example, skiing requires excellent balance and coordination and requires you to become conscious of how even small movements can affect your ability to stand up, turn and move on skis. A person’s proprioception weakens as they get older because they move their bodies less and less, so the more you are involved in proprioceptive activities, such as skiing, the less chance it will diminish and will therefore keep you mobile and flexible for longer.


Strengthens joints

Skiing can also help to strengthen your joints, particularly the knees. When you ski you carry the weight of your entire body on your feet. Your knees are the joints that endure that weight and must be able to move quickly despite it, so they are being strengthened when you ski. Great news for those that have been skiing for many years; you’ve been strengthening those joints and making the likelihood of injury later in life less likely the whole time.

Keeps the heart strong

Whether a complete beginner or an advanced skier, you’ll be giving your body a great cardiovascular workout on the piste. The heart is the most important muscle in the human body and if it is kept healthy then you can avoid numerous health problems. Skiing will help you to improve your cardiovascular system by elevating your heart rate which will increase the circulation of the blood. This, in turn, will bring more nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and also means that your muscles are able to draw in more oxygen and blood, producing more capillaries and allowing your muscles to expand and thus burn calories more quickly.

Improves sleep

One of the barriers to a full and deep night’s sleep is excess energy that hasn’t been burnt off throughout the day. Exercise will of course help with this and skiing is superior to many other types of sport because the relatively thin air at high altitude will help the body to burn more fuel than normal. This is not just true throughout the day, but also after the slopes have closed for the night with the body’s aerobic system having to work harder than normal just to keep the blood oxygenated. This is why people tend to sleep better at high altitudes; a better night’s sleep can of course have a number of other positive effects – such as enhanced decision-making skills and improved mood regulation.

Ready to hit the slopes? Why not check out Neilson’s ski deals to bag yourself a bargain and start the ski season in style.

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