With the Winter Olympics kicking off today in South Korea we’ve decided to take a look at some of the great health benefits of participating in winter sports.

When you first hear the term winter sports, snowboarding, skiing or ice hockey probably spring straight to mind. But that’s not all… Winter Sports span any outdoor activities that take place during the colder months. We’ve put together some of the top reasons why taking part in Winter Sports can have a massive positive impact on your health and fitness.

Improved Cardio Fitness

A cold climate impels your heart to work harder and circulates blood all throughout your body. People with healthy cardiovascular endurance can make the most out of winter sports. Cross-country skiing is one of the amazing sports to build your stamina and burn calories. Since the slope is not that steep, your upper and lower body muscles work determinedly to keep you going forward. Thus, your heart rate goes up and it pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.

Burn Calories & Improve Metabolism

When exercising in a cold environment or climate your body is working even harder than usual to maintain its core temperature. All this extra work means that your body is burning energy (calories) even quicker than it would in a warmer climate.

Vitamin D

Despite the cold you will still be exposed to the sun and all of its essential nutrients. During winter, the natural light is actually restrained, so the benefits from sunrays are more substantial. Exposure to sunlight, especially in winter, will cause your body to make vitamin D. Which in turn, strengthens your bones and muscles.

Sense Of Balance:

Winter sports can improve your coordination power and sense of balance as you are training yourself to stay upright and control your equipment in slippery and unstable environments. Skiing and snowboarding are excellent activities for strengthening your core muscles and improving your body posture.

Benefits of Specific Winter Sports

Skiing

Skiing is an extremely popular sport in so many countries and an amazing aerobic activity. While skiing, your heart muscles are stimulated and overall blood flow is enhanced. Skiing involves being upright, lots of turning, switching directions and moving up/down. All of these movements greatly engage your calves, thighs, hamstrings, limbs, etc.

Snowboarding

Snowboarding is hard to master as it requires a great sense of balance and lower body strength. Snowboarding does not have any kind of poles like in skiing, so balancing on a board is much harder. You will lean sideways and completely depend on your core muscles and lower body strength for controlling the board.