Do you fancy trying a new winter sport? See yourself as an adventurer in the snow this winter? Give one a go and reap the health benefits at the same time. For instance, aside from general fitness and muscular benefits, did you know that skiing can improve our mental dexterity because winter sports are classed as a proprioceptive activity?
How many winter snow sports are there?
At the Beijing winter Olympics 2022, there were 15 adrenaline-fuelled winter sports, such as Biathlon and bobsleigh. If watching the winter Olympics inspires you to get out to try a new winter activity there are some winter snow sports we can learn at our leisure. Here are some of the best we can experience on holiday, as well as the benefits…
Winter snow sports that are good for your physical health
Snowshoe walking or snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is where you attach a large pair of “boats” to your boots, to increase their surface area when navigating snowy terrain. This proves to be one of the most effective ways of traversing deep powder and snow. It’s no surprise that it’s more challenging than hiking when you account for the added burden on your feet. However, this form of exercise can increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn a lot of energy as you walk in them.
Slightly more difficult than snowshoeing is cross-country skiing…
Cross country skiing or Nordic Skiing
Cross country skiing is said to be one of the best sports you can do in winter, especially if you’re used to doing a lot of running or cycling. As it is more rigorous than snowshoeing, this snow sport benefits your muscles and endurance levels, helping you to maintain a good level of fitness and lung capacity. It works your thigh, gluteal, and calve muscles, as well as the triceps and biceps. Plus, as a cardiovascular activity, you’ll burn lots of energy, while your heart continuously pumps oxygen into your muscles. Try it for yourself in Finland.
A fond favourite with anyone who knows how to rollerblade – and those familiar with a Christmas market – is ice skating. This is a winter activity you can embrace in lots of towns, cities, and arenas across the UK, as well as northern Europe. Booking a break over half term? Benefit the smallest muscles in your body, even if you’re on the ice for an hour or less.
The smallest muscles in our bodies are called stabilizer muscles. They keep our hips, knees, and ankles steady and are worked constantly while ice skating as we attempt to keep our balance. Also, our larger muscles will become toned too, such as the thighs, legs, core muscles, and glutes. So, if you want to tone up on holiday give ice skating a try.
Originating in The Netherlands, speed skating is an Olympic winter sport for a reason. You can reach speeds of 25-30 mph on your feet, using a combination of running and ice skating. Try it – with or without the clock running – during your next winter escape to reap the benefits. This snow sport includes both cardiovascular and aerobic benefits and you’ll improve your muscle strength, balance, and coordination. Sound exciting? Try speed skating indoors in Italy within the mountains. It could be the start of an Italian adventure!
Winter snow sports that are good for your mental health
Snowboarding and skiing may be the most popular sports for a reason – they’re good for our mental health and can make us feel healthier and happier.
Are you new to snow sports? Take a break, forget your worries and try snowboarding. Suitable for all ages, it can improve our mental dexterity, while we learn the ability to feel the position and movement of our limbs, as well as how they can work together to move across the snow. Plus, you’ll learn how to balance better and improve your coordination skills when skimming along the snow.
As mentioned above, you’ll enhance your proprioception – which is the body’s ability to sense its location, movements, and actions. While outside on the slopes don’t forget to raise a smile – snowboarding burns the same amount of energy as cross-country skiing! So, why not take a snowboarding lesson on holiday in France?
Skiing in the fresh air and sunshine is pleasurable because a snow day can become a ‘sun day’ when we’re given a big dose of vitamin D. It’s this vitamin that has been proven to prevent all kinds of diseases and lower the symptoms/risks of depression. Therefore, a day to a week on the slopes means you’ll be having fun and keeping illness at bay in the long term. If you or someone you know suffers from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) this could be a great winter escape for them, too – said to be better than 2.5 hours of indoor light treatment when the sun shines. Just remember the suncream!
So get ready to plan a super snowy ski holiday.
Try these snow sports for fun!
Holidaying with family and friends that are younger or simply ‘young at heart’? Suggest one of these winter snow sports for fun at a resort this winter.
Snow tubing is a roller-coaster activity for everyone – it takes sledging to a new level. No one needs any special skills. Just the ability to stay seated when grasping the handles of a large, inflatable round tube (similar to the ones you find at swimming parks). Spend an afternoon plunging down the slopes of snowy mountains and hillsides, while taking in magical surroundings at speed! You can find snow tubing resorts in Ontario, Canada, as well as ski resorts across America.
Snowcat driving and snowcat tours
Climb into a snowcat for an afternoon whizzing around the slopes. Snowcat driving and snowcat tours are two ways you can take time out to appreciate a winter wonderland.
Snowcat driving is a unique experience for solo travellers where you can ride across the snow. Learn how to drive it with assistance from an experienced instructor and follow a route individually, or as part of a group.
Like the idea but don’t want to drive one? Snowcat tours are a great experience! A guide can pick you up from your accommodation, to take you out in the snow for a unique winter evening. Why not visit Norway, to capture the Northern Lights on camera at nightfall?
The suggestions above are suitable for all the family and all levels of ability. Of course, there are numerous other winter sports designed for bigger thrills. If there are any members of your party who’re looking for this type of activity, contact us and we’ll be able to offer you an alternative policy such as Adventures or Travel Plus.
Free Spirit winter sports insurance
There is a range of different winter sports that Free Spirit can provide cover for. View our winter sports cover which includes the snow sports we’ve mentioned above and more, or view our ski travel insurance. Currently, have a policy with us? Winter Sports Cover can be added to your policy on payment of an additional premium if you’re under 69.
Once you’ve decided on your chosen snow sport and where to experience it read our policy for full terms and conditions.
Wherever you’re going to embrace a winter snow sport remember that both your body, mind, and soul will benefit.