BEAT STRESS, KEEP FIT, AND GET YOUR NATURE FIX
Right now, we’re all in need of a feel-good boost.
And it’s no secret that getting our bodies moving is good for our health and gives us an instant mood lift. We all know that getting those weight-lifting routines in strengthens and tones our muscles. We know too, that good daily habits such as yoga, journaling, or meditation can relax our busy minds and ease away stress.
But what if we were to tell you that getting in your time on skis or a snowboard at your local ski hill, can take care of it all?
Seriously. Body-mind-soul wellbeing starts outside – and with snow sports, you can’t go wrong.
And you don’t need to take our word for it. Read on for our ten ways that snow sports are awesome for all-round health and wellbeing.
1. IT’S A PROVEN STRESS-BUSTER!
Over recent years, experts have been looking at the way nature elevates our stresses and mental tensions, in a field named “ecotherapy”; the scientific study of the connection between time spent outdoors and reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
In a 2015 study, researchers looked at the brain activity of healthy people after taking a 90minute walk in nature, versus one in an urban setting. The results showed that those that took their walk within nature had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain (the area that’s active when we feel negative emotions); proof that being in nature just makes you feel better.
According to Dr. Strauss:
“When people are depressed or under high levels of stress, this part of the brain malfunctions, and people experience a continuous loop of negative thoughts.” – Harvard Health Publishing, July 2018
The visual aspects of nature can also have a soothing effect, according to Dr. Strauss.
“Having something pleasant to focus on like trees and greenery helps distract your mind from negative thinking, so your thoughts become less filled with worry.”
Clara Hughes, six-time Olympian, puts it this way: Movement is Medicine.
In her journal she wrote, “the times I feel lost, confused, afraid, sad, desperate, or on the flip side when I feel grounded, at peace, happy, content, loved – every time I step into nature these emotions shift to a more positive outlook. Movement within it, however you can move, is the best medicine of all. “
So, give it as go. Try the medicine of being active outdoors in your community this winter (we don’t think you’ll regret it).
2. IT’S A FULL BODY WORKOUT
“Being active in a beautiful outdoor environment can’t be topped. Skiing is more than just a sport—it comes with lots of positive effects on the skier’s wellbeing and quality of life.”
This is a quote taken from a January 2018 TIME article, by Dr. Josef Niebauer, a professor of sports medicine and cardiology and director of the Institute for Molecular Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine at Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria.
In the same article, Dr. Niebauer champions skiing as one of the very best workouts for our heart health there is.
“Alpine skiing is a mix of endurance and resistance training.
It has positive effects on the heart and circulation, as well as peripheral muscles—predominately the legs.”
Interestingly, Dr. Niebauer’s research shows that downhill skiing gives you approximately the same cardio blast as cycling or rowing. – TIME, January 25, 2018.
And as there are over 30 ski areas spread across Alberta, it’s easy to find your full-filled health & wellbeing blast close to home – who needs to workout indoors this winter, when we have such an amazing natural gym outdoors?
3. …AS WELL AS A MIND WORKOUT
Navigating the twists and turns of a run requires concentration and focus, all while coordinating body movements and perfecting your timing, spatial awareness and speed control. So, get on those skis or board and keep that mind sharp!
4. IT’S TIME OUTDOORS – AND IN NATURE
We think connecting with Mother Nature’s so important for all those happy vibes, we’re counting it twice! As getting outdoors has so many proven benefits for all-round wellbeing and happiness, we’re challenging you to give it a go! Experts tell us that just fifteen minutes in nature is enough to make a huge difference to the way we feel in our day. So embrace those wide-open mountain runs, woodland gullies and picturesque Prairie view ski areas, and see how you feel.
5. IT’S A FEEL-GOOD CONFIDENCE BOOST
No matter your age, that “YES!” feeling of satisfaction when you tackle that challenging run, can stand up for the first time on a snowboard, master those parallel turns, or manage to pull off that trick at the terrain park, you’re sure to feel that whoosh of an adrenalin rush and confidence high. Children especially gain body confidence and physical prowess as they spend time sliding down those slopes, meaning days filled with high fives and #SnowProud moments.
6. IT ARMS KIDDIES WITH ALL-IMPORTANT LIFE SKILLS
“Children who ski, do better in school. Skiing requires planning and concentration,” said Dr. Friederbeck, Sports scientist and brain researcher, Technical University of Munich Coach, German men’s national freestyle ski team.
In fact, active children show enhanced math and language skills – and cardiovascular performance has been a proven indicator to predict intelligence later in life. Recent studies also show that participation in sport has positive implications for a child’s social, cognitive, and physical development.
Skiing and snowboarding provide an opportunity for kiddies to experience sport in a natural environment where the need for planning, concentration, and risk-assessment are skills with them for life.
7. IT CREATES LONG-LASTING POSITIVE LIFESTYLE CHOICES
Participation in skiing also provides proven long-term health benefits. In a 2013 study on downhill skier health, Martin Burtscher stated:
“In comparison to a general population of similar age, both male and female skiers reported a better health status, drank alcohol less frequently, were more often non-smokers, and performed aerobic exercise more frequently than the general population.”
So, proof to us that the snow sport life is the good life.
8. IT’LL SEND YOU INTO A DEEP AND PEACEFUL SLEEP
After all that good ol’ crisp Albertan fresh air and a few heart-racing runs at your ski area of choice, we guarantee that both body and mind will be ready for a well-deserved rest. Sit back and relax – after all that slope time, you’re be sure to sink into a deep sleep at bed time.
9. IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR!
Families that play together, stay together! From the tiny toddlers ripping it up on the bunny hill to the grandparents skiing well into their golden years, skiing and snowboarding has zero age restrictions. Everyone can don their snow gear and have a great day. And year after year, the whole family can build lifelong memories at your community ski hill. Is there any better way to spend quality time than all being outdoors? Big smiles all round!
10. YOU CAN DO IT FOR SEVEN MONTHS OF THE YEAR IN ALBERTA!
Living in Alberta means you’re living in a dream destination for skiing, and you don’t have to go very far! With one of the longest snow seasons in the world, once you’ve found your way on a pair of skis or a snowboard, you’ve got a whole season to get out and enjoy!
And just a reminder as you’re going out to get your snow sport wellbeing fix, “ski smart”. For a full outline of how to prepare for your local ski hill visit, see here >.