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Cross Country Skiing - Healthy Winter Sport

Cross-country skiing is a popular wintertime sport across certain parts of the US and Europe. Unlike during mountain or downhill skiing, a cross country skiier traverses mainly flat terrain. Cross country skiing strengthens muscles throughout the upper and lower body, and increases heart rate for optimal cardiovascular benefits and calorie-burning. This type of exercise works the quadriceps, hamstrings and hips - as well as the back (lats), arms (biceps/triceps) and shoulders (deltoids).

How Many Calories Does Skiing Burn?

One hour of cross-country skiing burns 500-1,000 calories. [This is based on a 150-pound woman. If you weigh more, you’ll burn extra calories; if you weigh less, you’ll burn fewer calories.]

How Does Skiing Help Weight Loss?

Cross-country skiing requires a large amount of physical energy, so we burn calories fast and use our body fat reserves. Also, it is an aerobic workout, which means that the body burns fat faster than it would an-aerobically. Cross country skiing helps make our body lean by toning the major muscles in our legs, buttocks, abdomen, back, arms and shoulders.

How Often Should I Ski For Optimum Weight Loss?

25 to 45 minutes on a level or gently inclined trail.

45 to 75 minutes on a prepared trail with undulating slopes.

65 to 100 minutes on a packed, steeper trail. Alternate 3-5 minutes of high-speed skiing (at the fastest pace you can sustain) with 10 to 15 minutes of recovery skiing (where you heart rate slows to about 65 percent of maximum).

How To Start Skiing?

All skiers, regardless of fitness level – need to warm up before starting. Gently stretch the hamstrings, add a few toe touches and shoulder rolls, and you’re ready to go. Beginners should be able to talk easily as they ski. If you can’t, you’re pushing yourself too hard. Long and slow movements can help your body to burn fat more efficiently, while high-intensity skiing will raise your aerobic fitness as well as calorie expenditure.

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